At the Scandinavian Poker Awards ceremony last night, Thor Hansen was called upon to present the Rookie of the Year trophy to Peter Eastgate in a moment that spanned poker’s generation gap. Eastgate might be the youngest ever world champion, but he would probably never had had the opportunity even to compete had it not been for Hansen, the Norwegian veteran frequently referred to as the godfather of Scandinavian poker.
Hansen was one of the first to head to Vegas from these parts during the 1970s and 80s, and slide a beer glass into his hand even now and he’ll happily regale you with tales of playing against all the most revered of the old school guys — Brunson, Sexton, Slim, Moss, et al. — at games hosted by the notorious Larry Flynt.
He has two World Series bracelets from more than 40 cashes at the WSOP. Add to that a smattering of money finishes on the WPT, countless other major tournament victories, and you have one of the most respected talents in the game, one that was rewarded at last year’s poker awards with the lifetime achievement gong.
But for all his innate talents as a presenter, nurturer of young players and bar-room raconteur, Hansen is most comfortable with chips in his hands. And this evening he has more than 20,000 as we approach level seven, mostly profiting from an aces against kings coup, when all the chips went in pre-flop and the best hand stayed that way.
Previously he’d been on the receiving end of some vicious suck-outs on the EPT, most notably in Baden on season four when he was in great shape with only a handful of players before the money and kings in his hand against another player’s queens. But the ladies made runner-runner flush through turn and river to oust Hansen and deny him a major score in his home continent.
There’s still another two levels today and another day entirely before he can get close to securing some cash back home in Scandinavia. But for the moment Hansen is smiling. Watch and learn, folks.
Watch EPT Copenhagen s5: Kara and Thor (English) on PokerStars.tv