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Thor Hansen: Poker legend and the Godfather of Norwegian Poker has passed away

59   //    13 Dec 2018, 15:11 IST

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The Godfather of Norwegian Poker, Thor Hansen passed away from cancer on the 4th of December and the world of poker has just not been the same ever since. He was 71 years old and was one of the pioneers for Scandinavian poker players heading to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker.

Hansen’s Story

Hansen was a traveler. And a true one. Even after his cancer diagnosis, he didn’t give up on his passion, continuing to be an ambassador for the game. Due to serious health implications, he had to stay closer to home in 2012, playing on the European Poker Tour and in Scandinavian championships. Hansen earned nearly $3 million and various other amounts we wouldn’t have even heard of.

You could say that Hansen was someone who introduced poker to Europe and the Scandinavian countries. His very first known earning was at the Grand Prix of Poker in January 1987. In 1988, Hansen won the first of two World Series of Poker bracelets by taking down the $5000 Seven Card Stud event that year. He went on to win two bracelets, cashed in 55 events and earned over $1.2 million over the duration of 38 glorious years.

Paying tribute to the Godfather

Tributes to Hansen, no doubt have been flowing on social media as freely as one of Hansen’s many stories from the great man himself. Leading in an event, a reporter asked him what he would do with the money if he won. Hansen said that he would pay off a few debts. The reporter then asked what he would do with the rest and Hansen deadpanned, “They’ll just have to wait.”

Nolan Dalla who crossed paths with Hansen hundreds, if not thousands of times, in Las Vegas called him a wonderful man. “I know Thor would love this story, it was posted by Padraig Parkinson, his spiritual twin from Ireland. As many know, Thor battled cancer for several years. Although weak, he always seemed to fight it and was in as good a spirits as one could be under the circumstances. Thor never once moaned or complained. Not once. Anyway, Padraig speculated on what gave Thor such vitality being able to battle dreaded cancer for so long. Padraig surmised…'it must have been playing a short stack in so many tournaments over the years.' Funny. Thor is laughing somewhere hearing that wisecrack,” Nolan related.

British poker star Barny Boatman tweeted, “Thor Hansen was that rarest of things, an international treasure. Let’s let his family and friend know how much we all feel the loss of this lovely man.”

Hansen is deserving of a place in the Poker Hall of Fame. He brought the game to a completely different part of the world and amazingly, they learned to love it as much as any American ever has but never as much as Hansen himself did.

While Hansen will be remembered for his poker prowess, he will also always have a place in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to have met him.

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