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Gus Hanson

By Paul McGuire

I am often asked who my favorite player to watch is. In my opinion there is nobody better than Gus Hanson. It amazes me how he reads his opponents. There is no way he would be able to get away with the way he plays if he did not have the uncanny ability to tell just how strong a player’s hand is. He is often wild and always unpredictable, but where most other players lose with this style of play, Gus excels.

Gus HansonGustav Hanson was born in Denmark and is 30 years old at the time this is being written (2004). He was originally a professional backgammon player but has moved to poker and quickly become a celebrity. Many world-class backgammon players have moved to poker and become successful. Backgammon requires many of the same skills as poker, including calculating percentages and making challenging decisions.

In the last two years Gus has become well recognized (and rich) due to his four appearances at final tables on the World Poker Tour. He has won over 1.5 million dollars in these WPT events, more than any other player in the world. Gus makes an otherwise often mundane game very interesting to watch. He is certainly the focus of the entire table whenever he sits down.

Gus appears to play horrible poker. He bets at the wrong time with nothing in his hand. He bullies the other players and keeps them off-guard with every bet. He takes advantage of other players by knowing exactly how they will react to any bet. The other players always seem to be amazed at how lucky he is, but Gus makes his own luck by only going to the showdown with his good hands and bluffing players out with his bad hands. Couple this unpredictable talent with his mathematical genius and you have a player to be feared, even by professionals.

Gus takes a lot of chances other players are afraid to take, which makes him fun to watch. Not every player can play this style successfully though. When Gus makes a wild bet, he has a plan. He is exploring the other player’s hands. Occasionally this style of play will go very wrong, but Gus’ success proves it can be profitable if played with skill and guts.

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