Those looking for further proof that poker is a skill game will find ample evidence this week as the 2012 Aussie Millions gets under way in Melbourne, Australia.
Traditionally one of the winter getaways for northern hemisphere players looking for some sunshine, the series, which starts today with the main event beginning on Sunday, has in the past been won by some of thegame’s most complex talents, players who have consistently captured headlines with their results around the globe. None more so than Gus Hansen.
Hansen, who was among those taking part in the IFP World Championships last November, and who serves on the IFP Advisory Panel, was already something of a legend prior to winning the Aussie Millions main event back in 2007.
Famously ambivalent about his talent, which would at times defy both odds and conventional poker logic, The ‘Great Dane’ has the capacity to make this complex game appear easy; every scrap metal starting hand turned into gold.
It all seemed entirely random, until Hansen wrote Every Hand Revealed, an account of his Aussie Millions victory which explained not only why he had taken to playing tournaments equipped with a Dictaphone with which to make notes, but also the thinking behind quite literally every hand played on his way to victory.
Hansen explained his thought process regarding his own hand, but also on how he picked up, with almost Holmesian flair, the smallest weaknesses in opponents, enough to quip him with a ruthless advantage to exploit. The book has since become a classic in poker circles.
Hansen followed up his win with a World Series of Poker Europe bracelet in 2010. His devil-may-care approach to the game has alwaysbeen obvious – he once claimed to be uninterested in the trinkets of poker success – but the WSOP win served as further proof of Hansen’s prowess and longevity in a constantly evolving game.
Hansen is not the only former winner to have turned success in Melbourne into an instructional guide to beating the best (and worst) players in the world. Lee Nelson, who won the event in 2006, went on to write Kill Phil, with the follow up Kill ElkY proving popular as an instructional tome. For those looking to learn how the minds of some of the best players in the game work, Aussie Millions winners seem to be a good place to start.
This year’s Aussie Millions will be as hotly contested as those in years past, with hundreds of players expected to arrive at the Crown Casino today as festivities begin. The poker world is sure to get a new champion to laud, and who knows, with ‘luck’ another inside account of what it’s like to be among the best players of this most intricate of Mind Sports.