Gus Hansen
Gus Hansen has been appointed as the newest member of Team Winamax - can the Great Dane return to his former glory?

Poker legend Gus Hansen, also known as The Great Dane, has joined Team Winamax and will be playing under their colors in the forthcoming EPT Monte Carlo Main Event and  the 59th World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this summer For many years an enigmatic player, Gus Hansen is a bona fide star and former face of Full Tilt Poker from poker’s first boom. Can the Great Dane resume greatness in the modern era, or will his intuitive play and unique style be out of place at the live felt?

Surprise Announcement Comes from Nowhere

It’s fair to say that while Gus Hansen is a legendary name associated with poker’s first online and live ‘boom’ in the early 2000s that he has not been front and center in recent years. The high stakes cash legend was known for winning six and seven figure sums in the early years of the millennium and quickly carved out a reputation as one of the best poker players in the world.

Hansen’s legend includes a lot of online wins on PokerStars and mostly Full Tilt Poker back in the day, but in High Stakes Poker, Hansen became a household name to poker fans. Winning three World Poker Tour Main Events and the 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event, Hansen also took down the £10,350 No Limit Hold’em High Roller Heads-Up WSOP event in 2010 for his first WSOP bracelet and £288,409.

Hansen’s prowess at making tough decisions under pressure at the poker felt was exemplified by his victory in the Poker Million IX tournament, also in 2010. Taking home the million-dollar winner’s prize, he beat the most brutal bubble of all-time, with second and lower receiving nothing.

The Post Black Friday Years

Despite winning over $10.2 million at the live felt, the collapse of Full Tilt Poker and online poker in the United States doubtless impacted on Hansen’s burgeonining success in that decade. Following that devastating day in April 2011, some time went by when Hansen stepped back from the limelight. According to some reports, Hansen was down $20 million at the time of Black Friday hitting the poker industry.

Live cash games may have hurt Hansen too. Once a regular in the ‘Big Game’ at ‘Bobby’s Room’ at the Bellagio Casino in Vegas, Hansen admitted to seven-figure losses in some games, and when asked about his music business in Denmark in 2017, the Dane replied: “It went probably as [badly] as my online poker career!”

He may have endured as well as enjoyed a wild ride in poker but Hansen’s attributes have never been restricted to the poker felt. A world class backgammon player, Hansen once left a major poker tour’s Main Event where he was chip leader mid-tournament, abandoning the biggest stack in the event to play a private high roller backgammon in London.

A tennis champion in his younger years and previously voted one of People Magazine‘s 50 Sexiest Men in 2004, Gus Hansen is a fascinating and magnetic character in life as well as poker. Signing as a Winamax Poker ambassador comes as a bolt from the blue and has surprised many inside poker, especially given the Danish poker legend has cashed once in the past decade at the live felt.

Gus Joins Team Winamax
The king is back on his crown as Gus Hansen has joined Team Winamax!

What Will The Great Dane Bring to Winamax?

“We thought it might be the right time – all the lights were green.”

There can be no doubt that Hansen is the biggest signing to join Winamax’s roster of talent. Hansen, now 50, is as revered by his new employers as he is poker fans.

“He’s a legend,” Stéphane Matheu, Winamax Team Pro team manager said. “At Winamax, we like to do things a little out of the ordinary, and Gus is someone who approaches things with a unique perspective. He’s been around since the beginning of the modern era of poker.”

Hansen himself can’t wait to join up with ‘Team W’ at the EPT Monte Carlo festival, where he will play his first event – the Main Event, naturally – on Monday. As he described via Team Winamax, the possibility of him joining the team came from him at the recent WPT World Championships in December.

“I’d like to be part of Team Winamax,” Hansen told Poker52 magazine just before last Christmas. His wish has now come true. “We always talked about the possibility of working together. The possibility has always floated in the air. It’s been many years now since Stéphane joined Team Winamax, while I’ve taken a bit of a back seat. I had a son and all that, and then I started playing poker again. I played a tournament in Las Vegas in December. Team Winamax was there, and Stéphane and I put the idea back on the table. We thought it might be the right time. All the lights were green.”

While a social media presence, success at the poker felt and a worldwide appeal are all important factors behind ambassadorial appointments, there is no doubt that personal relationships with those in charge help grease the wheels. Look at Tom Dwan’s recent appointment as an Americas Cardroom ambassador, thanks in no small part to his friendship with ACR CEO Phil Nagy. Stéphane Matheu certainly believes so.

“For me, this has a lot of meaning. Gus is the person who introduced me to the world of poker twenty years ago. I knew nothing about it! Everyone’s come a long way: it’s pretty crazy to think that today he’s joining the team I’ve been supervising for fourteen years.”

Over the following months, Matheu hopes that Hansen’s offbeat approach will align with his team’s own ethic towards poker.

“At Winamax, we like to do things in a slightly offbeat way,” he said. “Gus approaches things differently from your average Joe, with a unique perspective. He pushes you to see things in a different way. And that’s great when you’re looking to exchange ideas, as we are with the Team. After revolutionizing poker at one period in time, he’ll be able to catch up with the most successful players today.”

We won’t have to wait too long to find out exactly how rusty the previously well-oiled machine of Gus Hansen is – he’s playing the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event from Monday.