Monday, August 6, 2018

I'm Not Gus Hansen

Saturday I had a session out in Ventura.  The game was 2/3 NL, the buy-in was $300 and of course I got accused of being Gus Hansen.

Yes, Gus Hansen, the famous poker pro from Denmark.

It was a bit of a shock because I don't usually get confused with a Danish person.  Or for that matter, a professional poker player.  Or even a good poker player.

Well, technically, that's not quite true. I have been told on multiple occasions I look like Gabe Kaplan. I think Gabe was once considered a professional poker player, but I'm not sure he is any more.

But it's kind of irrelevant because the person who asked me if I was Gus Hansen was not referring to my physical appearance but to my poker skills.

Let me know when you stop laughing. The guy was just messing around because I won a pot from him.  I think.

He was a bit of maniac as a player and a bit eccentric as a person.  A middle-aged European (perhaps on the high side of middle age), I'd definitely seen him before but it had been a good long time since I'd played with him and my memory of him was vague.

But when I got to the table he was playing quite aggressively, with frequent and large preflop raises and some big bets on the later streets and, at least initially, a reluctance to fold.

When he lost all his chips (calling off his stack on a draw that he missed), he quieted down a bit.  And since he had been there for awhile before I got there, I have no idea if he had perhaps rebought more than once before I showed up.

But the good news is that I won some pots and after the second or third he said to me, "Who are you?  Gus Hansen?"  I just laughed.  Then he asked, "Do you know who Gus Hansen is?"  I said of course I did.  I have no idea why he picked Gus Hansen.  I'm sure nothing I did resembled his game, and I certainly don't look like him.  It was strange but mildly amusing.

The picture below is not Gus Hansen.  I thought of including a pic of Gus with this post, but then I thought my readers are sophisticated poker fans who know what Gus Hansen looks like (in case you don't, you can click on the link to Gus's Wikipedia page that I provided).  I'm sure there must be a Danish person my readers would rather look at than Gus, handsome as is.  I chose Danish swimsuit model Nina Agdal.  Hey, when you do your own poker blog and write a post about Gus Hansen, you can use a picture of Gus Hansen. I do things my way.

I won a small pot with top pair, top kicker, then I was dealt Ace-9 on the button.  A few players had called $7 and since I had position I called too.  Then the small blind made it $23.  Two others called before it got back to me.  I decided to come along.

The flop was Jack-10-8, rainbow.  The small blind bet $25 and it folded to me.  Pretty easy call with the open-ender.  The turn was a beautiful 7.  This time the small blind checked and I bet $60.  He tanked and folded          

I opened to $15 under-the-gun with two Queens. I got two callers, including my European friend.  The flop was Jack-high and I bet $40.  Both players called.  Another Jack hit the turn.  This time I checked.  It checked through.  The river was yet another Jack.  There was no way either of them had the case Jack, I thought.  I would have heard from them when I checked the turn.  So I led out for $55.  Next to act, my European friend counted out chips.  At first I wasn't sure if he was going to call or raise, because the way he stacked out his chips it looked like he might have wanted to match it and put out a bigger bet.  But he didn't act and then he tanked forever.  I didn't think this guy was the Hollywooding type so I was not really worried he was putting on act trying to induce me to call a raise with him sitting on quad Jacks.  I could sense the fellow next to him was eager to fold.

Finally European man did fold, and the fellow next to me instantly mucked.  As I started stacking my chips, he said, "Did you have an Ace or better?"  I just smiled.  "I almost called.  I had a 4." (There was a 4 on the board).  I just nodded. I believe this was the moment he asked me if I was Gus Hansen.

I suppose after this next hand I should have asked him if he was Phil Ivey.  In the big blind with King-Queen off there was no raise and I just checked.  The flop was King-5-3, and I led out for $10, two calls including the European.  The turn was a 6 and I bet $20, both called.  The river was a 4. Four to a straight out there, I checked.  He counted out $75 and bet.  Back to me.  I convinced myself that he was betting that much because I checked the river and he was trying to steal it. But I also knew that this guy plays a wide range and could show up with anything.  I just couldn't find the fold, and actually, I really thought I was making a good call.  But he flipped over pocket 4's, for a rivered set. Jeez.  He pointed out that he was open ended on the turn. I'm sure Gus Hansen wouldn't have made that mistake.

Then I got pocket Aces in the big blind.  There were a bunch of limpers, nobody raised.  So I added $20 to my $3 blind. I got two callers  The flop was Ace-3-3.  Yahtzee!  I figured when you flop a boat, especially with pocket Aces, you have to slow play it, so I checked. No one else bet.  By the way, the European wasn't in this hand. The turn was the third club and I was of course hoping someone had a flush.  The small blind led out for $25, fortunately.  Did he make his flush?  I wasn't sure whether to call or raise.  I decided to just call hoping the third player would come along.  Fortunately he did.  The river was a blank but this time the player on my right checked.  Damn.  I obviously had to bet, so I put out $50.  The first guy folded instantly, the other folded after a few seconds.  Bummer.  I guess he didn't have a flush.  Maybe he was just trying to steal it because I checked the flop?  It was still a nice pot but of course I was hoping for more.

I'd had a long day before I even got to the poker room so I was ready to wrap it up.  I opened to $15 with Ace-Queen suited and got just one call.  The flop missed me but I took it with a $25 c-bet.

Soon thereafter I racked up and the European asked me why I was living so soon.  I just shrugged and said to him, "When I see Gus Hansen I'll say hello to him for you."  He laughed.

I booked a $125 win, which was cool, but not nearly as good as Gus would have done.


  1. I thought you were George Costanza?

    1. Yeah, I do get Costanza a lot. And Jason Alexander does play poker.

      Did you hear that Alexander is going to be the new Col. Sanders for KFC? It's finger lickin' good!

    2. He is going to be a great Col. Sanders!

      I normally associate Gus Hansen with ATC poker. Which I only do in my big blind and button hands.

    3. That's definitely not me, lol. In fact, it is a pretty good description of the guy who called me Gus!

  2. Gabe Kaplan is considered an expert, but, you're right, he doesn't play much any more. The last Hendon Mob entry is a Ballagio High Rollers in 2014 where he finished 8th for $258K. See here.

  3. Nice run Rob and I do believe your choice of photo is more appropriate for your blog. Congrats.

  4. I would happily take somebody thinking I looked like Gus Hansen. In reality I probably look like Gus Hansen if he was stung by hundreds of bees.