Gus Hansen — Poker Player Profile

Gus Hansen — Poker Player Profile

About Gus Hansen

Current ResidenceCopenhagen, Denmark
BornFebruary 13, 1974
Birth PlaceHavdrup, Denmark
Total Winnings$10,278,251


  • Nicknames: Gattling Gus, The Poker Tramp, Gamblin' Gus, Mad Gus, The Great Dane.
  • Former backgammon player.
  • One of three players inducted into the World Poker Tour Poker Walk of Fame.
  • Voted one of People magazine’s sexiest men alive in 2004.
  • In February 2009, he started his own online channel, GusHansenTV.
  • He studied at UC Santa Cruz as an exchange student and it was there that he began to cultivate a passion for poker.
  • Born to parents residing in Copenhagen, he later moved to Monaco during his adulthood. He lived in Monaco for 14 years.
  • Focusing on cash games over tournaments is preferable for Hansen, as it offers more flexibility for his schedule and social life, which tournaments often constrain.
  • The colorful personalities and narratives of players like Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth are aspects of poker that Hansen particularly enjoys for their storytelling value.
  • Betfair, a UK-based company, acquired his online poker platform,, for more than 100 million Danish kroner (around $15 million).
  • His brother-in-law Erik acts as his manager.
  • You can take a look at Gus Hansen's life on his Instagram account.

Gus Hansen Story

Gus Hansen is a remarkable and charismatic professional poker player who developed a unique playing style that allowed him to achieve significant success at high-stakes tables. This article will provide insights into Gus's career and his distinctive approach to the game.

Without a doubt, Gus Hansen's play was renowned for being aggressive, erratic and loose. But make no mistake: The Great Dane was - and still is - a brilliant poker player.

Though he has just one World Series of Poker gold bracelet Hansen is one of only three players inducted into the World Poker Tour Poker Walk of Fame for winning three WPT events.

His all-time tournament winnings top $10 million but that only hints at what he's won (and lost) in major high-stakes cash games and playing insane sessions online. In fact Gus famously lost over $20 million playing on Full Tilt Poker in the mid 2010s.

As you could guess, there are naysayers. Forum pundits peg him as a lucky loose cannon. Pros grumble of his legendary bad beats, and novices watching at home frantically flip through their how-to-play Hold'em guides to find out where it says you should re-raise a 2-7 off-suit.

Even Hansen admits to making some questionable plays in his day. "I've raised with cards less attractive than what's in my toilet after I took a dump in it," he says.

But Gus Hansen still perseveres.

The Early Years

Young Gus Hansen
Young Gus Hansen

This now-trademark edgy style was sharpened in Hansen's early years in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was born Gustav Hansen on Feb. 13, 1974, in a town outside the country's capital, and grew up to enjoy a childhood filled with competitive sports, including soccer and tennis.

On breaks from school he attended summer camp, which is where Hansen first picked up a deck of cards. Playing his fellow campers for nickels and dimes, he says, was part of the fun.

In addition to the competitiveness of the game, poker's mathematical component appealed to Hansen. Numbers fascinated him and when introduced to backgammon in high school he took to it immediately and practiced feverishly.

In 1993, Hansen moved from Denmark to live in Santa Cruz, California, where he picked up poker play at a local casino. He observed other players' personal styles, and modelled himself after one particular competitor who always seemed to be doing something unconventional at the poker table.

This anything-goes approach earned Hansen a loose reputation at the local casino. But, even if they could've, poker room regulars wouldn't have had time to pick up on Hansen's poker strategy. In 1995, the Dane had to return to his homeland to face the country's mandatory military lottery.

Gus Gets Lucky

As it happens Gus Hansen would get lucky; he drew an early number in the lotto and got to choose the branch of the army in which he would serve. He selected the civil service and spent his nine months of military time training in first aid and emergency rescue.

After fulfilling his civic duties, Hansen headed back to the U.S. - this time to the East Coast to tour New York's backgammon and gin rummy clubs. There he met future poker pros Huckleberry Seed and Phil Laak and boned up on new forms of poker.

The knowledge and practice gave him the confidence to play in his first World Series of Poker event in 1996.

