Gus Hansen, the Great Dane who went on a $20.7M losing streak! | 10 PEOPLE WHO GOT RICH FROM POKER

Born and raised in Denmark, Gus Hansen is one of the most famous faces in professional poker. According to some, he’s also one of the most beautiful faces in poker!

In 2004, People Magazine included him in the list of 50 Most Beautiful People in the world.

However, the reason why he’s famous in poker circles has nothing to do with his looks. It has everything to do with the fact that he’s been very successful at the table, winning millions of dollars along the way.

Another reason is that he’s a media-friendly player, who has appeared in dozens of popular TV shows, including High Stakes Poker.

But it wasn’t always like that. Hansen started his professional poker career in 1997 when he was 24. Before that, he had many other career ideas on his mind.


Hansen discovered his talent for playing tennis when he was in his teens, similarly to his fellow Scandinavian Patrik Antonius, who we have also talked about in this article series.

However, unlike Finland’s greatest poker player, Hansen didn’t immediately give up on tennis as soon as he realized he was good at poker.

Gus Hansen playing tennis

On the contrary, Hansen was very enthusiastic about his tennis career, but a serious injury made him change his plans.

The injury meant that his body wasn’t longer capable of enduring tough physical challenges. Still, his competitive spirit stayed alive, so he decided to engage it in some other way.

His decision was to switch from tennis to backgammon. It was a good decision, there’s no doubt about that. Hanson proved to be a natural-born talent for the board game, beating his opponents with ease.

The problem, however, was that being a backgammon player was not (and still isn’t) a very lucrative profession. He realized that there was much more money in professional poker.

When he was in his mid-twenties, Hansen decided to embark on a poker journey that brought him fame and fortune.

That journey is still ongoing and he seems to have no intention to retire. As of 2020, with a WSOP bracelet and three WPT titles, Gus Hansen is one of the most successful players in the history of the game.


With a career spanning over two decades, it’s practically impossible to detail every single success Hansen has achieved.

Pro Poker Player, Jonas Gjelstad, rates the good and bad players on Hendon Mob Poker Databases’ All-Time Money List.

Still, we do feel an obligation to mention a couple of memorable moments from the Great Dane’s career. So, here they are:

  • In 2004, Hansen finished in 150th place in the WSOP Main Event, which marked the start of his rise to success.
  • In 2007, he won the inaugural season of the Poker After Dark, beating poker legends such as Phil Hellmuth and Huck Seed along the way.
  • Hansen then went on to win three World Poker Tour events.
  • In 2010, he won his first WSOP bracelet, together with about $300,000 in winnings.
  • The same year, Hansen won $1M when he defeated Tony Bloom in heads-up at the Poker Million IX tournament.
  • As of spring 2020, Gus Hansen’s total live earnings are estimated to be over $10M.

With so much money in the bank, Hansen definitely belongs to the group of people who have made a fortune playing poker. At the moment, The Hendon Mob lists him as the 89th player in the all-time money list.

The Great Dane could’ve been much higher on the list if it weren’t for the losing streak back in 2015 during which he lost $20.7 million playing Full Tilt Poker.


Gus Hansen sits on the throne of Denmark’s all-time money list and has been for years. Still, he did admit he had some serious money problems over the years.

Even after reaching poker stardom, Hansen struggled to make ends meet. The good news for him is that those periods were brief.

Gus on an insane losing streak

The bad times in Hansen’s life only lasted until he managed to utilise his poker skills and add some figures to his account. The question is what caused them?

In Gus Hansen’s case, poker is both the cause and solution to all the problems.

According to the player himself, he ended up losing several million dollars playing high-rollers’ games in “Bobby’s Room” in Bellagio.

He recorded even bigger losses whilst playing online poker at Full Tilt Poker. Although he’s decided to keep it quiet, it’s estimated that his online losses are almost $6M.


Hansen’s competitive spirit has led him to venture into many other gambling activities aside from poker.

He’s famous for staging all sorts of challenges with his friends, such as the boxing match with another poker legend, Theo Jorgensen.

Hansen also helped develop several successful websites, most notably which Betfair purchased for more than €13M back in 2005.

He’s also been involved in backgammon, providing commentary for live broadcasts of international tournaments.

A few years ago, he also ventured into the music industry in his homeland Denmark but decided to give up on that dream after it proved not too lucrative. In fact, Hansen said that his venture was as “bad as his online poker career”.

In 2020, Hansen is based in Las Vegas, where he often takes part in live tournaments in casinos around the city. In his spare time, however, he’s waging a social media war against Donald Trump.


Poker players seem to love social media and Gus Hansen is not an exception. What makes him different from other players is that his Twitter posts aren’t about the luxurious life of a poker superstar.

His tweets are focused mostly on the mishaps of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

If you go through Hansen’s tweets from 2019, you will see that there’s only one of them in which he’s not discussing the US President.

It’s basically the same situation when it comes to his tweets from 2020, although he’s been pretty quiet lately on Twitter. The reason? He’s moved to Instagram!

Gus Hansen’s Instagram profile is not so much Trump-focused. It’s where he shares photos and videos from his private life, as well as from within the poker room.

So, if you’re interested in learning some poker tips and tricks, following @therealgushansen would be a smart move!

How to go from a winning poker player to a profitable sports bettor, read here.

Check out the other articles in our 10 People Who Got Rich from Poker series on:

  • Article 1: Daniel Negreanu, the most famous poker play of all time
  • Article 2: Phil Ivey cheated his way to a $10 million win
  • Article 3: Phil “POKER BRAT” Hellmuth, the biggest trash talker in poker
  • Article 4: Fedor Holz, a multimillionaire by 23
  • Article 5: Patrik Antonius, winning the biggest ever online pot & nearly becoming a tennis pro
  • Article 7: Doug Polk, a poker pensioner at 31 who now plays warcraft full-time
  • Article 8: Chris Ferguson, the Jesus of Poker who turned full antichrist
  • Article 9: Justin Bonomo, the Romeo with many Juliets
  • Article 10: Mike Matusow, a former prisoner and Trump-worshipping poker legend
  • Article 11: Viktor Blom, a.k.a. ILSIDUR1, the record holder for the biggest loss in online poker history
  • Article 12: Bryn Kenney, the richest man in poker
  • Article 13: Jonas Gjelstad, leaving school early and moving to Thailand to become a professional poker player

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