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Learning From Thor Hansen: Should You Insure Your Health?

by Matt Glantz |  Published: Feb 07, '12


Thor Hansen and the entire poker world received the most unfortunate of news this past week. Thor, complaining of kidney pains, made a trip to the hospital only to find out he has terminal cancer throughout his body and may only have two more years to live.

Thor has always been an asset to the poker community. He is a great example of a straight-up nice guy at the poker table. When it comes to setting the example for the younger guys in the game, there is no one better than Thor. We all are rooting for Thor as he has always been one of the finest men we have in the community.

Thor’s situation brings us to a harsh reality for poker players. Like most professional poker players, Thor has no health insurance. Most players I know don’t have health insurance simply because they never got around to it. This situation might bring the up the idea of health insurance to many players that otherwise would never consider it.

Like any insurance you must weigh the cost versus the risk. Someone like myself with a wife and kids has no decision when it comes to health insurance. It is a must. But most of us in the poker world are without dependents and that leaves you with a real choice. The cost is so high in our country that I don’t think there is a clear-cut answer for a single guy. But the only way to make that decision is actually do a little work and investigate what is right for you individually in this matter of health insurance. Without doing that, you are making a very big life decision without gathering the necessary information; something a good poker player would never do.

I urge you to read a great piece on the current situation with Thor Hansen by the author Michael Craig.

Poker pro Matt Glantz has demonstrated high-stakes versatility by becoming the World Series’ most consistent performer in big money mixed-game tournaments. Since 2008, he has made four WSOP final tables in mixed-game events with buy-ins of $10,000 to $50,000. He has also earned a reputation as one of the top mixed-game cash game players.

Glantz is answering Card Player reader questions about mixed-game poker strategy. Readers can email Matt questions direct to and also should check out his website for more strategy and updates from the tournament trail.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


over 10 years ago

your comment that single unmarried players dont have health ins because its to expensive is just a little too simple. Yes health ins is NY a single male 20-30 will pay 600-800
a month...some special plans would be cheaper.

The truth is you cannot afford NOT TO BE INSURED


over 10 years ago

Getting health ins. no matter what age is a choice everyone has to make. If you decide that instead of paying for it that your next buy in is more important and you forgo getting ins. and become ill you should only get health care that you can pay for out of pocket. You should not be dependent on people who act responsibly and pay for health ins. to pay for you by paying higher costs. It's a cold cruel world and you should not expect grownups who are responsible to take care of you if you are not.


over 10 years ago

I agree that the idea of people who attempt to play poker for a living should not baulk at the thought of getting themselves insured.
Now the reality, 95% of the people that play poker for a so called living go broke. Most of these people are not responsible at all.
Even the people that are winning players don't make as much as people think they do. I know its not popular to speak the truth about poker for what it is but id like to hear a real pro like Matt speak of some of the dark side of poker. Someone really needs to step up and talk some truth. Most of the time it really just comes down to the guy with the biggest bank roll.

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