Gus Hansen, also known as The Great Dane, was born just outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1974. Hansen grew up playing a variety of sports, especially tennis.
Hansen was always fascinated by numbers and maths. When he was introduced to backgammon, he took a keen liking towards the game, and practiced intensively until he was ready to test his skills around the world. He ended up in New York, touring backgammon and gin rummy clubs, and hanging out with professional poker players such as Huckleberry Seed and Phil Laak. It was during that time that Hansen was introduced to various types of poker, including Stud games.
Hansen played his first World Series of Poker in 1996 , despite never having really played No-Limit Hold ‘em before then. After being knocked out on the first day, he decided to start practicing more, testing new plays and experimenting with different styles. Experimentation and mixing-up his style has been part of his game ever since.
By 1998, Hansen found himself playing more poker than backgammon, and making more frequent trips to Las Vegas. When the World Poker Tour (WPT) kicked off in 2002, he had developed a loose, aggressive style that immediately paid off, both in terms of money and recognition.
Hansen won the WPT’s inaugural event, the US$10,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em tournament, at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Later that year, he took down another event, the US$10,000 No-Limit Hold’ em Championship at the WPT’s L.A. Poker Classic.
During the WPT’s second season, Hansen won the invitation-only Bad Boys of Poker tournament and, in early 2004, earned his fourth WPT title at the Caribbean Adventure tournament. He was also in contention for another title that season, but had to settle for third place in the Bellagio Five Diamond tournament when his pocket 10s failed to hold up against his opponent’s A-Q.
Hansen reached another final table during the WPT’s third season, but ended up with a third-place finish in the Bay 101 Shooting Stars tournament. All in all, those four WPT wins and five final table appearances earned him induction into the WPT’s Walk of Fame the first year they launched it.
In 2005, Hansen decided to play fewer tournaments in order to focus on his cash game. Still, even with the reduction in tournament play, he made it to the final table at the FullTiltPoker.Net Poker Invitational from Monaco and won the Grand Final of the inaugural Poker Superstars Invitational.
Hansen had another memorable year in 2006. First, he made television history in the second season of High Stakes Poker when he took down the show’s biggest pot ever (US$575,700) by defeating Daniel Negreanu’s 6-6 with his 5-5 on a board of 9-6-5-5-8. Then, in September that year, he took first place at the FullTiltPoker.com London All Star Challenge, winning US$100,000.
2007 was a good year for Hansen also. In January, he won the Aussie Millions Main Event – the biggest tournament outside of North America – and took home his biggest prize ever, a whopping $AUD1.2 million.
When not playing tournament poker, Hansen is a regular participant in the Big Gameat the Bellagio, battling it out in as many as 13 different poker games with players such as Phil Ivey, Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, Barry Greenstein, and David Benyamine.
Online, Hansen often plays high-limit Pot-Limit Omaha games or Omaha 8/B Limit games on FullTiltPoker.com. On occasion, he can also be found in low-stakes Limit Hold ‘em and Razz games, along with low-limit SNGs and some of FullTiltPoker.com‘s larger tournaments.
If he’s not playing poker, there is a good chance you can find Hansen on the golf course, the tennis court, the squash court, or playing soccer with his friends, as he finds that playing sports and working out help him maintain the physical stamina he needs to be a successful poker player.
Hansen also provides poker commentary for both Danish and American television shows, and is always ready to play a high-stakes backgammon match against anybody who would like to challenge him.
Hansen currently resides in Monte Carlo, Monaco, where he spends a lot of time with his family, including his one-year old niece, Sally, who he believes will be his first poker protégé.