However, Hansen found himself short-handed - literally and experience-wise - at the No-Limit Hold'em event. He hadn't played that version of poker before and was knocked out early in the day.

The incident started him thinking about his game and soon Hansen was practicing Hold'em and mixing up his play to determine his personal style. As it turned out, mixed-up play was Hansen's style.

Gus Hansen Storms the WPT

It started winning him money, and eventually he shifted his focus from backgammon to poker. He traveled to Las Vegas from New York frequently to gamble, and developed a nearly unreadable presence at the table.

By the time the World Poker Tour premiered in 2002, Hansen was ready for his close-up. He took first in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em event at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas and the payout was more than half a million dollars. The tournament was the first indication Hansen was a force to be reckoned with.

The next year he bagged his second WPT title at the 2003 L.A. Poker Classic, taking down a $532,490 first-place prize. A couple months later he was invited to play at the Bad Boys of Poker event in Las Vegas and won that event as well. It would be a good year for him, as Hansen also finished third in the WPT Championship event.

The 2004 Caribbean Adventure completed Hansen's trio of WPT titles and paid out nearly $500,000. But his biggest paydays were still to come: In 2005 Hansen won the Poker Superstars Invitational and a hefty $1 million paycheck.

WSOP Bracelet

Gus' lone WSOP bracelet came at the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe where he won the £10k Heads-Up High Roller for £288,409.

Gus Hansen Wins First WSOP Bracelet in £10K Heads-Up

Full Tilt Poker and the Challenges of Online Play

After achieving success in live poker, Gus Hansen moved on to conquer online poker. He chose to play in the poker rooms with the most expensive games at that time - Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. While high-stakes games were relatively few on PokerStars, at Full Tilt Poker, Gus played at sky-high stakes.

From the opening of Full Tilt Poker in 2004, Gus Hansen was part of the professional team of this room. His name was highlighted in the gaming client, and during live tournaments, Gus wore promotional patches.

This continued until the room's closure on June 29, 2011. After Full Tilt resumed operations in 2012, Gus became the first professional to re-sign a contract with the brand.

Being part of the team allowed Gus to play long sessions, but his online results were less than stellar. By mid-2011, six months before the room's closure, Gus was down $9 million. Before "Black Friday," he managed to recoup some of the funds, approaching the closure of Full Tilt with a $3 million deficit.

At the same time, on PokerStars, where Gus played under the nickname "broksi," he was down $882,000.

Fortunately for Hansen's fans, his reputation was not harmed by the closure of Full Tilt, as Gus was not involved in the room's management. Moreover, Gus himself stated that only Dan 'Jungleman' Cates lost more money than him on "Black Friday," making Gus a victim like other Full Tilt clients.

After Full Tilt resumed operations, Gus resumed playing online. Analyzing his failures, Hansen concluded that his problem was poor table selection, but changes in strategy did not bring success.

Ultimately, Gus remained one of the most vivid figures in live poker, though he failed to conquer online poker using his unique style of play.

Gus Hansen in a Winamax T-shirt, 2024

Gus Hansen Joins Team Winamax

In 2024, Gus Hansen, the poker icon known for his ultra-aggressive playing style, made a significant move by joining team of poker room Winamax. This new chapter in his illustrious career was met with excitement and a bit of disbelief among his peers and fans alike.

Hansen's addition to Team Winamax marks a monumental moment, both for him and the team, as he brings his extensive experience and a unique approach to the game. Known for his dynamic and fearless strategies, Gus is set to participate in major tournaments with Team Winamax, including the prestigious World Series of Poker 2024.

His presence is not just a boost for the team but also a tremendous opportunity for him to engage with the current top players and perhaps even redefine strategies in modern competitive poker.

