HAN-SOME VICTORY FOR GUS AS HE WINS HIGH ROLLERS HEADS UP WSOP CHAMPIONSHIP.

September 26, 2010 - 08:40:44 PM EST  | 

HAN-SOME VICTORY FOR GUS AS HE WINS HIGH ROLLERS HEADS UP WSOP CHAMPIONSHIP.
2010 World Series of Poker Europe
Casino at the Empire
London, UK

Official Report
Event #4
No-Limit Hold’em High-Roller Heads-Up Championship
Buy-In:  ₤10,000
Number of Entries:  103
Total Net Prize Pool:  ₤1,030,000
Number of Places Paid:  16
First Place Prize:  ₤288,409
September 21-23, 2010


TOURNAMENT HEADLINES

The Great Dane Conquers WSOP Europe

Here’s the Heads-Up:  Gus Hansen Wins!

Iconic Poker Superstar Finally Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Hundreds Cheer Danish Poker Pro to Victory 

Jim Collopy, a.k.a. “Mr. Big Queso” Falls Just Short in First WSOP Final Table Appearance

Big Turnout at First High Roller Heads-Up Championship in London

OVERVIEW

Everyone knew international poker superstar Gus Hansen would eventually win a WSOP gold bracelet.  The question was not a matter of "if," but rather of "when." 
 
"When" has turned into "now."
Hansen finally fittingly filled the one glaring void on what otherwise is a stellar poker resume by conquering one of the toughest fields in tournament poker.  "The Great Dane," aptly named since he's originally from Denmark, won the ₤10,000 buy-in High-Roller No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up Championship, the fourth title event held this year at WSOP Europe in London.  He earned ₤288,409 for first place, equal to about $451,880.  Hansen was also presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Hansen is a 36-year-old professional poker player who has achieved near iconic status within the game, despite the omission of at least one amulet representing poker's most important achievement.  He was up to this point, arguably the most popular and successful player in poker never to have won a WSOP title -- despite winning millions of dollars in other tournaments and playing for stratospheric stakes in many of the biggest cash games in the world.  All that changed when the king baller from Monaco won the final best-of-three heads-up series in front of a packed house cheering a long overdue and well-deserved victory.
Indeed, Hansen had to wait even longer for his victory than one might have expected.  The final table was interrupted and delayed two additional days, a WSOP first, because the initial stages of the heads-up match ran so long.  Hansen became embroiled in a vicious struggle with Jim Collopy for the title, and when both players drew even at 1-1 in match wins, everyone agreed to suspend play.
 
The £10,000 buy-in WSOP Europe Main Event interrupted what had been an epic back and forth heads-up struggle between two outstanding players at polar opposites on the poker spectrum.  Collopy, no stranger to playing in high-stakes online poker games, nonetheless was playing at his first live final table.  Meanwhile, Hansen was well accustomed to the limelight, appearing regularly in virtually all of poker’s highest profile events.  Both players entered the Main Event, and once eliminated, the Heads-Up finale was scheduled. 
 
The third and decisive match was held on Sunday night on the Main Stage.  An event that was not previously scheduled for television attracted the royal treatment from an ESPN film crew, on hand to broadcast the Main Event.  The atmosphere resembled a championship prize fight as the players entered the ring and took seats at the final table.
 
It took Hansen about 3 hours to vanquish his final opponent in the match.  The key hand of the match took place when Hansen made a full house (deuces full of jacks) against Collopy's trip jacks (ace kicker).  That swung the advantage decisively in Hansen's favor and he closed out the victory about an hour later.
 
Hansen had to survive a dangerous tournament path which was laden with proverbial land mines disguised as poker players.  The danger spots included each of seven rounds of heads-up matches.  He overcame a formidable succession of opponents, including Max Steinburg, Mark Everett, Phil Ivey, Neil Channing, Andrew Feldman and finally Jim Collopy.
 
Collopy, a.k.a. "Mr. Big Queso," originally from Washington, DC and now residing in London, took second place, worth £178,211 (approximately $279,406 USD).  
 
The three-day tournament was played at Casino at the Empire in central London.  This was the fourth of five events scheduled this year at the World Series of Poker Europe.  
 
The total prize pool amounted to ₤1,030,000, making it the first non-Main Event tournament to exceed the million-pound mark at WSOP Europe.  The top 16 finishers collected prize money.  Among those who cashed were Ram Vaswani, Daniel Negreanu, Huck Seed, Howard Lederer, and Phil Ivey.
 
For more information about the WSOP and WSOP Europe, please click HERE.

THE WINNER

The winner of the ₤10,000 buy-in High-Roller No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up tournament (WSOP Europe Event #4) is Gus Hansen.  He currently resides in Monte Carlo, Monaco. 

Hansen is a 36-year-old professional poker player.  He is known as “The Great Dane.”

Hansen was born in the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark.  However, he has lived in New York City, Santa Cruz, CA, Las Vegas and (currently) Monte Carlo.

Hansen speaks three languages fluently – Danish, English and German.

Hansen is an avid recreational sportsman.  He played tennis competitively while in school and won a number of major youth tournaments.

Hansen initially became interested in poker through another game – backgammon.  Ten years ago, he frequented the top backgammon clubs in New York City and played for high stakes. 

Hansen previously attended the University of California at Santa Cruz.  He began playing poker seriously in several California card clubs.

Hansen is close friends with many top poker pros.  One of his closest friends is Huck Seed.  After Seed won the 1996 Main Event, Hansen was motivated to visit Las Vegas every year and play in the WSOP.  He has been competing each year since.

Hansen is also close friends with Phil Laak, a.k.a. “the Unabomber.”  Their relationship dates back to days when both were sharing an apartment in New York, and were playing in various gaming clubs.  Interestingly, Laak finally won his first gold bracelet this year at WSOP Europe (Event #1).  Three events later, Hansen finally won his first WSOP title.

Hansen shares another similarity with Laak.  Both players had bodily injuries at the time of their victory.  Hansen has been hobbling around on crutches the past two months with his leg in a cast, due to a several Achilles tendon injury.  Laak broke his arm in a motor accident about the same time.  Nevertheless, both players came to London this year and won WSOP gold bracelets.

Hansen is a near iconic figure in many poker circles.  He lives a jet-set lifestyle and is constantly on the move to many of the world’s most interesting places.  He has been featured on the cover of most poker magazines and is one of the game’s most popular players.

Hansen appears frequently on various television shows, including High Stakes Poker and Late Night Poker.  

Hansen has won and lost more than a million dollars several times during his poker career.  He plays for the highest stakes in the world, both online and in cash games.    

For all his success as a poker player -- having won a number of other major tournament titles and millions in cash games -- Hansen had never fared well at the WSOP.  Other than finishing in the WSOP Main Event a few times, Hansen’s WSOP record was relatively unimpressive for someone with his poker talent combined with the fact he had previously entered so many tournaments.  However, Hansen has said repeatedly that he sometimes finds it distracting to play in poker tournaments when the cash games wait with potentially more lucrative riches.  Nevertheless, when Hansen is at the top of his game, he is widely-acknowledged to be one of the most difficult adversaries for anyone in the game.

Hansen is the author of a poker strategy book called “Every Hand Revealed.”  The book is a narrative description of Hansen’s line of thought when he is dealt different hands at various stages of a tournament. The book was critically acclaimed and, according to Hansen, made it more difficult for him in later tournaments and cash games since his opponents essentially had a primer into his thought process.  

With this victory, Hansen now has 1 win, 2 final table appearances and 7 cashes at the WSOP.  His career WSOP earnings now total $898,513.

Hansen’s favorite poker games to play are Omaha High-Low Split and Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better.

A few years ago, Hansen was voted as one of the “100 Sexiest Men Alive” by People magazine. 

For the purposes of official record-keeping, Hansen is to be identified as a Danish player.

WINNER QUOTES 

On his feelings immediately after winning a WSOP gold bracelet:  “Every poker tournament that I enter, I try to play at my highest level.  I always try to win.  At the World Series of Poker, there is so much tradition.  It’s been going on since Doyle Brunson was just a little kid.  I was around for some of it and have been a part of that group.  So, to finally come here and win this gold bracelet feels very special.”   

On being (previously) thought of as one of poker’s best players not to have won the gold bracelet:  “Well, winning this now means that people can stop talking about me being the best player not to win a bracelet (laughing).”

On winning his gold bracelet in a heads-up format:  “I’ve been around the block for a couple of years.  But nowadays, there are a lot of younger people playing poker on the Internet.  A lot of them are what I would call ‘specialists.’  They play one game only.  They play multiple tables.  They play it many hours and they get very good at it.  Some of them, that’s all they do is to play No-Limit Hold’em and some of them play nothing else but heads-up.  They ram and jam and ram and jam -- and they see so many hands.  So, I was a little bit surprised to do as well with such a tough field, including many Internet heads-up specialists.  I certainly felt that I could hold my own.  But, there are so many good players here, that I guess you could say I was happily surprised to win.”

