We like good stories in poker-land.  The kind of ‘human interest’ stories that make Hollywood producers go dewy-eyed at the knees.  Stories of bravery, derring-do, outrageous fortune and heart-breaking defeat. 

And looking at the main event in this week’s WSOPE, there seems to be one emerging. 

They were best of friends.  They came from the lands of the Vikings.  They both, er, play tennis - Danish Gus ‘The Great Dane’ Hansen and Patrik ‘The Black Lotus’

(© Bluff) Antonius, the Fin with the model looks and the big-game Kahoonas. 

Gus, known to poker fans the world over for his aggressive and supreme positional play (and unfairly afflicted with a reputation of going all-in with rags) sits atop the chip stacks, having passed the 400,000 mark.  On the featured table during the week, he made mincemeat of Greg Raymer and Ram Vaswani, putting the normally-placid American on tilt big-time. 

The Dane came into the WSOPE in good form, cashing in the WSOP main event in July and stormed the Aussie Millions in January, beating ‘Little’ Jimmy Fricke heads-up with a very un-Hansenlike A-A.  He bagged $1,192,919.  A firm fixture at major tournaments and TV events, the Full Tilt man would make a popular winner.

Coming hard on Gus’ heels in chip stackage is his good buddy Patrik.  A junior tennis champ, he considered a pro career before injuring his back and putting his tennis aspirations on hold permanently.   The young Patrik discovered poker, and more importantly, discovered that he could win. 

“I went to the casino in Helsinki and played my first ever tournament and won it.” says Patrik.  “That gave me inspiration – I never even knew you could play poker professionally.   But 2 years from then I started to make money.  Since then, I’ve never been broke.”

Now winning and losing amounts online bigger than most people’s mortgages, Patrik has joined the ranks of the world’s true greats.  And the tennis has resurfaced, if in a millionaire-gambler kinda way.   There’s news of a big-money tennis match between Patrik and Gus. 

“It’s 100% going on,” says Patrik.  “We have both agreed that we’re going to put in $200,000 each, but I’ve suggested bumping it up to $1 million - then you start getting the media interested.  More than likely it’ll be televised.  But with ourselves being so busy at the moment it’s very hard to practice.”   I wonder if American tennis star (and converted poker fiend) Andy Roddick might fancy a piece of the action.  Or will we see a sneaky Phil Ivey turn up to challenge the pair having secretly practiced for 6 weeks beforehand?  Watch out guys…