SuperStar Showdown: Blom out to a $198,438 lead over Haxton in million-dollar match
A lot of you thought it was too good to be true and the timing far too suspect. A million-dollar SuperStar Showdown on April Fools' weekend? Isaac Haxton and Viktor Blom playing $200/$400 no-limit hold'em for four hours a day until one felted the other? Surely we'd all tune in and wait with bated breath only to experience the sort of epic RickRoll only PokerStars could dream up. But this was really happening. Isaac Haxton, thus far the only man to come out ahead in the 13 runnings of the SuperStar Showdown, was ready to up the stakes again, but with a few format tweaks. This time, there is no hand cap. The blinds are four times larger than a standard SuperStar Showdown. And the only way this thing can end is when one man has a million dollars in front of him.
Today's first session went a long way toward Viktor Blom reaching that goal. After a volatile, dramatic four hours that saw them plow through 1,901 hands, Blom laid claim to $198,438 of Haxton' $500,000 challenge bankroll.
HOUR ONE: HAXTON GRINDS OUT A $44,000 LEAD
These two Showdown vets wasted no time getting their money in the middle. The fourth hand dealt on table 2 saw Haxton open for his standard min-raise to $800 with A♥A♦, Blom coming along with 6♥7♦. Blom check-called $928 with bottom pair on the T♠9♠6♦ flop, then hit trips on the turn when the 6♣ fell. Blom checked, Haxton fired $2,280 with his overpair and Blom smooth-called. The A♠ on the river was the perfect card for Haxton and the worst one possible for Blom, who continued with his slow-play and checked. Haxton bet $12,000, Blom shipped for $35,992 and Haxton snap-called, taking down the $80,000 pot with aces full.
Blom won most of those lost chips back only six hands later on the same table. After check-calling Haxton's flop and turn bets, Blom went for a check-raise to $24,600 on the river with the board reading 3♥6♣3♣8♣T♦. Haxton called and Blom turned over K♣Q♣ to take down the $58,480 pot with a king-high flush.
After a splashy start, Haxton and Blom settled into a small-ball grind, going 47 minutes without playing a pot over 50BB. Haxton held a $13,000 lead over Blom when he picked up pocket jacks and three-bet to $4,200 preflop behind Blom's 3x raise. Blom called and they saw a 3♦8♦8♥ flop. Haxton check-called $4,800, then check-called another $8,400 when the 6♣ hit the turn. Blom thought better of firing a third bullet on the 2♥ river and checked behind Haxton, his J♣J♦ good for the $34,800 pot. With 500 hands in the books, Haxton led by a $44,203 margin.
HOUR TWO: THE DOUBLE DIP
A wild quarter-hour saw Haxton double his lead, Blom erase it entirely and Haxton edge back into the black. Haxton caught extremely lucky after getting $48,200 in the middle preflop with J♥J♦ against Q♠Q♣, the board four-flushing in diamonds to snag him the $96,400 pot. With Haxton up by $79,419 after 549 hands, Blom attacked like a wounded animal, winning $108,000 within the next five minutes. First, he pushed Haxton out of a $31,200 pot with a river shove. Then, he went to war on the turn in this $40,400 pot, earning another fold from Haxton.
Moments later, Haxton called Blom's preflop three-bet, then called another $4,000 on the Q♥J♦5♠ flop. Blom checked when the 8♥ hit the turn, leading Haxton to take an $8,000 stab at the pot. Blom came back wtih a $42,496 shove and Haxton gave up his hand, Blom raking in the $30,400 pot without a showdown. In less than a hundred hands, Blom went from nearly $80k in the hole to a $28,509 profit.
Back-to-back monster pots on table 4 saw Blom win $99,232 when his K♦K♠ held up against A♦K♥, only to lose $80,000 back on the next deal when Haxton flopped quad sevens and Blom turned aces full. A series of mid-size pots saw Haxton make his way back into the black to the tune of $17,000, but Blom quickly put an end to that when he rivered a straight and Haxton called his shove:
With Blom back in the lead by more than $30,000, Haxton six-bet shoved preflop with pocket tens, only to run into Blom's pocket queens. Haxton couldn't pull off another underpair magic trick and Blom moved out to a $71,000 overall lead. Two hands later on the same table, Haxton fired three bullets with ace high on a Q♦5♦4♣J♣9♦ board. Blom made a river soul-read and called with only a pair of fives, taking down the $25,840 pot.
