The World Series of Poker attracted a field of 6,737 this summer. But Gus Hansen (pictured) was not among those to put $10,000 on the line in the pursuit of the $8 million first prize.
The Danish poker playing legend has apparently quit the game. Few believed he would stick to his word, a bombshell he dropped on the Good Morning Denmark TV show in the spring, but his non-appearance at the fabled World Series seems to have confirmed he has quit the game.
For many years Hansen was a poster boy of the game and a folk-hero in his native country. Winner of a World Series bracelet and three World Poker Tour events, the 42-year-old has earned $10 million in live game winnings. And up until April 2011 he had also won $8 million playing online.
But then the downward spiral began. Heavy loss followed heavy loss and when he was last sighted playing high-stakes online poker, his lifetime losses on the Full Tilt poker site amounted to almost $21 million.
So how does someone so good become so bad? The reason is simple, it is the same reason as to why casinos online such as Sky Vegas no longer showcase poker alternatively encouraging online gamblers to play online slots and traditional casino games such as roulette and blackjack.
Hansen has not suddenly become a bad player, the opposition have simply become substantially better. By definition only the strong will survive in poker and while any player can win in the short term, when you have played 1.5 million hands like the ‘Great Dane’ did, the simple fact is the strong survive and prosper and the weak are eaten.
Forget the laws of averages, we are talking ‘rules of the jungle’ and that means online poker has become a very dangerous place, it is a tank full of piranha which will happily strip good players, not to mention recreational players, to the bone.
There’s no fun in rarely winning or losing money quickly. Even if you surrender your hard earned by calling the outcome of a 90-minute football match incorrectly at least you should have been entertained.
Likewise should you play casino games good old fashioned luck has an exceptional chance of smiling on you and invariably you will be playing whilst in profit at some stage or other.
Online slots, which have become increasingly popular in recent years, also have more to offer. With RTP’s (Return to Player) in excess of 95%, meaning for every £/€100 wagered £/€95+ is repaid to the player, a casual player with £/€50 to wager is near guaranteed of a lot of entertainment if playing for 25p/c per-spin.
And the best bit… Online slots with progressive jackpots offer the chance to win a life-changing sum of money.
Look, most of us are never going to win millions especially when playing for small stakes, but 15 years since online poker landed on the world and as Gus Hansen can testify, games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha are likely to send you broke in double quick time.