PCA 2012: So, what's Isildur1 doing TODAY?
When it came time to square up the table for nine-handed play, the dealer told Viktor "Isildur1" Blom he had to move directly in the center of the felt. It must be exactly how he's felt for the past 24 hours: at the center of the poker world. Known almost entirely for his nosebleed cash games, Blom showed everyone he had tournament chops as he defeated everyone in the PCA $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller event.
Famous among fans and infamous among the media for his reticence, Blom nearly escaped after his victory without saying a word. Instead, he gave a rare on-camera interview during which he said, in part, "It feels good to succeed."
Today one would expect every aspect of Blom's tournament game to be under close scrutiny. People would examine how he looks at his cards one at a time, immediately as he receives them; or how he seems so eager to fold out of the small blind; or how many times he check-calls an opponent out of position. Instead, it seems as if nobody is watching at all. Over the past couple of hours, we've learned this: there is nothing interesting about what is happening at Table 13, which could be one of the most interesting things about it.
It should be the most interesting tables in the room. After all, the mischievous hands of fate made sure the last two people to win the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller were at the same table. How it happened will be water cooler talk in the Official Office of Randomness. What it means is still something we're trying to figure out. What it is, without question, is the toughest table on Day 1B of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
Among the notables at the table: Eugene Katchalov, Viktor Blom, Noah Boeken, and Nick Schulman. How could it not be interesting?
Katchalov is last year's Super High Roller winner, a Team PokerStars Pro, the 2011 Bluff Magazine Player of the Year, and recently won his first WSOP bracelet.
Blom, also a Team Pro, might be the most famous high stakes poker player in Europe today. Just yesterday he won his first major tournament, which just happened to be the 2012 PCA Super High Roller for $1.25 million.
Boeken is Team PokerStars Pro and an EPT champion with dozens of major event cashes over his eight-year live poker career.
Schulman is a world-class pool player who started playing against adults at age 13. Also, for what it's worth, he has nearly five million in lifetime poker winnings.
Normally, this would be the table that had three TV cameras, three still cameras, five bloggers, two massage therapists, and 40 railbirds. Instead, for a great while today, there was only me (and then photographer Joe Giron who happened to appear, as usual, at just the right moment).
In all seriousness, how could this not be interesting?
Exhibit #1: Gadgets--Half the people playing at the table have allowed their faces to absorb into their iPhones, iPads, and related technology. For his part, Boeken is working with both an iPad and a Blackberry.
Exhibit #2: Headphones--Four of the players, most notably Blom, are blissed out on whatever music is pumping from their iPods into their heads via giant over-ear headphones.
Exhibit #3: The buy-in--98% of this room believes the $10,000 they put up for the buy-in is a lot of money. At least two of the people at Table 13 put up 10x that to play another event a couple of days ago.
Meanwhile, nobody at the table is speaking to each other. Blom is immersed in his music and looks frustrated with the current state of his stack (sub-15,000 at the moment). In fact, the only real excitement at the table came when David "Viffer" Peat showed up at the table to get Schulman's opinion on a recent $50,000 bet that involved the odds of a six appearing when a player squeezes a three-across...well, you know, it was really confusing and I'm going to get it wrong no matter how I type it. In any case, Viffer soon wandered off to get in some tense tête-à-tête with Greg DeBora.
The point is this: on Day 1B of a massive main event, even some of the most interesting players in the world are just trying to make sure their 30,000 stack doesn't turn to dust before Day 2.
Even Viktor Blom.
Update: Shortly after this was published, Blom's day ended unceremoniously. That is to say, we guess he'll have to settle for just that $1.25 million win.