Hansen Drops $2 Million In Return To Full Tilt Poker
Poker Pro So Far Not Continuing Where He Left Off In Mid 2011
Despite a reunion with millions in his Full Tilt Poker account, Gus Hansen might be having the worst November out of any poker player on the website.
According to the HighstakesDB, the Dane has punted off nearly $2 million since the Nov. 6 launch of “new” Full Tilt, now owned by PokerStars after a settlement with the U.S. government.
Hansen is leading the way in the rebirth of the once disgraced site. Despite being a member of “Team Full Tilt” while it was allegedly looting player accounts, he was never implicated in any wrongdoing. While some of those who haven’t been accused of a crime suffered damaged reputations when reports surfaced of unpaid debts, Hansen wasn’t one of them.
The downswings were sometimes horrific, but Hansen, who has millions in tournament earnings and success in other business ventures, always managed to stay afloat. He’s down more than $5 million lifetime on the software.
What could be particularly annoying now for the 38-year-old is that he was in the midst of a career upswing prior to the site shutting its doors during summer 2011.
His web poker life has been marred by hot starts to begin a calendar year, only to have the winnings evaporate. Before his binge that started around the time of his first World Series of Poker bracelet, Hansen was approaching an eight-figure deficit on the site.
“I made some corrections to mistakes I’ve been making,” Hansen said during his 2011 upswing. “My focus is a little better, and I stopped playing too loose in some situations.”
Hansen took a hard look at how to stop the bloodbath when playing certain foes. “Most of the work has been my own stubbornness in keeping at it, even though my results were excruciatingly poor,” he said. “I tried to understand why I was losing to specific people.”
After focusing on taming his aggressiveness, Hansen tried to keep the variance to a minimum. For example, he likes to leave tables when he becomes too deep.
“I don’t mind playing a big pot, but all within reason,” he said. “I don’t have $200 million to play coin flips for a million at a time and neither does anyone else. I shy away from the insane deep-stacked games.”
Hansen said just a few weeks ago that he plans on continuing his climb from the red depths. Even though that hasn’t been the case so far, new Full Tilt is still in its infancy.
Not a Superhero
Although he lifted poker to new heights with brazen plays on the World Poker Tour about a decade ago, Hansen is still just human in more ways than one.
It may look a little obscene; Europeans playing for six-figure pots on Full Tilt once again while American players still haven’t been repaid. However, it’s not the firm’s fault. PokerStars wanted to repay Americans, but the feds declined and decided to handle it on their own.
Hansen is cognizant of this and cares about the misery of the former U.S. customer, but he’s realistic and — sort of like always in the game of poker — resigned to a certain sense of fate.
“Unfortunately I’m not in a position to put any pressure of any kind on the Department of Justice,” Hansen told Card Player. “I don’t have any superhero powers. I wish I did, but I don’t have any say. I really hope that with the settlement Americans are paid back. Hopefully [the government] will fulfill its obligation.”
Hansen isn’t alone in being outside the realm of telling the DOJ what to do. The Poker Players Alliance, an online poker lobbying group on Capitol Hill, has been on top of the compensation issue since the beginning and met with the feds last week, but wasn’t able to get any definitive answers on a timeline or if players will be reimbursed at 100 percent.
For Hansen, right now is not only about pushing forward in his new business opportunity and trying to find consistency on the felt. He wants to be a part of rehabilitating online poker’s image. He admits “poker has taken a hit,” but that it’s starting to “regain some momentum.”
While it’s impossible to predict whether the game’s image would suffer in the long-run after the fraudulent horrors of 2011, the scandals have engulfed others who were, at one moment in time, stars of the sport. There doesn’t appear to be hope of redemption for some.
Former Full Tilt leaders, most notably Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar, face charges from the office of Preet Bharara, one of the country’s top prosecutors. While Bitar could face life in prison if convicted, Lederer could forfeit $42.5 million if found guilty of accusations in his civil case.
Hansen said he doesn’t want to talk about any individuals associated with the old company, regardless of whether it’s in a “positive or negative direction.”
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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