6 Dec

A Fond Farewell to Poker Pro Thor Hansen

The professional poker world says goodbye to Norway’s most beloved poker player, Thor Hansen.

Thor Hansen the Godfather of Norwegian Poker Passes at 71

If you’ve never heard the name Thor Hansen, you either know nothing of poker, or you haven’t done nearly enough research. He’s right up there with the legendary likes of Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese and Stu Ungar—“Stuey”, as Thor used to call him. After moving to the west coast in his 20’s, Hanson played alongside these elite pros of yesteryear for decades, earning their respect as surely as they earned his.

Born in Oslo, Norway in 1947, Thor got his first taste of gambling visiting the racetrack when he was just 7 years old. A few years later, he was making money at the pool tables. His older brother played poker, and on one occasion, Thor went along to watch. When his brother took a restroom break, Thor sat in for him. By the time his brother returned, he had made so much money that he knew he would play poker for the rest of his life.

And so he did…

Beginning of a Versatile Poker Career

It was the 1980s, and finding a poker game in Oslo wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Hansen knew Vegas was the best place for him, and so he moved halfway across the world to follow his dream. It was a tough training ground, recalled Thor in an interview in 2014, where playing at all meant competing against the world’s best players. That’s how he met Brunson, Reese, and his dear friend “Stuey” Ungar, who Hansen believes to be the best player who ever lived.

In 1988, Thor scored his first title, winning a WSOP bracelet in the $5k 7-Card Stud event. He scooped another bracelet in a 2002 WSOP Lowball event. In 2006, just missed his third bracelet, finishing 2nd to Scott Clements in $3k Omaha H/L. He also finished 134th in the 2005 WSOP Championship Main Event, rounding out 46 career WSOP event cashes worth over $1.16 million.

Throughout the years, Thor proved he could play, and play well, under a wide range of pressures and circumstances. In the 1990s, he was crushing Seven Card Stud in California. He put such a hurting on the famous Larry Flint, the founder of Hustler hired him to play in his games. From this unique background, he had no trouble transitioning to online poker in his 50s and 60s, where Thor collected a SCOOP and WCOOP title on PokerStars.

The Doctors were Wrong…

2012 could have been a devastating year for Thor Hansen. That was the year doctors told him that his previously diagnosed colorectal cancer had spread to his lungs. They determined that he had just months to live. But Thor had no such plans of dying.

He sought expert medical treatment and spent the next six years playing poker., just as he’d always done. He cashed in more than two dozen live events between 2012 and 2017, and countless more online. His final payday came in March 2018 at the Irish Poker Open & Norwegian Championship in Dublin, where he finished in 98th place for €1,985.

Fond Farewell to Godfather of Norwegian Poker

Thor Herald Hansen passed away on December 5, 2018 at the age of 71. Everyone who’s anyone in the poker world is feeling the sorrow of his loss; many of which are expressing their grief on social media.

Phil Hellmuth said, “Poker lost a great human being, and a great player…

Nolan Dolla remembers Thor as, “one of the kindest, most decent, most honest, most universally beloved players ever to play this game.

Mike Sexton names him among “the most respected, most beloved poker players in history,” who “never berated dealers, never criticized other players, & never whined about bad beats.

Others are calling him “the kindest man”, a “wonderful friend”, an “international treasure”, and “an absolute legend of the game”. The compliments just keep pouring in…

After being nominated to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2012, 2013, and again in 2017, I have a strong feeling that his name will pop up again come summer 2019. Considering the overwhelming outcry of love he’s receiving from the poker community since his passing, I’d be willing to make a large prop bet he’ll finally earn a spot at that esteemed table come July.

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