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Gus Hansen’s been mostly absent from the poker scene since 2014 but he’s back in Las Vegas playing high-stakes cash games and tournaments.
According to tracking sites Hansen lost roughly $17 million playing high-stakes poker online between 2012 and 2014.
But the Great Dane has been in Sin City since the end of May and he told PokerListings.com he’s spent most of his time playing the big games in Bobby’s Room at Bellagio.
Yesterday he entered his first WSOP event of the summer, the $50,000 buy-in Poker Player’s Championship, but didn’t make it to dinner on Day 2.
Hansen was at a table with Phil Hellmuth and Michael Mizrachi and after busting on a hand of PLO he told us about the big games he’s been playing in the last few weeks and what he’s been doing for the last few years.
PokerListings.com: It’s great to see you at the WSOP. It’s been a while. Can you fill us in on what you’ve been up to?
Gus Hansen: Little bit of poker but very little. If I have been playing anything it’s been cash games. I was in King’s Casino (in Czech Republic), a little bit in Vienna. I’ve been stopping by Vegas a bit and I’ve been here all summer but this is my first tournament.
PL: Have you been playing cash while you’ve been here?
GH: Yeah I’ve been playing cash in Bobby’s Room. Some good days, some bad days. $2,000/$4,000 has been the main game.
PL: How’s it going?
GH: Up and down. Unfortunately before this tournament it’s been mostly down.
I needed a little change of pace so I decided to play this one. But you need to be able to show the best hand once in a while.
I probably didn’t play the best I’ve ever played but overall pretty happy with my performance. Again, you win some you lose some.
PL: The Gus Hansen we know has never needed the best hand to win.
GH: No, you don’t but still in limit games there’s only so much pressure you can put on people. In No-Limit or PLO there’s some other possibilities but unfortunately here it didn’t work out.
It’s a nice tournament though. I might play a couple more but most likely only the Main Event.
PL: We’ve always known that you love action and competition so if you haven’t been playing much poker where are you getting that fix?
GH: I play some other games, more on an amateur level. I play bridge and also squash which I do a lot. But otherwise I’ve been involved in some small business ventures.
PL: Any backgammon?
GH: Very little. After the WSOP there’s the World Championship of Backgammon in Monaco so I’m definitely going there. Whether I’ll be playing is another question.
You never know how the winds will blow. Maybe I’ll play some cash games or just visit some old friends from the backgammon world.
PL: We’ve heard stories of you playing high-stakes backgammon in the past. Does that happen anymore?
GH: Very little. It could occur at some point in time but it’s not something I’m planning.
PL: Are you planning to play more poker going forward?
GH: Definitely. I’ve always loved poker. So far here in Vegas it hasn’t really been the outcome I was hoping for but I’m still around and you’ll definitely see me more in the poker scene.
PL: Can you tell us any stories from Bobby’s Room from this summer?
GH: I can’t tell too many stories but there’s big action going on and lots of banter. That’s one of the things I like. Everyone is joking with everyone. If you lose you have to be able to take it. I’m pretty good at dishing it out so I have to be able to take it too.
PL: Even in this tournament which is a $50,000 buy-in, everyone at your table is joking around, even on your bustout hand. It’s surprising that everyone’s so relaxed even with so much money on the line.
GH: The money is definitely a big part of it and people are taking it seriously but for me it creates a more relaxed atmosphere and in general I think I’m more in tune and making better decisions if I’m not too serious and everyone’s talking.
I like the joking and the banter but I think it’s pretty easy to say I’m one of the most talkative people in poker in general and in the $50k. So probably my table is the most talkative regardless of the stakes.
PL: Is that an outlook you have in general, that it’s important to have fun and enjoy what you’re doing even if it’s hard or there’s a lot of pressure?
GH: I think that’s good advice in general. If you want to be really good at something it has to be something you like to do and it’s a lot easier to love something if you have fun doing it. So if it’s always a drag you’re probably never going to get good at it.
Obviously you still have to have a serious work ethic because it takes time but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it.