How to Play Like Gus Hansen Without Going Broke

Many players have seen Gus Hansen play poker on television where it appears that Gus plays every single hand. This super-loose aggressive style is extremely popular among players who want to be seen as loose cannons. The secret behind Gus’s style is that he almost always has a strong hand when the money starts going in the pot.

Since the beginning of Hansen’s poker career, he has often been called “the madman” by those players who believe him to be insane, who are not aware that by playing any hand, calling large bets with seemingly unplayable hands, and raising out of position with garbage holdings, Gus is actually behaving logically when analytically. Gus believes that his aggressive style is simply the right way to play the game, mathematically. He encourages beginners to realize that his style of poker requires constantly attacking one’s opponents, accumulating chips, and keeping track of pot odds and winning percentages, even as the blinds and antes increase.

Gus will often play as fearlessly against three opponents as he does against one, knowing that the players have to be as afraid of each other as they are of him. This type of recklessness is practically suicide in cash games, which is why Gus has found most of his success at tournament poker.

Though Gus frequently raises, he does not often move all-in. He tries to avoid it if possible, preceding to steer the action in the direction he wants. You cannot control the outcome of coin flips, but you can control whether or not you want to butt heads with the big stacks, punish the small stacks, or do a bit of both. Ideally, you will become chip leader early and stay there by continuing to accumulate chips. This way, you never have to face an all-in decision for the rest of the tournament.

Contrary to popular opinion, Gus rarely, if ever, bluffs. How is it that a player with is reputation for being one of the biggest bluffers in the game rarely bluffs? Either he has a good PR team or there is something else going on. It is far more likely that Gus has pulled off a single bluff or two, which were shown on TV, and, when people watch him play a loose aggressive style, they assume that he is frequently bluffing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Though Gus often bets the flop if no one has shown interest in the pot, and he sometimes takes stabs, he often bluffs fewer than five times in a whole tournament.

After reading this, most players should be convinced that Gus is not a wild card or a loose cannon. His methodical aggression keeps his opponents guessing about his holdings. When they guess wrong, Gus either takes down the pot or stacks them with a monster hand. Since Gus plays so loose, his monsters can be well disguised, like having the nut straight with 8-5s on a 4-6-7 board. It is this unpredictability combined with a strong ability to read hands that has brought Hansen some of the biggest tournament wins in poker history.

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