In the early days of a sport or a gaming community, there is quite often one player that manages to act as a guiding light for everyone else. Whether it is through hard work, effort or just outright skill and talent, an individual or team can often quickly stand out from the crowd.
This is a great thing for the player but it is often a great thing for the ruling body as well. After all, people love heroes and in the gaming community, looking up to winners is something that people enjoy doing. It is good to have inspirations and when you look back at the early days of the WPT, there is one name that is written all over the history books.
Gus Hansen, the Great Dane
Hansen was born on the outskirts of Copenhagen in Denmark back on February 13th, 1974. Although currently living in Monte Carlo, Monaco, Hansen is known all over the world and was an early symbol of success in the WPT. It could have been so different for Hansen and the WPT with tennis and backgammon being viable career routes for him. Hansen was considered to be a world class backgammon player and was also a champion tennis player in his younger days. These sports loss was definitely poker’s gain.
Hansen quickly became famous in the 1st season of the WPT with two wins, earning him over $1m for the season. Given that this was the debut season of the tour and the prize winnings were of a lower level, this is a prize that was worth being proud of.
Hansen won in the Five Diamond World Poker Classic and the L.A. Poker Classic. Season 2 of the WPT saw Hansen finish third in the Five Diamond World Poker Classic but triumph in the Caribbean Poker Adventure. This saw his second season winnings come in at over $730,000, giving him a healthy return for the first two seasons on the tour.
Over $4m in WPT winnings is a great return
Hansen has been unable to win any other WPT event as of March 2011 but a number of money finishes has seen him rack up over $4m in WPT winnings.
However, it was the three triumphs in two seasons that marked Hansen out as a major player in WPT history and this is why he was inaugurated into the WPT Walk of Fame. There were only three men inaugurated at this time, with Hansen being notably younger than Doyle Brunson or James Garner. The fact that no poker player has managed to win more than 3 WPT titles, with only Hansen and Carlos Mortensen being able to claim this indicates the size of the task that Hansen completed.
This is why Hansen is still regarded as one of the most important poker players of WPT history.
Hansen was bringing sexy back to poker
In a twist to the usual perceptions of poker players, Hansen, back in 2004 at the peak of his game and general public awareness, was voted amongst the 50th sexiest men alive. This may not be an achievement that can make you money but it is certainly something to be proud of. If ever other poker players start to talk about their winnings, Hansen can point to not only his poker winnings but his final placing on that poll.
Although poker is the reason that so many people know Hansen, he refers to himself as a professional gambler as opposed to being a professional poker player. It is said that Hansen can quite often be found taking and placing bets on a various number of sporting events and challenges with his fellow players. This can help to break the monotony of the touring life and no doubt keeps Hansen’s mind ticking over with regards to calculating odds and playing other people.