On playing poker now versus when he first started ten years ago:  “It’s a very tough environment.  It’s just super, super competitive.”

On his book “Every Hand Revealed” and how it affected his results:  “I think it made it tougher for me.  People seem to pick up on more things now.  They never know what I have.”  

On the series of matches that led to his first victory:  “I was very happy with my performance throughout this tournament.  I think the toughest match for me was obviously against Phil Ivey.  I was very lucky to beat him.  That was my worst match of all that I played.”

On the best-of-three matches against the runner-up Jim Collopy:  “I was very impressed with his play.  Right from the go he adjusted after the first two matches.  I give all the credit to him for adjusting after those matches.” 

On having a cast and being on crutches and its possible affect on the outcome:  “It doesn’t matter really.  I normally can stay focused at the poker table no matter what the situation.  But I think it takes more away having to have my leg up, where it gets uncomfortable for a while.  But it did not affect my game, I don’t think.”

On finally joining many of his peers who have already won gold bracelets:  “I don’t think anyone ever ridiculed me for not winning a gold bracelet.  But, if there is anyone I am going to call, it’s probably Phil Laak.  I am going to say, ‘It’s good to join you in the club.”

On his plans later after the victory:  “Well, it’s been a very long day.  I will probably get something to eat.  And then, go and get a good night’s rest.”
 
On his future plans and goals:  “I’m not sure what’s next.  But I feel I can still hold my own for a couple of years.”

THE FINAL TABLE 

For the purposes of WSOP record-keeping, the final table is comprised of only the final two players.

The final table contained no former WSOP gold bracelet winners. 

Two different nations were represented at the final table – including Denmark and the United States. 

The heads-up format was a best two-of-three series.  The winner was required to win two heads-up matches.  The final score was 2-1 in favor of Hansen.

Match 1 was played on Thursday evening and was won by Hansen.  He won the final hand of the match holding   [9h versus    .  The final board showed          , giving Collopy a pair of eights, while Hansen had a pair of nines.  The first match lasted about 3 hours and 30 minutes.
 
Match 2 also took place on Thursday night (which eventually became Friday morning) and was won by Collopy, who staged a dramatic comeback.  Hansen had Collopy all-in multiple times.  He had Collopy outchipped by more than 4 to 1 at one point.  But Collopy won every key race in the match and managed to draw even with Hansen at 1-1.  Collopy won when he was dealt     versus Hansen’s    .  All the chips went into the pot.  Just when it appeared Hansen would take a big chip lead, the flop brought a nine, giving Collopy a set, the game and the match.  The final board showed          .  The second match lasted more than five hours.

For the first time in WSOP history, the final table was unintentionally delayed more than a day. The final table was interrupted and delayed two additional days because the initial stages of the heads-up match ran much longer than expected.  When both players drew even at 1-1 in match wins, everyone agreed to suspend play.  The £10,000 buy-in WSOP Europe Main Event interrupted what had been an epic back and forth heads-up struggle.  Both players entered the Main Event, and once eliminated, the Heads-Up finale was scheduled.  The third and decisive match was held on a Sunday night on the Main Stage at Casino at the Empire.   

An event that was not previously scheduled for television attracted the royal treatment from an ESPN film crew, on hand to broadcast the Main Event.  The atmosphere resembled a championship prize fight as the players entered the ring and took seats at the final table.

Match 3 was the deciding contest for the gold bracelet.  It was played on Sunday night.  The third match lasted nearly four hours.  Perhaps the most critical hand occurred when Hansen won a huge pot with a full house (deuces full of jacks) against Collopy’s trip jacks.  There were two jacks on board and Collopy had A-J.  Unfortunately, Hansen turned a set of deuces which dragged the biggest post of the match.

On the final hand, Collopy was dealt K-4 and moved all in.  Hansen was dealt 4-4 and called.  The small pair held up and Hansen won the tournament.

Gus Hansen defeated the following players in succession:  (1) Bye, (2) Max Steinburg, (3) Mark Everett, (4) Phil Ivey, (5) Neil Channing, (6) Andrew Feldman, (7) Jim Collopy    

The runner up was Jim Collopy, a.k.a. "Mr. Big Queso.”  He is originally from Washington, DC and now resides in London.  He took second place, worth £178,211 (approximately $279,406 USD).  Collopy is a 21-year-old college student attending New York University.  He is majoring in economics.  Collopy cashed in this year’s WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas.

