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Poker Mourns the Passing of Thor Hansen

Thor Hansen

Norwegian poker legend Thor Hansen has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Hansen was 71-years-old.

Hansen was born in the Norwegian capital Oslo on June 23, 1947, but spent large parts of his later life in Las Vegas and California. Known as “The Godfather of Norwegian Poker,” Hansen was one of the pioneers for Scandinavian poker players heading to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker.

The Grand Prix of Poker in 1987 saw Hansen’s first recorded poker tournament cashes. Those first three cashes were all final table appearances; an eighth-place and two fourth-places that netted him a combined $108,990.

Two WSOP Titles

A year later, at the 1988 WSOP, Hansen cashed three times, including a victory in the $5,000 Seven-Card Stud event, securing the first of two coveted gold bracelets. Hansen would strike gold again at the 2002 WSOP when he triumphed in the $1,500 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event.

Perhaps Hansen’s best result in life was when he and Marcella Braswell married on Catalina Island, California in 1999. According to Norwegian poker website Poker.No, “Marcella became his girlfriend, his wife, and best friend.”

Braswell was by Hansen’s side in Jan. 2012 when doctors informed Hansen that he had cancer. The diagnosis was that the cancer was terminal, and that Hansen only had between three and four months to live. Hansen reportedly said that “it was fun while it lasted”, but Braswell stated, “It’s not over.”

She was correct because with her love and optimism and that of the international poker community, Hansen returned from the United States to his native Norway so Hansen could undergo treatment.

Amazingly, despite the poor prognosis, Hansen still managed to find the strength to play poker and do so with the trademark smile on his face, regaling epic stories about gambling feats and sometimes about smuggling, robbery, murder and even sex, all which he depicted in his book Usensurert (Uncensored.)

Third in the Norwegian All-Time Money List

Hansen last made an appearance at the WSOP in 2015 when he cashed five times.

More recently, he continued to support the Norwegian Poker Championships and made the final cash of a long and illustrious career in March of 2018 when he navigated his way into the money at the Norwegian Open in Dublin, taking his lifetime winnings from live poker tournaments to $2,949,644, placing him third in the Norwegian all-time money list.

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.

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.”

Nolan Dalla, who crossed paths with Hansen hundreds, if not thousands of times, in Las Vegas called him a wonderful man.

Tributes to Hansen will no doubt flow on social media as freely as one of Hansen’s many stories did from the great man himself. Take some time out of your day to look into the type of person Hansen was and read about how he touched the hearts of so many poker and non-poker players. You’ll be happy you did.

The thoughts of everyone at PokerNews and iBus Media go out to Hansen’s family and friends.

  • Thor Hansen, Norwegian poker legend, has passed away after a long battle with cancer, aged 71-years-old.

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