Wow! I'm used to PokerStars making big announcements, but this one really made my eyes pop out on stalks... Isildur1, the most infamous name in online poker, has today signed up to Team PokerStars Pro.
And to celebrate the hottest poker signing of the year, PokerStars is launching a cash game spectacular, the SuperStar Showdown, in which Isildur1 challenges all-comers to take him on at the nosebleed stakes.
Unless you've had your head buried in the sand (what are you, an ostrich?*), you'll know Isildur1 lit up the poker world by coming from nowhere to compete in the highest stakes online cash games. When I say high stakes, I mean games that generated the biggest pots in history - one coming in at a whopping $1.3million. And the swings! One week the poker world saw Isildur1 spin up several million dollars, then watched aghast as he lost it soon after. If heart-stopping action is what you're after, Isildur1 is the one to follow.
But what makes Isildur1 even more of an enigma is that no-one knows his or her true identity. Is this player really a young starlet with the guts to take on the world's best? Or is it a seasoned professional who, under a new guise, has been taking everyone to the cleaners?
Well, that's for a select few to know, and the rest of us to guess. What we do know is that the player's real identity MAY be revealed before the PCA in January, but in the meantime the new Team PokerStars Pro will be playing online at PokerStars as Isildur1.
It's no exaggeration to say all this is something of a coup, because the whole poker industry was after the player's signature, a signature hotter than a tin roof in Las Vegas. So how did it come about?
"I chose to join PokerStars because it's the biggest site and it will be an exciting challenge," Isildur1 said. "It means a great deal to be playing in a team alongside players such as Daniel Negreanu, Dario Minieri and Johnny Lodden."
And Isildur1 had some bad news for those brave enough to come and take him/her on: "My goals now are to improve my live game for some upcoming events, continue to focus on no-limit heads-up Hold'em, but also try to develop my Pot Limit Omaha game."
Aha! That last bit leads us nicely to his/her SuperStar Showdown. Here's the top secret blurb that I had to collect this morning from a man in a beige overcoat, reading a copy of The Times newspaper under the clock at Victoria Station.
"A SuperStar Showdown is a head-up cash game match that takes place over a single session of 2,500 hands. The hands will be split evenly across four tables of No Limit Hold'Em and Pot Limit Omaha, at stakes no lower than $50/$100. The winner of the match will be the player that shows a profit after all 2,500 hands have been played.
"The SuperStar Showdown will take place once per week (at a mutually agreeable time/day to be determined in consultation with Isildur1). The opponents will alternate between a specially selected invited player, and a player that has responded to Isildur1's open challenge."
Oh my word, these are going to be great fun to watch! More good news is that the boffins in the PokerStars Lab (which is set in a huge crater under a false lake on the Isle of Man) are working on making the railing experience even better. Soon, the four Showdown tables will be hosted within a single window that will display the current leader on each of the four tables, the overall match leader, the number of hands remaining on each table and the number of hands remaining in the match. There will be a chat box for players and a separate chat box for observers. The table will be especially themed for the matches. Nice!
If, like me, you are seriously contemplating taking Isildur1 on (my nose grows long; my pants are on fire) you can see all the rules on the Isildur1 SuperStar Showdown page that details things like bankroll requirements, breaks, rules etc.
I can confirm that the first SuperStar Showdown will be on December 19 at 6pm (ET). Put that in your diary now.
So there you have it, the world's biggest online poker name joins the world's biggest online poker site. You can read Isildur1's bio on his/her PokerStars Team PokerStars Pro page. Furthermore, you can follow Isildur1's progress via Twitter where the player will be sending exclusive updates from @RealIsildur1.
Hold on tight. This, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be fun.
* OK, OK, an ostrich does not really bury its head in the sand (unless, I guess, it trips over something while running at full speed).