Blom's lead inched past the six-figure mark over the next half-hour, topping out at $102,405 after 947 hands. Haxton finally stopped the bleeding when he got Blom to fold the river in two major pots, the largest of them this $57,600 hand where Blom bet $20,000 on the river only to fold for $12,000 more:
Blom's lead now cut in half, Haxton erased it entirely when he won the first six-figure pot of the match. A five-bet shove with pocket fives turned into a $103,616 coinflip when Blom called with A♠Q♦. And as Haxton raked in the pot, a couple of his friends-- Will "molswi47" Molson and Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo, couldn't help but pipe in from the rail:
molswi47 (observer): classic ike
molswi47 (observer): lol
molswi47 (observer): 3bet to 5bet baby pair
philivey2694: hi molswi!
molswi47 (observer): :) hello
ZeeJustin (observer): sup yo
philivey2694: hi zj
molswi47 (observer): think i might have learned that one from u
HOUR THREE: BLOM BRINGS THE HEAT
As the clock struck nine in Europe, Haxton held the slimmest of leads at $7,187 with 1,000 hands played. And just as one $100k pot was awarded, another developed, Blom opening for a 3x raise with Q♦7♠ and Haxton calling with 8♣9♣. The Q♠7♣2♣ flop ensured big action, Blom hitting top two pair and Haxton a flush draw. Haxton check-raised to $6,400 and Blom called, the J♥ on the turn bringing Haxton four more outs with a straight draw. Haxton bet $11,400 and Blom called. Haxton hit his flush with the A♣ on the river and went for a value-shove, Blom calling off the $31,728 he had behind. However, only seven hands later on the same table, Blom got nearly all of it back when he shoved a K♥9♣6♠ flop with K♦5♦ and Haxton called with pocket tens.
One hand after raking in that $80,000 pot, Blom worked his wizardry and took down this $98k monster without a showdown:
Blom's rally continued with an $86,000 coinflip, his pocket eights flopping a set against Haxton's A♦Q♠. The hand put Blom out to a $117,000 lead and although Haxton erased nearly half of it, Blom struck back and ended the third hour with $101,983 profit after 1,444 hands.
HOUR FOUR: BLOM HALTS IKE'S COMEBACK
If there's anyone who knows how to climb out of a $100k hole against Blom, it's Haxton. He did just that in their last meeting, finishing up their 2,500 hands with a little over $5,000 profit. At double the stakes it could even take half the time, and Haxton got off to a solid start, check-caling Blom's flop and turn bets on a K♥3♣2♦2♥ board. The A♣ on the river froze both players, and Haxton turned over J♠J♦ to take down the $48,000 pot. Moments later, Haxton turned sevens full and raked in another $17,600, but his surge came to an abrupt halt when he picked the wrong time to bluff.
Holding 7♠T♠, Blom opened for a 3x raise. Haxton called with A♠6♣ and they saw a Q♦6♠5♠ flop. Haxton checked middle pair, Blom bet $2,000 with his flush draw and Haxton called. The 3♦ turn gave Blom additional outs with a gutshot straight draw and he maintained his aggression, betting another $5,600 when Haxton checked a second time. Again, Haxton called. The 4♠ on the river filled Blom's flush, and Haxton left the door open for another bet, checking a third time. Blom bet $20,000 and Haxton came over the top with a $99,720 shove. Blom thought it through for a moment and called, Haxton's second pair up in smoke. Blom dragged the largest pot of the match at $143,128 and expanded his overall lead to $157,939 after 1,495 hands.
Haxton could not catch a break over the next half-hour, Blom's profits reaching a high-water mark of $255,000. Haxton's entire challenge bankroll was spread over the four tables, and after busting off table 2, he was forced to split his table 3 stack. With less than ten minutes left to play, Haxton made two huge calls and was right in both instances. Blom tried to bluff the river with a busted straight draw, firing $15,000 at a T♥7♣5♦3♣K♥ board with 2♦4♥. Haxton called with a pair of sevens and took down the $43,920 pot. A short time later, Blom pulled his signature move, the river overbet, but Haxton looked him up despite a dangerous board:
With less than a minute to play, Blom's lead stood at $227,216, but the final hand turned out to be a doozy. Haxton opened for $800, Blom three-bet to $3,200 and Haxton called. Blom check-called $4,224 on the K♠Q♦4♠ flop and another $9,799 on the 5♦ turn. When the 9♦ hit the river, Blom shoved and Haxton called, turning over K♣K♦ for top set. Blom could only show a busted flush draw with 7♠8♠ and Haxton claimed the $88,100 pot.
With 1,901 hands in the books, Blom is off to a strong start with a $198,438 lead, but this match is by no means over. Tune in tomorrow at 1pm ET for another four hours of heart-pounding action as Haxton attempts to turn around his five buy-in deficit.
We'll see you on the rail.