Bluff Europe Weekend Round-Up Special: The rise and fall of Isildur1
Monday, 23 November 2009
In the mythology of Lord of the Rings, Isildur was the King of Gondor and Arnor who cut the eponymous ring from the hand of the Dark Lord Sauron, becoming a hero before succumbing to its will and eventually dying a disgrace. In online poker, Isildur1 seems to be kind of the same package.
On October 23, the first of the now hundreds of Isildur1 posts was created at Two Plus Two, entitled simply “Who Is Isildur1 on Full Tilt?” The poster wrote:
“He played 6 tables HU $100/200 plo against Haseeb Qureshi yesterday and took him for some money and now he is 6-tabling Brian Hastings in nlh $200/400 and seems to be winning there also. His location say he is Swedish. I would guess its blom90.. Does anybody have a better guess?”
Apparently, no one does. Eleven pages and 1,020 posts later and still blom90 – a young high stakes player from Sweden – is anyone’s best guess. Barry Greenstein, in an recording of PokerRoad Radio, hinted that we may see more of him in the future but for now he is too young for live tournaments. The plot thickens…
Well, enough about him – how about his exploits? Isildur1 first came to the attention of Haseeb “INTERNETPOKERS” Quereshi “on Full Tilt around 25/50 NLHE. I don’t know who the first person he played was, but I remember hearing about him from some 25/50 grinders who had played him or had seen him around. The word was that Isildur was the new semireg on the block,” the CardRunners pro blogged.
Quereshi goes on to describe their first match: “About a week later I was sitting at tables without any action when Isildur showed up at one of my 25/50 NL tables. I was bored and willing to play anything, so when he offered to play 6 tables (although usually I max out at 4), I decided to take him up on his offer and play a serious NLHE HU match for the first time in a long while.
“As the match progressed, all of what I’d heard about him being hyperaggro and barrelly checked out, but as I watched the lines he took to bluff, valuebet, and the way he reacted to my betting patterns, he seemed uncannily perceptive. Nevertheless, within the first hour or so I had won about 30k and was feeling pretty confident.”
INTERNETPOKERS then writes how after a five-minute break he “started losing. Bad.
“There weren’t really any particular pots where I got badly outplayed, but before I knew it, due to beats coolers and him outmaneuvering me in a few spots, he was up 50k. 6-tabling 25/50 that’s not an unheard of swing to one opponent, so I asked him if he wanted to take it up to 50/100NL. He agreed, and we played a very short session there where I just repeatedly ran into the nuts – I thought I played well, but somehow he always had the best hand, despite his aggressiveness and how many big pots he was getting into. After losing 5 buyins at 50/100 I decided I’d had enough.”
Isildur1 soon moved up from $5,000 buy-in games and began to take on the big boys. An initial foray into the $200/$400 and $500/$1,000 stakes saw him lose almost a million dollars to the Full Tilt pros and other high stakes players. He was quickly forgotten – he took his shot, he had his chance, it’s over.
Not quite – less than a week later Isildur1 was found at the highest stakes tables again, playing six tables of heads-up NLHE and PLO at the highest stakes – all six were against Tom “durrr” Dwan and railbirds watched with bated breath. However, the result was most unexpected – Isildur1 earned $1.22m from the young poker king.
It was one of the most historic matches in online poker, but it continued – over the next three days, Isildur1 took on all comers and won $1.8m more in less than 20,000 hands.
The day after that three-day, $1.8m session, Isildur1 once again took on durrrr heads-up, this time clocking up a profit of almost $800,000. This continued the day after, with the Swede once again hammering the American into submission and coming back from a $1.7m loss to win $200,000 and taking his total winnings against durrrr to over $2.3m. Isildur1 played two further sessions with durrrr, winning $1.5m more before running into a certain Finnish player named Patrik Antonius.
When Isildur1 played Patrik Antonius at No-Limit Hold ‘em and Pot-Limit Omaha, the tide changed. Antonius knew Omaha was his stronger game and played much more extensively on those tables, eventually Isildur1 was so irritated by it he agreed to four tables of Omaha against the Finn.
In this session, Antonius singlehandedly won $2.7m from his fellow Scandinavian, including the – then – largest ever online pot at $789,000. Phil Ivey then emerged from the shadows, playing a short session against Isildur1 to earn over $800,000. Despite a million-dollar win against Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies, Isildur1 has continued to be ground down by Antonius and Ivey – despite being over $5,000,000 up at Full Tilt Poker a week ago and third on the 2009 money list, Isildur1 now has earnings in 2009 of just over $100,000.