The Great Dane Gus Hansen

Gus Hansen: 7 Hands that Epitomize “The Great Dane”

There are just some poker players who seem to have a sixth sense, Gus Hansen is one of them.

Known as “The Great Dane” and “The Madman” to everyone in the poker world, this 44-year-old poker pro has one World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet and was the first player to win three World Poker Tour (WPT) championships. In fact, in 2004, Gustav “Gus” Hansen was inducted into the World Poker Tour Walk of Fame along with Doyle Brunson.

Since turning pro in 1997, his live tournament winnings are in excess of $11.25 million.

Away from the table

Gus Hansen was a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury and is also a world-class backgammon player. He found his way into poker in 1993 as a foreign exchange student at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Hansen is also quite the entrepreneur and is currently involved in a number of online business ventures such as (now Betfair); poker strategy website, forum, blog. Also, in 2004, Hansen was voted one of People magazine’s 50 Sexiest Men. 

Hansen was romantically linked to Danish tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki back in 2011, and, today, this poker superstar is a bachelor and, by all accounts, enjoying it. When not traveling the world playing poker, Hansen resides in Monaco.

Of course, he wrote a book

In 2008, Gus Hansen released Every Hand Revealed (in both paperback and eBook) in which he analyzes the more than 300 hands he played during the 2007 Aussie Millions Championship where Hansen won his fifth major international title and a cool $1.2 million. He also details his secrets for winning with such topics as: precise and calculated bluffs, reading opponents, how to call large bets with questionable hands, knowing when to raise out of position with nothing, and how a tournament’s structure should influence play. You can also preview Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed pdf.

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The best of Gus Hansen

Hansen is fascinating, intriguing and, well, frenetic—hence the “Madman” moniker—due to his oftentimes fearless, aggressive, and crazy style and the incredibly broad range of hands he plays. But this makes him that much more entertaining to watch because he knows how to win, he knows how to win big, and, holy cow, the man is lucky—or psychic—or even psychotic: take your pick

Here are seven of the Great Dane’s greatest, sickest, and/or luckiest hands.

7. Hansen’s lucky runner runner

This hand is, simply, the epitome of luck. In this crazy Million Dollar Cash Game hand, Hansen’s AQ suited is up against Seidel’s pocket eights. When the flop comes A, 8, 4, Seidel raises his set, and Hansen makes a quick call. Crazy luck ensues when the turn and river are running Q’s, Seidel shoves all in, and Gus Hansen wins a nearly $200,000 pot.

6. Hansen schools Tom Dwan

Two action players collide in this hand. Hansen’s off-suit QJ faces off against Dwan’s KQ of diamonds. When the board hits 6, Q, 3, Q with no diamonds, Richard Yong wisely folds his pocket kings, and Hansen calls a large Dwan raise. The river is a J, Gus Hansen checks, Dwan shoves, and, well, you know the rest.

5. Hansen versus Tom Dwan, part 2

Let me first say that I’m not a fan of running the board so many times (in this case, four); however, this is just another one of those crazy Gus Hansen calls. This time, Dwan is the lucky one.

4. Hansen makes a truly sick call

I’m still wondering what propelled Gus Hansen to call Ivey’s preflop all in (on pocket 7’s) with merely a club-suited 10, 6. But he did. And he wins. Take a look. What luck! Either that or Hansen has some serious ESP.

3. Hansen’s own magic

In this WPT Bad Boys of Poker hand, Hansen proves that his gut is much more powerful than any rabbit “The Magician” might pull out of his hat. Antonio Esfandiari—and the entire audience, commentators, and, quite likely, Hansen himself—is dumbfounded when Hansen calls his all in (pocket sevens) bet with merely a diamond-suited 10, 8—and, of course, in true Gus Hansen form, wins a nearly $900K pot.

2. A true ladies’ man

Here’s a humorous video from a Poker after Dark episode featuring Gus Hansen and the ladies. Erica Schoenberg becomes the latest victim of the Great Dane’s incredible luck.

1. Gus Hansen cools Kid Poker

This is a truly sick cooler. A mixture of a good—albeit fairly easy—call and some of Hansen’s crazy luck, and, well, just watch.

There you have it. Gus Hansen—great, lucky, instinctive, aggressive, loose, and crazy poker superstar—is, indeed, fun to watch. Do you have a favorite Great Dane hand? Or perhaps a personal anecdote? Please comment below.

Until next time.

Note: Want to upgrade your poker skills? Get free preflop charts here and start playing like a pro before the flop. Download now!

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About the Author
Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.

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