Thursday, December 10, 2009

Out of This World: The Isildur1 Saga Continues

That's a lot of cabbageSo Brian Hastings, a senior at Cornell University, is trying to study for finals right now. I understand he’s having a hard time concentrating. Why? Word is he had a decent session at the online tables night before last.

How decent? Try about $4.2 million up. Sometimes taking a study break can be most beneficial.

That gargantuan session by Hastings thus provides us with the latest jaw-dropping chapter of the continuing adventures of Isildur1. Hastings won that big countryside-sized field of cabbage -- $4,206,964.19 to be exact (according to -- in 2,867 hands of $500/$1,000 heads-up pot-limit Omaha versus the ever-ready Isildur1. Meanwhile Isildur1, having won earlier in the day versus jungleman12 (~$471,000) and Brian Townsend (~$722,000), ended December 8 down a total of $3,013,361.19 (in a little under 10,000 hands played).

That rivals Isildur1’s day back on Saturday, November 21 when he dropped around $3.3 million to Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey, also at $500/$1,000 PLO. That was the day of the still-record $1,356,946.50 pot Isildur1 lost to Antonius. Still not as bad as his worst day when he dropped over $5 million, though.

Speculation about Isildur1’s identity has continued over the past couple of weeks, with no final revelation having been made as yet. On November 26, Tony G posted on his blog that Isildur1 was in fact the young Swedish player Viktor Blom. Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies also addressed Isildur1 as “Viktor” in chat during one of their sessions, which most took as further confirmation the player was Blom.

However, soon (on December 1) we heard news in a Bluff Europe piece that Blom was denying he was Isildur1. The next day another story popped up saying that the fellow issuing the denial was in fact a different person, a fellow named Victor Blom (with a “c”) who happens to live in the same Swedish town as the poker pro.

Hard to know, then, which of the stories to believe. Some have speculated that it would be in Blom’s interest to deny being pegged as Isildur1 because of a severe tax situation in Sweden. Gotta think the longer this plays out, the greater the chance we’ll finally learn once and for all.

Hastings wrote a lengthy post on his CardRunners blog that talks a bit about the session, though mostly just tries to place the day in the larger context of his life and career. Others who have played Isildur1 are talking, too, including Patrik Antonius, who recently was interviewed by Phil Gordon over on the Full Tilt Poker Academy site.

Phil Gordon interviews Patrik Antonius about Isildur1“He’s a very interesting opponent,” says Antonius near the start of the 18-minute interview, adding that he’s “very dangerous” because of his penchant for aggression, his desire always to play deep, and the way he constantly “wants to make big decisions all the time,” thereby always keeping the game at an intense level. Like Tony G does in his post, Antonius judges Isildur1 to be a talented player, and the Finnish stud especially marvels at the way Isildur1 seems always to make decisions especially fast, even when playing 6-8 tables at a time versus multiple opponents.

Gordon asks Antonius about bankroll management with regard to this $500/$1,000 PLO game, and Antonius explains that in truth “there are different rules for bankroll management when it comes to very good players.” There are also different rules, it seems, when dealing with stakes this high. The fact is, no one has the $300-$500 million Antonius suggests would be needed to play in such a game where one can lose a milly in a half-hour, or $3 million (or more) in a single day. So, in essence, for everyone playing the game it is “all like taking shots” -- something good players can handle much more readily than lesser skilled players.

At the end of the interview Gordon asks Antonius again about Isildur1’s remaining anonymous, and whether that gives him any advantage. Not anymore, says Antonius. Even though Isildur1 can apparently mix up his game quite effectively, by now he’s played so many hands he’s become more of a known quantity than he was when he first appeared a few weeks back.

According to, Isildur1 is now more than $1.5 million down overall. That’s after having peaked at more than $5 million ahead right around mid-November. The report on the Hastings-Isildur1 session notes how Hastings ran especially well during the session, hitting cards at a much higher clip than would be expected. (He ended more than $3 million over his EV.) Writes Baard, “it was clear from the comments [Isildur1] made in the chat that he thought he was caught in a parallel universe or something.”

To most of us, the whole Isildur1 story seems like it is playing out in a parallel universe. Actually not even “parallel,” as it is hard to see it having much relation to this one.

Definitely out of this world, though.

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Anonymous mike said...

what is thought about isladur getting some of his money back because of hand sharing from the red pro.

12/23/2009 8:46 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Seems unlikely, Mike, but it will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.

12/23/2009 9:01 PM  

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