War and Peace. Atlas Shrugged. The director's cut of Dances with Wolves. Although it's not even debatable whether or not a human being could plow through the first two of those tomes in eight hours and fifty-six minutes, one could easily watch the latter twice, credits and all, in the time it took Isildur1 and Antanas "Tony G" Guoga to play 2,500 hands of poker on Sunday evening. The volatile, trash-talking Lithuanian was the second player to take a crack at poker's most notorious man of mystery in the SuperStar Showdown and the action that ensued was a virtual feast for the rail. If December's Isaac Haxton-Isildur1 battle was a bit methodical for your taste, this epic duel was a virtual orgy of three-barrel bluffs, 400 big blind all-ins, and nauseating swings. After all, this is the same man who wanted to buy Peter Eastgate's WSOP bracelet on eBay and fashion it into a collar for his beloved German Shepherd.
In the SuperStar Showdown, players commit to a single 2,500-hand session beginning on four tables with minimum stakes of $50/$100. Each table lasts for 625 hands and in this instance, Isildur1 and Tony G played two tables of no-limit hold'em (Tables 1 and 2) and two tables of pot-limit Omaha (Tables 3 and 4). Isildur1, as we all know, is an incredibly experienced multi-tabler who regularly plays long sessions. Tony G, not so much. Although he is quite seasoned when it comes to nosebleed-stakes cash games, unlike Isildur1's previous challenger Isaac Haxton, the name Tony G is not exactly synonymous with multi-tabling online heads-up matches. As a result, The G ended up timing out a bit more than the average bear during the early stages of the showdown.
It only took 12 minutes before we had our first all-in. Over on Table 4, Tony G six-bet shoved pre-flop holding A♦A♥J♦4♣ and Isildur1 looked him up with A♣Q♣T♦5♦. The G-man's aces held and he relieved Isildur1 of his first $10,000 buy-in. Less than a minute later they were all-in again, this time in a NLHE pot on Table 1. After a standard 3x raise from Isildur1 and a call from Tony G, they got it all-in on an 8♠7♠6♦ flop, the G holding 4♥5♣ for the bottom end of the straight and Isildur1 K♠9♠ for a flush draw. Isildur1 rivered a spade and raked in the $20,300 pot. Within the next ten minutes, Isildur1 won three more $20,000 all-in pots; in PLO he got it in with a set of nines and in NLHE he picked up pocket aces and pocket kings within seconds of each other on different tables. However, it didn't take Tony G too long to win those chips back. After getting full value from a set of deuces that boated up on the river in a NLHE hand, The G picked up K♣Q♣Q♥5♥ in PLO and after three-betting pre, check-raised Isildur1 with a juicy combo draw on the J♥T♠4♥ flop. Isildur1 reraised all-in and the G called, making a flush on the turn to take down the $23,400 pot. Less than a minute after that hand, Tony G flopped another set in PLO, doubling his 10k buy-in on Table 3 when Isildur1 shipped the turn with only top pair. Less than a minute after that, the G was all-in again, shoving $9,800 effective into a $3,600 pot when he turned two pair. Check it out for yourself:
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was just the first half-hour. As Tony G took his first 5-minute break, he was up $23,850 after 207 hands. One hour later, he had nearly doubled his profit. All-in with sixes against Isildur1's jacks in NLHE, the G flopped a six. All-in on a K♣Q♦7♠ flop in PLO, Isildur1 turned over top two pair only to watch the G show a set of sevens. Tony G just couldn't seem to lose an all-in and by 5:42pm EST, he was sitting on a $47,000 profit after 561 hands. It was time to pull out the needle.
