Introducing the poker world to Isaac Haxton is a bit like introducing Hollywood to Johnny Depp. Haxton is as much of a veteran of the online poker community as anybody in the modern age. He's among the most feared competitors in both the live and online realms. There isn't a serious player in the game today who doesn't know the guy they call "Ike."
Today, Haxton brought his reputation (and his cash) to the stables of Team PokerStars Online. The announcement came this morning as part of the end of a Guess Who contest hosted by Team Online.
Haxton was more than a little happy to put the big red spade on his sleeve.
"I'm not just playing for myself. I'm representing a team and a brand," Haxton said. "That brings new opportunities and also new responsibilities."
Here was his full announcement.
We first met Haxton in 2007. He sat behind a table at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, his face framed by long hair, his eyes hidden behind a pair of sunglasses. At the time, we likened him to online's poker's lizard king. He proved to be much more than that.
That year, Haxton ran over the PCA field, making the final table, and eventually finishing runner-up to Ryan Daut. From there Haxton built a reputation and bankroll that is envied all over the poker community.
"Ike Haxton is one of online poker's greatest ambassadors, and he chose to sign with Team Online because he has always believed in PokerStars as a great poker company," said PokerStars' Team Online manager Dustin Iannotti. "I'm thrilled to have him on the team."
While always an online pro at heart, Haxton's live record is staggering. In just the past six years, he's racked up more than $4 million in live winnings. Included in the haul:
That's just a smattering of what Haxton has banked over the years in big public events. It says nothing of his prowess in the high stakes cash games live and online.
What's more, no one will forget that Haxton was the very first person to face (and beat) Viktor Blom in the SuperStar Showdowns.
While Blom may have moved on, Haxton doesn't appear to be finished with the idea of nose-bleed games. Today, he hinted at something that could be coming soon at PokerStars.
"I can't give you full details just yet, but we're going to have a very cool high stakes heads-up no-limit event coming soon," Haxton said.
Imagine that. Nearly six years ago, Haxton was a near-anonymous face in the PCA crowd. Today, he stands among the top online nose-bleeders and heads-up specialists in the game. It's going to be fun to see where things go from here.
For now, let's leave it at this: welcome to the team, Ike. It feels like you've been here for years.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging