Arriving on the high stakes poker scene in 2009, the infamous online player known as “Isildur1” made a big name for himself by playing nearly any opponent on the poker site Full Tilt Poker. Known for his extreme aggression, Isildur1 took on the world’s best at both Pot-Limit Omaha and No-Limit Hold’em. Involved in the top ten biggest pots in online poker history, within a short three-month span Isildur1 certainly generated a ton of buzz in the online poker community.
Rumored to be the aggressive high stakes professional Viktor Blom, the similarities between the two players has certainly drawn a slew of spectulation. Both players hail from Sweden, which has been the biggest cause for comparison. They also both implement hyper-aggressive playing styles, which they’ve crafted into an unstoppable force on the poker felt. But despite their unique similarities, both players have disregarded all compatibility in the media, possibly in hopes of maintaining their anonymity.
In October of 2009, the online presence of Isildur1 was unavoidable. The mysterious Swede stepped into the poker scene willing and ready to take on all of the top pros in the game. Although it was said that Isildur1’s first true online appearance came much earlier in 2009, his honest roots are unknown. Regardless of origin however, Isildur1 began his superstardom by taking on Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius and Tom “durrrr” Dwan at the highest stakes available on the internet. Playing $500/$1000 No-Limit Hold’em, Isildur1 endured and exchanged several swingy six-figure sessions against both Antonius and Ivey, until he finally stumbled upon the play of Tom “durrrr” Dwan. Known at the time as one of the best pure online poker players on the planet, poker railbirds were sure that the online wonderkind would certainly step up to take down the newest “fish” to hit Full Tilt Poker’s high stakes tables.
While there was certainly a “fish” present during their heads-up No-Limit Hold’em sessions, it didn’t prove to be Isildur1. After playing Dwan for several days, Isildur1 finished his sessions up an astounding $5 million dollars. Dwan, stunned at the ability and good fortune of his opponent, not only ended his 2010 with a massive loss, but also by re-issuing his million-dollar challenge to the online player. But Dwan was only to be refused, and finished the year in the red for the first time in his career. It was after a win of this magnitude, that the entire online poker world began to pay attention to the new online moniker Isildur1.
Still willing to take on any challenger, Isildur1 finished his 2009 by playing several sessions against Cardrunners pros Cole South and Brian Townsend, Patrik Antonius, Phil Ivey and Phil Galfond.
Both Brian Townsend and Cole South sat with Isildur1 at both $200/$400 and $500/$1000 Pot-Limit Omaha. South and Townsend initially got the best of Isildur1 in these games, and managed to take the streaky Swede for over $1 million at the onset. However, it wasn’t long before Isildur1 got his revenge, when he later took both pros down individually for nearly $1 million.
These monsterous sessions only ended being the opening act for Isildur1 however, as the conclusion to his year proved to be a much bigger spectacle.
Isildur1 went on to play Patrik Antonius for several days at $500/$1000 Pot-Limit Omaha in mid-November 2009. With both players regularly sitting with over $200,000 in front of them, it was only a matter of time before we saw both the records for the biggest pot in online history and biggest win/loss margin in one day shattered by these competitors. Despite PLO not being one of Isildur1’s best games at the time, he still managed to pose a threat to nearly any opponent because of his unyielding aggression. Unfortunately the mysterious Swede lost over $3 million dollars in his first outings against Antonius, which at the time, stood as the largest one-day loss in the history of online poker. Fortunately enough, he regained $2 million from Antonius the following day at the same game. During play they also set the record for the single biggest pot ever played in online poker, at $1.35 million, which was won by Antonius during their competition.
Despite Isildur1’s propensity for ground-breaking performances, it wasn’t until he played against the Full Tilt and Cardrunners pro Brian Hastings in December that he received his big curtain call. Isildur1 and Hastings went on to arguably play the most epic heads-up session of online poker in history, when in just five hours of play Hastings took $4 million dollars from the unknown Swede. Raking in pot after pot, Hastings consistently dominated the aggressive foe, outplaying and out-flopping him regularly. Stunned at the turn of events, at the end of it all Isildur1 couldn’t believe what had occured. In fact, he was slightly skeptical to the validity of Hastings win, as he admitted in several interviews. Ultimately, he proved to be correct.
After Hastings’ incredible score, it was later announced that Brian Townsend and Cole South, two fellow Cardrunners instructors and also regular foes of Isildur1’s, had shared a compilation of hand-histories with Hastings prior to their epic heads-up session. It was after a deep investigation with the players, histories, and Full Tilt Poker’s rules and regulations of online safety that this was deemed a violation. Full Tilt Poker stated the infraction as “accessing or compiling information on other players beyond that which the user has personally observed through his or her own game play,” and Townsend ended up as the biggest scapegoat for the misconduct. Townsend was stripped of several privledges, including his red pro status on the site. Later, Townsend was also denounced as a member of Team Cardrunners. But despite the collusion, there was little to no validity in stripping Hastings of his monetary gain, and was allowed to keep all of his winnings.
After Isildur1’s massive downswing, he was sparsely seen on the poker site until February of 2010. Rumored to be broke because of his last contest against Hastings, Isildur1 managed to refrain from the spotlight until he was ready and confident to reappear for good.
Reestablishing his notoriety through several successful months of mid-stakes play, in early 2010 Isildur1 was back in action. He continued to play many of the biggest names, albeit this time at a much more sustainable level. He hasn’t really looked back since, and in late 2010 even was granted a lucrative sponsorship deal with the online site PokerStars.
Widely regarded as one of the toughest heads-up No-Limit Hold’em players in the world, his play landed him a huge starting opportunity on his newfound poker site. PokerStars immediately issued a “Superstar Showdown” for Isildur1, which included at least 2,500 hands of heads-up play against the pro, at a minimum of $50/$100 blinds. Similar to the “Durrrr Challenge” which was set in 2009, the play must be spread across four tables simultaneously, with the winner finishing ahead at the end of 2,500 hands or after garnering the sum of their opponents entire match bankroll. Unlike the challenge issued by Dwan however, there isn’t a sidebet being placed on who should end up victorious at the end of play. Several willing participants have already stepped up to take the challenge, and it should be interesting to see who’s to follow in the seemingly never-ending battle against the fearless Isildur1.
While Isildur1’s identity still remains a mystery, it shouldn’t be long until the Team PokerStars pro is forced to reveal his secret. With his recent sponsorship, most pros are required to take place in a number of live and televised events, and these conditions should be sure to help unveil who the mysterious Swede truly is.
Isildur1 currently plays on both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker until the same alias. He regularly plays No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha at stakes $25/$50 and higher.
Update: Viktor Blom came forward as Team PokerStars Pro Isildur1 during Day 1A of the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event.