Tony G: u feeling ok my man
Tony G: u getting owned by a total donk old man
Tony G: start pressing sme all in buttons boy
Tony G: are you even
Tony G: QUALIFIED
Tony G: are you COMI to this
(We think he meant "commitment" there at the end, since that and having "heart" comprises a good 80% of his schtick)
Then, as if on cue, the largest pot of the match thus far unfolded on Table 3. Playing PLO, Isildur1 opened for his standard 3x raise to $300 and Tony G called. Tony G check-called $500 on the K♣9♣2♦ flop, then led for $1,200 when the J♥ hit the turn. Isildur1 raised to $3,450, the G re-potted to $11,950, Isildur1 moved all-in for $22,100 and Tony G called, turning over Q♠T♦6♣5♣ for a king-high straight. Isildur1 showed A♦Q♦T♣9♣ for the same hand but hit his three-outer on the river with the Q♥ to make Broadway and take down the $45,800 pot.
Fifteen minutes later, an even larger confrontation developed over on Table 1 (NLHE). After a $300 raise pre-flop from Isildur1 and a call from Tony G, the G-man led out for $400 on the T♦9♠3♣ flop. Isildur1 raised to $1,300 and Tony G called. The turn came the 4♠ and the G checked to Isildur1, who bet $2,400. Tony G made a huge over-raise to $12,400, Isildur1 shipped his $29,800 stack in and the G called. His J♠8♠ made a straight on the river when the 7♥ fell and he collected the $49,300 pot. As the "scoreboard" flashed in the chat box revealing that Tony G was up $63,000 total, the needling went into overdrive. A choice sample:
Tony G: LOL
Tony G: u donk
Tony G: get a hand
Tony G: ure a farse
Tony G: tyhere ges another bank rlll down the drain
Tony G: LL
Tony G: i control u like a baby
As the clock inched toward 6:30pm EST, Isildur1's entire $150,000 challenge bankroll was spread across the four tables. Over on Table 1, however, his balance had dropped down to $5k and change. Since Isildur1 was unable to reload for a full stack, per the rules of the SuperStar Showdown, action on Table 1 was suspended after 266 hands and would resume after the first of the other three tables hit 625 hands. Our card-slinging gladiators were left with only one table of NLHE to go with the two tables of PLO.
Just as things started looking pretty ugly for our Scandinavian friend, Isildur1 started turning things around. By the time they crossed the 1,000-hand mark, Isildur1 had cut Tony G's lead to $22,900. Then in a three-hand sequence that spanned less than three minutes, Isildur1 entirely eroded Tony G's profits and was back in the black to the tune of $2,450. The largest of the three pots came in at $40,500 and was a head-scratcher for many on the rail, who wondered what Tony G could possibly be calling with here after Isildur1 turned his pocket tens into a bluff on an ugly board:
Tony G took a short break after that shellacking but still seemed steamed when he returned. On the second hand after he sat back down, the G called Isildur1's $900 pre-flop three-bet holding J♠6♦8♠5♦, then called another $1,400 on the Q♠3♠2♣ flop with his flush draw. The 8♣ on the turn gave him a pair and when Isildur1 checked, Tony G fired out $4,600. Isildur1 called, then check-called another $6,700 on the river when the K♣ fell. The G-man had nothing more than a pair of eights, Isildur1 taking down the $27,200 pot with A♦J♦K♥Q♥ for top two. Tony G had this to say after the hand.
Tony G: here he comes
Tony G: well done
Tony G: you are the best
For Tony G, however, the worst was yet to come. In a three-bet PLO pot, Isildur1 hit a set of sixes on a K♣6♣5♦ flop and all the money went in-- $34,200 apiece to be precise-- after Tony G four-bet shoved. Whatever draw the G held did not materialize (he did not elect to show his cards during all-ins unless he won them) and Isildur1 raked in the $70,200 pot bringing his total profits to $46,000. It took him only another 14 minutes to win an additional $31,000 and change, a nice chunk of it from this pot where he flopped top and bottom pair and got Tony G to commit his entire stack on the turn with middle pair and a gutshot:
Just past the halfway mark, Isildur1 was up over $77,000. With two large stacks comprising the vast majority of his $150,000 buy-in on the PLO tables, Tony G ended up down to only $6,414 on the remaining NLHE table. As he could no longer reload for a full stack, action on that table was also suspended, leaving only the two PLO tables running. This quirk in the official rules didn't go over too well with the railbirds who had action on Isildur1, as they believed his edge in the match came via the four-tabling element. And in the short term, they were right. Over the course of the next hour, Tony G cut Isildur1's lead to $43,150 before moving back into the black via an $85,000 pot. A pre-flop raising war broke out, ending with Tony G calling Isildur1's $5,400 five-bet. The rest of their stacks went in on the K♥4♥3♠ flop, Isildur1 leading out for $8,600, Tony G re-potting to $36,600, Isildur1 shoving for $37,250, and Tony G calling the small balance. Isildur1 showed A♠2♦T♣A♣ for an overpair while the G turned up A♥J♥J♣Q♥ for the nut flush draw. The 8♥ on the turn filled it for Tony G and he shipped the $85,200 pot, leaving him $12,200 to the good after 1,517 hands.
