He was likeable, respectful and respected and a “brilliant” poker player. Now, after a six-year battle with cancer, the Norwegian “Godfather of Poker” has passed away at 71 years of age.
Thor Hansen was a regular on the poker scene for decades. He was a multi-title holder, having taken down two WSOP events and a number of other popular tournaments, including some at various tournaments such as the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, the LA Poker Classic, the Legends of Poker, California State Poker Championship, the Carnivale of Poker and the Festa al Lago Classic.
His first WSOP bracelet came when he won the $5,000 Seven Card Stud event in 1988, for which he was awarded $158,000. He added his second in 2002 when he took down the $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event for $62,600. By the time he stepped away from the tables for good, he had racked up almost $3 million in live-action tournaments, according to Hendon Mob.
Despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer six years ago, he showed everyone that he wasn’t going to give up. He had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer that then spread to his lungs and was only expected to live a few more months. However, always the man in charge, he continued to play—and win—and recorded his latest cash at the Norwegian Open this past March.
His passing was the subject of the poker community on Twitter. Sean McCormack tweeted, “When I worked @BellagioPoker I remember Thor Hansen coming in and treating every player and staff member with the utmost respect. They don’t make many like him with such grace and class playing the game we all love. RIP sir.”
Barny Boatman chimed in, as well, stating, “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.”
Despite his long and successful career, Hansen never made it into the Poker Hall of Fame. He was a nominee in 2012, 2013 and 2017, but couldn’t make the final cut. Hopefully, that error will now be corrected posthumously.