Before losing the final match, Jim Collopy defeated the following players in succession:  (1) Bye, (2) John Racener, (3) Scott Fischman, (4) Martin Kabrhel, (5) Huck Seed, (6) Ram Vaswani, (7) Defeated by Gus Hansen
 
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

There were several former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event – including Ram Vaswani, Daniel Negreanu, Huck Seed, Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey. 

With his cash in this tournament, Daniel Negreanu now has 48 career in-the-money finishes at the WSOP, which ranks 11th on the all-time list.

Huck Seed made it to the quarterfinals (Round of 8), but was eliminated.  Nevertheless, the 1996 world champion has an amazing heads-up record.  In all major head-up tournaments he has played (WSOP events and NBC Heads Up Championships), his combined career record is now 31 wins and 9 losses.

Howard Lederer continues to be a bridesmaid at WSOP Europe.  The two-time gold bracelet winner made final tables in both 2008 and 2009, but failed to get his third victory.  He took a wicked beat heads-up against Huck Seed in the Round of 16.  Lederer lost holding K-Q to Seed’s K-J, when a jack flopped.

There was no defending champion from 2009 since this was a first-time event.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the fourth of five events on the 2010 WSOP Europe schedule.  It is the 61st gold bracelet event played in 2010, when combined with the 57 events which took place in Las Vegas, held a few months ago.

This is the first year that a heads-up event has been part of the WSOP Europe schedule.

The similar Heads-Up event held this year in Las Vegas with a $10,000 buy-in was won by Ayaz Mahmood, from Sugarland, TX.

The £1,030,000 prize pool in this event established a new WSOP Europe record.  For the first time ever, a non-Main Event tournament at WSOP Europe exceeded the million-pound prize mark.  This is quite impressive, given the host casino has a limited number of tournament tables and seats and can only accommodate a fixed number of participants.

This is the 888th gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history. Note: This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 15 gold bracelets awarded at WSOP Europe, to date. 

In the 41-year history of the WSOP, the total combined amount of prize money that has been awarded amounts to $1,231,188,694. 

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony will take place at Casino at the Empire on Tuesday, September 28th at approximately noon.  It will occur just prior to the start of the WSOP Europe Main Event final table.  The entire presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

THE TOURNAMENT 

The ₤10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 103 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to ₤1,030,000.  The top 16 finishers collected prize money.

The tournament initially attracted a star-studded field of 103 of the world’s best poker players.  Among them were four past world champions – including Phil Hellmuth (1989), Huck Seed (1996), Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2000), and Carlos Morstensen (2001).  There were also 23 former gold bracelet winners in the field, holding a combined 71 WSOP titles between them.

In order to cash, a player was required to survive the first three rounds of heads-up matches.  There were only 16 players who finished in-the-money.

In order to win, the player was required to survive seven rounds of heads-up matches.

The tournament was originally intended to be played over three consecutive days.  However, it actually stretched out to five days due to the unplanned delay. 

Levels were 20 minutes long on Day 1, 30 minutes long on Day 2 and 40 minutes long on Day 3.  Players began the tournament with 30,000 in chips and then each got the equal amount of chips as their opponent in successive rounds. 

Since there were an odd number of players that did not conform to the exact number of entrants required to a perfect bracket system, 25 players were given a first round bye.  Byes were determined by a random draw.

One of the most interesting Round 1 matches was Huck Seed playing Vanessa Rousso.  This was a repeat of the 2009 NBC Heads-Up Championship.  The outcome was a repeat, as well, with Seed earning the victory.

The tournament officially began at 5 pm on Tuesday, September 21st.  The tournament officially ended on Sunday, September 26th at 9:45 pm (London time).

MORE ABOUT WSOP EUROPE

The overall numbers from WSOP Europe are up from last year.  Although five events were played in 2010 -- up from four in 2009 -- the total prize pool increased, even when omitting the new Heads-Up event which was introduced this year.  The total amount of prize money awarded in 2010 amounts to £6,282,000.  Note that a 2010 to 2009 comparison shows that £5,252,000 was awarded for four events (omitting this year's Heads-Up championship, a new addition to the schedule) versus £5,113,000 last year.

This is the fourth year of WSOP Europe.  All events have been played at Casino at the Empire, located in Leicester Square in Central London.  There have now been 15 gold bracelet events held in the U.K.

Casino at the Empire has a poker room which regularly hosts cash games and tournaments.  Due to the size of the WSOP, the tournament area was expanded to include about half of the available casino floor space.  This year, there are 34 active poker tables available for use at WSOP Europe – the largest ever.



 
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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer


About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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