Although Tony G would have loved to finish out the match on two tables of PLO (and he requested to do so), it is against the rules. Isildur1 continued to pound away at the G, chipping away at his slim lead until the first six-figure pot of the SuperStar Showdown unfolded. Both players had over $60k apiece over on Table 3 when Isildur1 opened for $300. Tony G called and they saw a J♦7♣2♥ flop. The G led out for $600, Isildur1 raised to $2,400, Tony G three-bet to $7,800 and Isildur1 called. Tony G fired out another $16,200 when the 5♠ hit the turn and Isildur1 came along. The river was the 9♣ and Tony G pulled the trigger, moving all-in for $37,850. Isildur1 called, having him slightly covered. Tony's J♥7♦6♦6♣ for jacks and sevens was no good against Isildur1's jack-high straight with Q♣T♠9♥8♣ and Isildur1 raked in the $124,300 pot.
With that, Isildur1 took a $78,000 lead, but these two weren't about to start nitting it up. Tony G had only $7,970 remaining on Table 3 but doubled up twice to take that stack up to $30,480. Then, the G-man picked up this $57,000 pot with a set, taking them back to nearly even:
Following that hand, Isildur1 began to pick up some momentum and ground out another small lead before he found himself on the winning end of another six-figure pot. The money went in on the 4♥9♠3♦ flop and after the Q♦ hit the turn and the T♥ fell on the river, Isildur1 turned over K♠T♣9♥8♥ for two pair tens and nines. He took down the $103,660 pot, leaving the poker world to wonder what Tony G was three bet-shoving with in that spot. The G was down to the felt on Table 3 after that hand (he still had over $100k on Table 4), leaving only one PLO table running for the time being.
When 625 hands were finally completed on Table 4, Isildur1 held a $26,200 lead and the action resumed on the other three tables. Isildur1 and Tony G each bought back in for $10,000 on Tables 1 and 2 (NLHE) while Tony G elected to go for the 250 big blind maximum on the last remaining PLO table, loading up with $25,000. Although the action on Table 3 had been suspended, Isildur1 still had a $132,870 stack sitting there and was allowed to play it.
In an eerie replay of one of the key hands in the first SuperStar Showdown, Isildur1, like Isaac Haxton before him, got his entire stack in before the flop holding Q♣J♣ and ran straight into Tony G's pocket queens. This time, however, the queens held and Tony G doubled to $20,000 on Table 1. Over on Table 3, the PLO portion of the match was coming to a close and Tony G was in the mood to gamble, shoving $10,000 buy-ins around like they were nothing. Isildur1 picked up another $46,000 during this final flurry of action and Table 3 closed with Isildur1 sitting on a $178,870 stack.
