WSOP Main Event Day 2A: Thor Hansen: pioneer, storyteller, PokerStars qualifier
If Las Vegas was in Norway and not Nevada, Thor Hansen would be a megastar. Second only to Doyle Brunson in the race to be the person most frequently described as "The Godfather of Poker", Hansen is widely regarded as the most important figure in the history of the Scandinavian game.
Hansen came to Vegas from Oslo in the 1980s, joining the biggest poker games in town. Soon he had picked up a World Series bracelet - in the $5,000 seven-card stud event in 1988 - and was selected by the publishing icon Larry Flynt to play for him in games that only billionaires could afford. Flynt and Hansen began a lifelong friendship that endures to this day - and Hansen became an icon both in Vegas and back in the wintry lands.
Hansen has stories that can take you through the night, into the next morning, past lunch and through sunset again before they get anywhere near to being boring. Hansen knew (and backed) Stuey Ungar; he is still best friends with Eric Drache; he has scaled heights and plumbed depths that would make any of the new breed of so-called "degens" go running back to their mommies.
Frequently winning vast sums and then frequently broke a few days later, Hansen is the original source of one of the most oft-repeated poker quotes of them all. After winning close to a million dollars in a major tournament, Hansen was asked what he would do with the money.
"I'll pay off a few debts," Hansen said.
"What will you do with the rest?"
"Oh, they'll have to wait."
This week in Vegas, Hansen is a PokerStars qualifier to the Main Event. This time he didn't need the backing of any of his friends in high places: all it took was a $33 investment in a $11 re-buy satellite on PokerStars. He's also not being followed by creditors. Instead, a Norwegian journalist named Roy Kvatningen is hanging with Hansen, preparing to write his biography.
This post is merely a prologue to what I hope will be a long story on PokerStars Blog this week. Currently sitting with about 50,000, Hansen has promised us a few minutes of his precious time if he makes it deeper.
Or hours. Or days. We're all ears.
STRENGTH-TO-STRENGTH OF THE HOUR
Ever since Marcin Horecki lamented a horrible start to his day 1C (see "One of Those Days of the Hour") to PokerStars Blog, he has gone only one way: upwards. He now has more than 120,000 and is flying.
STATISTICS OF THE HOUR
Number of WSOP Main Event players who will cash: 747
Amount paid to 747th place: $19,624
QUALIFIER OF THE HOUR
Juan Naranjo, who has moved up north of 130,000 in today's early action. Look for more on Naranjo in our next post.
TWEET OF THE HOUR
Marcel Luske: "there is always a reason 4things,, busted from the main,back in the bellagio,like being home earlyer than expected..lol gl 2 the survivers"