There are few poker fanatics that don’t appreciate the absolutely insane hands that Gus Hansen and Viktor Blom have been involved in over the years due to their unique and ‘crazy’ playing style.
However, it seems that Full Tilt is headed in a different direction with their sponsored pros lately, which started by letting go Tom Dwan earlier in 2014.
After Hansen’s and Blom’s contracts expired in mid-October, Full Tilt opted not to renew them.
Before you get worried about never seeing Hansen or Blom play online poker again, don’t worry, they’re still around. In fact, Blom won a massive $261K pot just a few days after being let go from the pro team.
A Look at Hansen’s Online Career
Gus leaves the Full Tilt team after losing approximately $20 million during his time. This has earned him the title of one of the most losing online poker professionals of all time.
Hansen is known for his wild playing style and playing a wide variety of games. Despite his outrageous online losings, Hansen is still respected overall in the poker world, largely due to his endurance as a player at the highest level and his 3 WPT titles, along with 1 WSOP bracelet.
A Look at Viktor Blom: AKA ‘Isildur1′
Blom took the poker world by storm in 2009, eventually being signed by PokerStars in the following year. The amazing thing was, that for almost everyone in the poker world, no one knew that it was Blom playing as Isildur1 on PokerStars and Full Tilt.
While professionals lined up to get their shot at the crazy-playing ‘fish’ at first, they soon learned that he might have been better than initial stats indicated.
Blom moved over to Full Tilt and joined their team of pros late in 2012. He finishes his sponsorship deal with net losings of approximately $3M on Full Tilt.
The Future of Online Professionals
It seems that both major sites owned by the Rational Group, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, are moving away from the professional branding that they have used so extensively in the past.
Both sites are trimming down their list of sponsored professionals, perhaps in an attempt to shift their player recruiting strategy.
Remember that until recently, the two poker giants competed against each other. There was always a heated competition to sign the best and most popular professionals in the game. Once combined however, there aren’t many other sites that have the funds to sponsor professionals at this level.
It’s possible that it’s just not worth it on both sides of the deal to continue these types of sponsorship deals.
Wherever online poker and its high stakes professionals is heading, don’t worry, there will always be action at the top of the game to give you the thrill of watching hundreds of thousands of dollars being won and lost in single hands.