Gus Hansen’s lifetime losses at Full Tilt spiraled past the toe-curling $20 million mark this week, according to Highstakesdb.com, prompting many to wonder whether the three-time WPT winner and former Aussie Millions Champ is losing his marbles as well. Hansen has now lost almost three times as much money at the Full Tilt nosebleed cash games as his nearest “rival” in the losing stakes, “noiatama.”
However, if it’s any consolation to Hansen, and we hope it is, the second, third and fourth biggest losers, “noiatama” ($7,067,935), “lady marmalade” ($6,632,177), and “patatino” ($5,924,546), respectively, are all believed to be the same person, none other than billionaire Cirque de Soleil founder and creator of the Big One for One Drop Guy Laliberte. Laliberte apparently lost around $26 million playing $500/$1,000 games between 2008 and 2009.
So, while the “Gus Hansen” account is the biggest loser on Full Tilt, Gus Hansen, the human, may only be the second-biggest loser. It still begs the question, however, what on earth is he up to?
Hansen is a self-confessed “born gambler” who’s well known for his reckless abandon and blood-curdling swings. It’s almost as if he enjoys digging himself out of a hole, which is handy because he’s set himself the biggest hole-digging challenge in online poker history, bar that of the aforementioned Laliberte who, it seems, is content to cut his losses and run. But Hansen will never cut his losses. And what’s more, he will always insist on playing the best online poker players in the world, when he doesn’t really have to. It’s the best way to learn, he says. But it’s getting expensive.
You have to go back to the summer of 2009 for the last time Hansen was in the black, a winning online nosebleed player. Soon after, he went on a downswing of eye-popping proportions, some $11 million, finding himself in the red to the tune of $10.4 million by the fall of 2010. And then, over a five-month period, he clawed his way back so that he was “only” $2.47 million in the red. Things seemed to be looking up for Hansen. And then Black Friday happened.
When Full Tilt returned over a year later, Hansen, due to his dedication to the nosebleeds and desire to play anyone, was named as the new Full Tilt’s first ambassador. And he was in a buoyant mood, talking of his desire to play some proper online high-stakes again and how excited he was to have his “funky Gus avatar” back again. However from thereon in it was disaster; a steady ski-slope towards this week’s dubious milestone.
A lot of people wonder where Hansen gets his money from, and we can only speculate. Let’s not forget he’s one of the most successful live tournament players ever, and we don’t doubt he’s made some shrewd investments, as is apparent by his chosen domicile: Monte Carlo, an enclave for impossibly wealthy tax exiles.
He’s not as reckless as he appears, and he’s certainly not stupid. It’s very unlikely he’s playing with money he can’t afford to lose. If he were, Gus Hansen would have departed the game a long time ago, never to be heard of again. The problem, he has said in the past, is that he’s “rusty,” and hasn’t put enough work in on his opponents. Well, maybe now is a good time to start. Since reaching his nadir of $20,109,870 earlier this week, Hansen has clawed some back. $1.2 million to be precise.
Could we be looking at the comeback of the century? Go Gus!