Isildur makes mincemeat of PepperoniF
June 21, 2011, Posted by Pokerfarm
Last Sunday, internet phenom and poster-boy for unrelenting aggression Viktor "Isildur1" Blom found a taker for his Pokerstars "Superstar Showdown" challenge for the first time in two months. Under the challenge rules, whoever shows a profit after 2,500 hands of heads-up play at $50/$100 or above, or busts their opponent's $150k bankroll before then, wins.
Blom took on French professional player Rui "PepperoniF" Cao, and won outright just before the challenge's natural end, in 2257 hands.
Isildur1 is best known, depending on who you ask, as a savant, an uber-aggressive barbarian, or a luck-box spew-monkey who went on the mother of all heaters. In late 2009, he burst into the nosebleeds and took on some of the world's best high-stakes players with his high-variance, combative style.
Cao and Isildur1 have an established history playing together. Cao originally proposed the challenge in December of last year. His first choice of game was pot-limit Omaha, in which Isildur1 famously lost $3 million to Patrick Antonius in a single day in 2009, and over $4 million to Brian Hastings a few days later. However, Pokerstars rules dictated that half the hands had to be NLHE.
Cao is up over a million dollars so far this year, almost entirely from PLO, and much of it from Blom. Between last December and the beginning of June, Cao won over $800k directly from Isildur1. Amid speculation that Cao was targeting Blom at the cash game tables, the challenge fell at a natural point for the two internet pros to duke it out in a battle royal.
The two played a mix of two NHLE tables with two tables of variance-prone, jamfest PLO, where most of the money changed hands.
Through (or in spite of) Blom's ultra aggressive style, he managed to maintain a fairly steady lead on Cao, who couldn't catch a break, losing almost every flip and getting on the wrong end of a few coolers. Blom was at the top of his game, running well and applying pressure and bluff-catching at mostly the right moments.
Blom won over $60k in the first 500 hands, winning a PLO all-in where he was a two-to-one favourite on the flop, and hitting a runner-runner straight in NLHE.
In the next 500 hands, Isildur1 increased his lead to just under $100k, hitting flush-over-flush in NLHE and flopping the nut straight in PLO.
Blom continued to chip away at Cao’s roll, leaving him with just under $30k after 1500 hands. Cao finally managed to break Blom’s momentum, rallying and reducing the Swede’s lead to $80k at the 2000 hand mark, but his comeback was short-lived and at hand 2257 Cao lost the last of his challenge bankroll, shoving the turn in PLO and getting snap called by Blom’s set, the 9 to 1 favourite. Blom’s set held, and Cao was finished.
Cao is likely to be consoled by the fact he is still up over $400k since the beginning of the year, after playing a little more than 110k hands. Isildur1, despite increasing his Superstars Challenge record to 8 wins vs. 2 losses, has lost $225k in cash game play since last December.
While the Superstars Challenge makes for exciting rail action, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions from such a tiny number of hands. In the course of fewer hands than most online grinders play in a day, the difference between a sick pro and a maniac is, after all, mainly one thing - variance.