Norway’s poker Godfather Thor Hansen passes away
Norwegian veteran and ace poker player Thor Hansen passed away recently, at the age of 71, after a long struggle with terminal cancer.
Hansen was born in the capital city of Oslo, Norway on 23rd June 1947, but Las Vegas occupied a big part in his life. He was lovingly referred to as the 'Godfather' by Norwegian poker aficionados. Hansen was one of the first Scandinavian players flying to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
Hansen had quite a few similarities with his namesake Thor, the hammer-god in Old Norse mythology. He commanded respect and admiration from all the players in the room. He was almost always the oldest player in the room and had the aura of a grand old man and a revered coach.
Hansen saw his first recorded poker tournament cashes in 1987 at the Grand Prix of Poker. All the first three cashes were final table finishes, earning a good amount of $108,990, 30 years earlier.
A year further down his career line, he entered the 1988 WSOP, cashing out thrice, including a 1st place finish at the $5,000 Seven-Card Stud, which earned him the first WSOP gold bracelet of his life. Hansen would earn the bracelet again at the 2002 WSOP, triumphing in the $1,500 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball event.
The bad news hit Hansen in January of 2012, when doctors informed him that he had terminal cancer and that he had only 3-4 months to live. Hansen had reportedly said at that time, “It was fun while it lasted”, but his wife Marcella Braswell replied, “It’s not over.”
Overcoming such a big hurdle in his life, Hansen still managed to find inspiration to play poker and did so at various tournaments, with a stoic smile on his face, regaling epic stories about gambling, smuggling, robbery, murder and sex, all of which he penned down in his book Usensurert (Uncensored).
The whole poker world expressed its condolences on social media and other channels. British poker star Barny Boatman tweeted, “Thor Hansen was that rarest of things, an international treasure. Let’s let his family and friends know how much we all feel the loss of this lovely man.”
Nolan Dalla, another veteran of poker, who crossed paths with Hansen thousands of times in Las Vegas, also tweeted, “I just learned Thor Hansen, the great poker pro from Norway, has passed away. Thor was one of the kindest, most decent, most honest, most universally beloved players ever to play this game. I'm having trouble composing my thoughts. So many fond memories of this wonderful man.”
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