Name: Ilari Sahamies
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Online Screen Names: Ziigmund (Full Tilt Poker and PowerPoker.com), Ilari_FIN (PokerStars), Dik Ahamo (Betfair)
Websites: Coinflip.com blog
Ilari Sahamies, well known in the online poker world by his screen name “Ziigmund”, is a high-stakes professional poker player who’s originally from Helsinki, Finland. The Finnish born poker celebrity has gained credibility from his peers by consistently beating some of the highest stakes poker games online. Often considered by many to be one of the top 10 best Pot-Limit Omaha players in the world, Sahamies displays a level of unmatched intuition when it comes to the game of poker.
Sahamies’ incredible success at competitive sport, you might say, came at a very early age. During a large part of his youth, he took part in many different competitive environments such as soccer, wrestling, and swimming. While those sports definitely provided many achievement awards for the teen, it truly wasn’t until Sahamies came across the sport of pool that he truly reached his potential. Once considered a top-class junior at the sport, Sahamies took two Finnish Junior Championship titles in billiards. Quite impressive.
While in high school, and still heavily involved with sports, the then 15 year-old Sahamies met one of his future mentors, Patrik Antonius. While playing a game of pool at a local pool hall, the well-established poker professional introduced Sahamies to the world of competitive card-playing. He took to the game easily, and after several sessions began playing regularly with his friends and peers. Despite being a losing player, the budding poker superstar continued with the game, and rebounded his losses rather quickly.
It was simple logic that eventually brought Sahamies to the golden doors of chance, at theGrand Casino in Helsinki. If he insisted on gaining back his losses, he would need to participate in larger stakes. He was determined to learn the nuances of the game by playing consistently against good opponents, and that he did. Although not in the best interest of his bankroll, after many days, hours, and months of playing poker Sahamies had walked away with nearly $100,000 in earnings. His fearless attitude had managed to bring him tremendous worth.
The outstanding poker talent is often criticized for his extreme aggressiveness. While he’s certainly managed to find a bit more balance in today’s poker games, early on in his career it often brought him just as many downswings as it has upswings.
In 2003, Sahamies deposited his bankroll across several different online sites, such as Party Poker and Poker Stars. Despite having moderate success early on, he eventually reached a downswing that forced him to reconsider strong bankroll management implementation. However, his swings soon became less frequent, and now plays in some of the largest cash games regularly, both live and online.
Never in fear of any opponents, Ilari Sahamies has taken place in some of the biggest live cash games in history, including those which take place in Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio and those that are witnessed around the globe on shows such as High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. Sahamies regularly receives invitations to large buy-in poker sessions because of his hilarious personality, and also his willingness to gamble provides spectators and players alike the opportunity for tons of entertainment.
The online player known as “Ziigmund”, is often characterized by his excessive banter and trash talk at the virtual felt. While even Sahamies will admit that most of his rants are purely for entertainment value, questions have always arose about Sahamies’ ability to control his “tilt”. Many of his opponents find, that although he’s an incredible talent, if you’re able to play against him when he’s tilting, he’s very beatable. Sahamies’ past also used to involve bouts in which he would participate in large online games intoxicated heavily with alcohol, but since losing extrenuous amounts of cash during those sittings, he quickly decided that was a losing proposition.
Nowadays, in order to protect most of his bankroll, Sahamies takes the appropriate measures to make sure no gambling occurs while he’s drinking. To say the least, it has greatly improved his bottom line. Nevertheless, Sahamies is still keen on gambling, and is known to be one of the most creative and gutsy prop-bettors in the poker community. Known to bet on things as simple as which water drop will fall to a window sill first, the Finnish icon has no fear when it comes to betting cash.
Despite a brief lapse between the struggles of partying and poker, Sahamies still maintains an outstanding social life. Known as one of the biggest celebrities in Finland, the poker star spends countless nights surrounded by beautiful women and plenty of fun. In fact, he’s even appeared in a rap video, sung by a local group named Uniikki, called “Pojat On Poikii.” The video can be viewed here.
Because of Sahamies’ popularity, he later co-founded the site Coinflip.com, which is where you will find Sahamies’ detailed blog of his poker swings and daily habits. He’s also managed to create the poker site PowerPoker.com, which features him as a sponsored pro of whom many players have the chance to participate against.
Despite a propensity for winning large amounts of cash at a time, Sahamies’ success has been meager in terms of the large buy-in tournament events. Although he has over six-figures in tournament earnings, his lack of participation with tournament play certainly hinders his winnings.
His current tournament earnings exceed $327,000.
You can find Ilari Sahamies playing under the name “Ziigmund” on both Full Tilt Poker and PowerPoker.com.