PokerStars 10th Anniversary Review: Isildur1, out of the shadows
He had lit up the online poker world by seemingly coming from nowhere to play the nosebleed stakes cash games, enduring wild swings along the way by winning or losing in the biggest pots poker had seen. But what was also remarkable was that Isildur1 was an enigma. Quite simply, no-one knew who on earth he (or she) was. There were rumours, of course, but a lot of it was fuelled by over-enthusiastic forum chatter.
If that speculation was reaching fever pitch, it went into meltdown when, in December 2010, PokerStars announced it was signing up Isildur1 as a member of the prestigious Team PokerStars Pro. But being a bit of a tease, PokerStars still did not reveal the player's real identity. Not yet, anyway. That was to come at the PCA in January this year, when the online phenom was unmasked as Viktor Blom.
At a special unveiling, he was introduced to the tournament floor and the poker world got its first glimpse of the online terror. He was Swedish, he was young (born in 1990), he had long fair hair, and he was not afraid to get his money in the middle. In an interview just hours before this 'ceremony', he spoke with my colleague Brad Willis, revealing he had first deposited $2,000 and had spun it up to $2 million within just three weeks.
Since then, Isildur1 has played the biggest PokerStars cash games, and also embarked on a series of special SuperStar Showdowns, where he would take on an opponent heads-up across a number of tables, with a specified amount on the line and a required total number of hands to play. One of Blom's victims was none other than Daniel Negreanu.
Sometimes it was bloody. Negreanu was felted for $150,000 in 1,439 hands.
Since copping to his identity, Blom has now become one of the most recognised players on the live circuit. He's got just one decent live score so far - $51,000 for coming 16th in the WSOPE main event in 2010. But if he can start transferring some of his online success to live tournaments, the results could start flowing.
"I will always try to play against the toughest opponents. I always want to improve my game and I like the thrill and the challenge in a really tough game," he explained. You have been warned.
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We are publishing these daily review articles throughout November as PokerStars gears up to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.
PokerStars and charity
Daniel Negreanu, poker star
Liv Boeree, winner
Rocking all over the world
The Selbst Factor
Milestones to go before we sleep
World Cup of Poker
The Bear Necessities
SCOOP, hold the front page
Slaying the EPT monkey
When two cards just won't do
ElkY, one name says it all
Going live at the PCA
It's a bling thing
Online wizards cast their spell
The EPT circus
Making world champions