Perhaps a bit embarrassed by his loosey-goosey play on those last few PLO hands, the G took to the chat window:
Tony G: i gambled up on the PLO
Tony G: fr all the people that had side bets
Tony G: well done u got this now
Tony G: it was clse
Tony G: my man
Tony G: your a real star
Tony G: congtrars
Isildur1: i got lucky in the big hands
Tony G: would have been nice fr it to be closer
Tony G: I played real bad PLO
Tony G: jus tnow
Tony G: just tried to get it close
Tony G;: fr the side bets
Tony G: although i had none mytself
As the match crossed the 2,000-hand mark, Isildur1 was up by more than $73,000. It was now all NLHE, all the time on only two tables. Although Tony G picked up a few pots to cut Isildur1's lead to $53,520, he decided to start ranting about the Showdown rules:
Tony G: these rules u made
Tony G: is an absolute insult t this contest
Tony G: just stupididy at the highest level
Tony G: how can ur stacks be like this
Tony G: best player won
Tony G: but sick joke t play when the fight is ver
Tony G: Im KO
Tony G: somebdy stop the fight
Tony G: this is purely unfair
Tony G: what a set up
Tony G: bad rules guys
Tony G: I know yu dont want this t happen
Tony G: and this is a great site
Tony G: but its bad
Tony G: when I put my hart ut
Tony G: and I cant win
Tony G: when a guy has no draw
Tony G: due t the msitakes f the rules
Tony G: total freak show nw
Tony G: i guess yu wanted this
Tony G: seems like total set up playign this with no shot t win
Tony G: for the side bets
Tony G: unfair t have new stacks
Tony G: been ripped of
Tony G: for side bets
Tony G: FARSE
Tony G: how we dont get old stacks back
By now, these two had been battling for more than 7 1/2 hours and Tony G appeared ready to gamble for it all. He won a $20,000 coinflip with deuces against A♠T♥, then shoved pre-flop with pocket sevens and saw them hold up to win another $21,400 pot. With 191 hands remaining, Isildur1's lead was cut to only $7,070 making it really anyone's game. By the time 625 hands were completed on Table 2, Isildur1 was up by more than $17,000 and again, Tony G was upset, as he had a far larger stack on Table 2 than he did on Table 1. But rules are rules.
Tony G: leave me on the small
Tony G: feels rigged
Tony G: i lost my big table'
Tony G: i cant use my finger
Tony G: what am I involved in here
Members of Team PokerStars Pro started popping up on the rail during the last 50 hands including Daniel Negreanu, Arnaud "frenchkiss" Mattern, Lex Veldhuis, Nacho Barbero, and David Williams, who made an astute observation that echoed our own thoughts:
dwilliams (TeamPro): they should make these turn up cards when both allin before flop
As the final few hands played out, Tony G was in madman mode, five-bet shoving (and then showing) hands like Q-2s and 9-2o. His hyper-aggression perfectly set up what would be the last major hand of the match, the G making yet another super-light five-bet shove with K♠6♠. Isildur1 double fist-pump snap-called with pocket kings, the board running out a safe 2♣8♠2♦9♣5♦ to give Isildur1 the $60,500 pot. Action essentially shut down after that, the two rivals trading blinds for the most part during the final 25 hands.
Isildur1: Gg, nice playing with u
Isildur1: u really did have heart
Isildur1: so close
Isildur1: cu guys
Tony G: all over
Tony G: I have been humilated
Tony G: well done
Tony G: let me go and look for my bike
Isildur1 finished $44,820 to the good, but the truly astonishing fact is that he earned nearly all of those profits in the PLO portion of the match. Isildur1 made a scant $500 at NLHE, picking up the other $44,320 in 1,250 hands of Omaha. Here's a look at the official results by table.
SuperStar Showdown #2 results - Isildur1 vs. Tony G
Isildur1 wins with $44,820 profit.
After 625 hands at table Showdown1 (NLHE), both players were even.
After 625 hands at table Showdown2 (NLHE), Isildur1 earned $500.00 profit.
After 625 hands at table Showdown3 (PLO), Isildur1 earned $158,470.00 profit.
After 625 hands at table Showdown4 (PLO), Tony G earned $114,150.00 profit.
Tonight's top 5 theories from the rail on Isildur1's identity: Edward James Olmos, Kathy Liebert, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Tilly, and NAPT passport winner Bobby "the Bus" Ferdinand from The PokerStars.net Big Game.