Gus Hansen joins Team Winamax

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Pioneering an ultra-aggressive style, the charismatic Dane was one of poker's first global superstars. Now he's back with a team worthy of his talents. Welcome to Team W, Gus!

Gus Hansen joins Team Winamax "Um... Is that the real Gus Hansen there?"

This phrase, dropped by Bruno "Kool Shen" Lopes in the middle of the videoconference during which Team Winamax players saw their new teammate's face appear on their screens, perfectly summed up the general reaction within the squad. Back at the office, two weeks earlier, we'd greeted coach Stéphane Matheu's email with similar incredulity. And many of you probably gasped when you read the headline above.

Gus Hansen is joining Team Winamax. That’s right: the real Gus Hansen. The one from High Stakes Poker, the one from Full Tilt's heyday. Holder of three World Poker Tour titles acquired in less than two years from the very birth of the circuit, WSOP champion, and hero of the 2007 Aussie Millions, an epic feat later recounted in the best-selling book Every Hand Revealed. A key figure in the world's biggest cash games, whether online or in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio. The pioneer of an ultra-aggressive style of play ahead of its time, which allowed him go head-to-head with the likes of Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Chip Reese and the rest of the all-time greats. One of poker's first true superstars, at a time when Texas Hold'em had begun to invade TV screens the world over. In short: a charismatic character, who made thousands of us around the world want to play.

Gus Hansen joins Team Winamax Let us just reiterate: Gus Hansen, the one and only, joins Team Winamax. He'll be joining us in Marrakech for SISMIX and in Bratislava for the WPO, and also on some Winamax Poker Tour stages. He'll be on the hunt for another bracelet at the World Series of Poker this summer in Las Vegas. And before that, he'll be making his official Team W debut on Monday, on the European Poker Tour stage in Monte Carlo. Unbelievable, isn't it?

Perhaps not so much, in truth. Behind the scenes, it was quite natural that this big deal came together. A long-standing friendship, a resurgence of old desires, and the perfect timing: it was a done deal.

A natural fit

In December 2023, Gus made his first live tournament appearance in four years. More or less retired from official competitions after returning to his native Copenhagen and discovering the joys of fatherhood, the Dane had nonetheless accepted the World Poker Tour's invitation to play the end of the year's must-attend event, the WPT World Championship held at the Wynn. The matchmaker between Gus and the WPT brand was a certain Stéphane Matheu. It's only logical: the two have remained close since the time they both lived in Las Vegas and played tennis on a regular basis. It was the mid-2000s: Gus' stardom was on the rise, and through him, Stéphane was soon to discover a poker scene that had so far been unknown to him.

"I'd like to be part of Team Winamax!". So said Gus during that famous WPT World Championship, in an interview for Poker52 magazine where his joy at returning to the pro circuit was palpable. Words obviously not falling on deaf ears. That same evening, we cornered Gus to ask him, basically: are you serious? For real?? Answer: yes, he was serious. The next day, our Inside the Mind of a Pro film crew turned their cameras on him for his Day 2 on the Main Event. A shoot which was unfortunately not fruitful - Gus still being Gus, he busted out a bit too soon - but never mind: the seed had been planted. And we can now assure you: fresh episodes of your favourite poker show featuring Gus Hansen will indeed see the light some day soon... 

Gus Hansen joins Team Winamax
"With Stéphane, we always talked about the possibility of working together", Gus told us in a video interview, the full version of which will be posted online on Friday. "The possibility has always floated in the air. It's been many years now since Stéphane joined Team Winamax, while I've taken a bit of a back seat. I had a son and all that, and then I started playing poker again. I played a tournament in Las Vegas in December. Team Winamax was there, and Stéphane and I put the idea back on the table. We thought it might be the right time. All the lights were green." 

For Stéphane Matheu, the satisfaction of recruiting a true poker legend doubles as the pleasure of coming full circle twenty years later. "For me, this has a lot of meaning. Gus is the person who introduced me to the world of poker twenty years ago. I knew nothing about it! Everyone's come a long way: it's pretty crazy to think that today he's joining the team I've been supervising for fourteen years."

"There's no need to introduce Gus, he's a legend," Stéphane continues. "He's someone who's been around since the beginning of the modern poker era." Pierre Calamusa says no different. "It's pretty incredible, and it makes me feel very weird. If you compare with players like Adrian, Joao, they're legends, but they're my age, and when I started playing they weren't at the top yet. Gus was already at the top when I discovered poker, he's on the same legendary level as your Negreanu's, your Ivey's, your Matusow's, the whole Full Tilt era. Today, he's going to be my team-mate, which is great fun! And it's an honor, too. I can't wait to share moments with him... but also to take him on!"

There’s always been a good feeling between Team Winamax and Gus Hansen, which will now materialize into a real collaboration, which we hope will be enriching for everyone. "Your book Every Hand Revealed was one of the first I read when I started in poker, it was exceptional": these were Adrian Mateos' first words to his new teammate. For his part, Gus merely repeated the choice words he already heaped on us a few months ago: "I think Team Winamax is quite simply the best team in the world."

Is the best yet to come?

Gus Hansen joins Team Winamax
But enough compliments, even if they are reciprocal. With Gus Hansen, Team Winamax is not acquiring a Hendon Mob sheet, a Wikipedia bio, neither a dusty museum piece. No, we're more interested in what's to come. "He's going to bring his experience and a different perspective," predicts Stéphane. "At Winamax, we like to do things in a slightly offbeat way, and Gus is someone who approaches things differently from your average Joe, with a unique perspective. He pushes you to see things in a different way. And that's great when you're looking to exchange ideas, as we are with the Team. As for his part, after revolutionizing poker at one period in time, he'll be able to catch up with the most successful players today."

A player like no other, with a personality like no other: it's impossible not to dribble at the thought of what's to come with Gus teaming up with other great talents of his generation (at random: Davidi), those who have followed him to the top (Adrian, Joao, Mustapha) and those who are well on the way to imitating him (Alexane). We're also looking forward to seeing him get back into the swing of major pro competitions. We're already wondering whether he'll be as good at beer-pong as he is at tennis. And we can already imagine the queues waiting to challenge him in heads-up action at the launch of the next Winamax Poker Tour.

In the meantime, our new Team Pro will be making his debut with his new team at the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event on Monday. Stay tuned!

Bio: find out more about Gus Hansen

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Benjo DiMeo

"Money ain't got no owners, only spenders."

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