Top 10 Tournament Results of Gus Hansen

DateTournament NamePlacePrize
14-Jan-20072007 Aussie Millions Poker Championship, Melbourne - Main Event1stA$1,500,000 ($1,192,919)
Feb-2005Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament, Las Vegas - Grand Final1st$1,000,000 Poker Million IX, Sky Sports - Final1st$1,000,000
19-Apr-2008WPT World Championship, Las Vegas - No Limit Hold'em Championship Event2nd$1,714,800
07-Mar-2005WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star, San Jose - Championship WPT Event3rd$320,000
27-Jan-20122012 Aussie Millions Poker Championship, Melbourne - $250,000 Challenge3rdA$800,000 ($823,579)
21-Feb-20032003 L.A. Poker Classic, Los Angeles - WPT No Limit Hold'em Championship1st$532,490
24-Jan-2004PokerStars Caribbean Adventure - PCA 2004, Caribbean - No Limit Hold'em1st$455,780
31-May-2011WSOP 2011, Las Vegas - $25,000 No Limit Hold'em - Heads-Up Championship3rd$283,966
21-Sep-2010World Series Of Poker Europe - WSOPE 2010, London - High Roller Heads-Up1st£288,409 ($444,925)

Playing Style

Gus Hansen's approach to poker is famously aggressive and unconventional. After some initial struggles in the competitive poker scene of New York, Hansen crafted a bold strategy that made his gameplay unpredictable and challenging for opponents to read. He is known for playing a wide range of starting hands, often seeing many flops and not shying away from big bluffs. His aggressive post-flop play involves making confident, daring moves that can unsettle even the most seasoned players. This style, which Hansen himself has humorously compared to making risky bets with low-value cards, truly came into its own when he won the World Poker Tour's Five-Diamond World Poker Classic, securing his reputation as a formidable player in the poker world.

Barry Greenstein's perspective on Gus Hansen: "Gus is often mischaracterized as a hyper-aggressive player when he is actually an active or loose player. He plays a lot of pots and his success is a combination of this volatile style and good decision making after the flop. I play with Gus in side games where $1 million swings are very rare, yet I have seen Gus get stuck $1 million and get even in the same session -- three different times!"

Acknowledging the high skill level of today's poker players, Hansen still sees constant room for improvement, emphasizing that perfect play is unachievable at all times.

Book: "Every Hand Revealed"

Even better than that, Gus Hansen bested a 745-player field at the 2007 Aussie Millions to win the main event title and $1.5 million. Later, as an added bonus for fans, Gus wrote a book about his Aussie Million triumph named Every Hand Revealed.

In it he analyzes the 300 hands he played in the tournament and revealed his thinking behind his seemingly unorthodox moves. Every Hand Revealed was a groundbreaking book in the genre and is still a revered poker strategy book.

Gus Hansen, Gambler

There's no telling, however, how much money he has won and lost in cash games and betting on sports. Hansen is a regular in the Big Game at the Bellagio, where he sweats it out at the felt with the biggest and most respected names in poker.

He has also admitted to a decidedly unlucky sports wagering and prop bet habit, which may or may not have caused him to come up short on funds on occasion. Doyle Brunson reportedly lent Hansen $4 million, which he said the Dane paid back almost immediately.

He also rather infamous for his online poker play where, over a series of years and bad decisions on table selection (which even he admits is his biggest leak) led him to an eye-popping loss of over $20 million. Phil Galfond went so far as to say Gus was even the reasons the game's run.

He dabbled in playing online in bits and pieces but more or less abandoned the format that helped make him famous in the Rail Heaven Full Tilt Poker days for good in 2016.

Related Reading:

In addition to poker and backgammon, Gus Hansen can play snooker at a professional level.
In addition to poker and backgammon, Gus Hansen can play snooker at a professional level.


Outside of poker, Hansen still fuels his competitive drive with sports such as golf and soccer and works out at the gym regularly.

His athletic physique may have helped Hansen get a nod from People magazine in 2004 as it named the poker pro one of the 50 sexiest men alive.

Nonetheless, Hansen is a confirmed bachelor who enjoys his jet-set life traveling around the world to play poker from his home base in Monaco.

In recent years Gus has dabbled in running a music festival in his native Denmark (it didn't go too well). He also also still a very good Racketlon player - a Danish favorite which has players compete in table tennis, badminton, tennis and squash.

Gus Hansen in Denmark
Gus Hansen in Denmark


“The object of poker is to keep your money away from Phil Ivey for as long as possible.”

Gus Hansen

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