Gus Hansen, What Were You Thinking?

I have two children, four and six years old. They do and say some wacked-out stuff sometimes. Stuff that could never really result in anything positive. Like when my son decides he should mess with our dog’s face. Or when he wings his Hot Wheels cars across the family room in the general direction of the television. Or when my daughter eats a whole plate of doughnuts at Taco Mac two hours before dinner (well, that does have one positive, namely that she gets to eat doughnuts). Regardless of how absurd they get, though, they are still just kids. Most of the time, I just shake my head and let them carry on, learning their life lessons.

But then there’s Gus Hansen. Oh, Gus. You’re a grown man. But you just had to go ahead and tweet the following:

“If the ‘We hate Howard Lederer‘ group would hate on banks and insurance companies, I would have some sympathy- as it is- get a fu**ing grip.”

“Do people hate Howard Lederer because of evidence of foul play or because Daniel Negreanu and Jason Mercier tells everybody to hate him?”

I’m not going to bother delving into the validity of these statements. We all know how silly they are. But that’s neither here nor there. The travesty of it all is simply that they were made in the first place.

Gus Hansen was the first ambassador of the new incarnation of Full Tilt Poker. He is one of three sponsored pros of the once-presumed dead site. He is supposed to represent the company – a company, let’s not forget, that has an image problem the size of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man – with pride and respect. Instead, he antagonized 95 percent of his fans and his poker room’s potential customer base.

I get it, he was/is friends with Howard Lederer. He became a member of the elite Team Full Tilt at the World Series of Poker back in 2006, an association which probably made him a lot of money, so he holds Lederer in high regard for that. But holy crap. Know your audience, man. Understand that there is a reason that people don’t like Lederer and accept it.

And even if you don’t want to accept it, use some tact. Those tweets were unnecessarily aggressive and taunting. They insulted the intelligence of the poker community. What did he possibly think he could achieve with those? Was he going to change people’s minds about Lederer? Not that way he wasn’t.

Let’s just say he’s right, that Lederer is just an easy target and that he really shouldn’t be the object of our scorn. Explain things to us intelligently. Tell us you understand where our anger comes from and show us why we’re misguided. Don’t curse at us and call us sheep. When I read those tweets, I facepalmed and shook my head, just like I do when my kids do something beyond adult reason. Nothing positive could have come from those tweets. I can’t believe he thought of those things to say, typed them out, and then decided it would be a fantastic idea to click that “Tweet” button. He should have heeded former NFL coach Herm Edwards’ advise: “DON’T PRESS SEND!”

Gus Hansen has been admired by boatloads of poker players and fans for years because of both his poker skill and the way he usually carries himself. I count myself as one of those fans. But did he ever drop the ball on this one. Just because you have the platform to say something doesn’t mean you have to say it. Think about what you are going to say and decide if it is really, truly a wise idea. Then think about it some more.

But hey, if your goal is to embarrass yourself and your company then by all means, fire away.

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One Comment


Gus, like many pros in this game, has a disconnect between himself and the rest of the poker world, and always has. Most poke players don’t understand how and why Gus has had the success he has. They see his ATC play from time to time as defying the odds and getting lucky. I see it as an astute player recognizing when he is “catching” and playing his rush. Gus, like many of the top players, has a hard time “empathizing,” with the average player. His thoughts are somewhere else. Greg Raymer, Cindy Violette, Daniel Negreanu and a few others seem able to make that connection; Gus, for whatever reason, cannot. So in his mind, the referenced tweet made sense, was necessary and appropriate. To our minds, it was unnecessary, inappropriate and condescending. Gus don’t get it and we don’t get Gus.

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