It has already been a very good 2012 for Viktor "Isildur1" Blom. His win in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Super High Roller 8-max event was a landmark in his career, given that he's always been best known as a cash-game player of the highest stakes. And he proved his abilities in that arena anew when he scored his biggest SuperStars Showdown win ever back in April, beating Isaac Haxton for $500,000 in a 5,030-hand match.
Now Blom can add another bullet point to his list of accomplishments this year: SCOOP champion. Blom outlasted a mammoth field of 8,240 players over the course of two days of poker in SCOOP Event #2-M, a $215 no-limit hold'em freezeout. In doing so, he won his first major online poker title and proved his versatility at the table.
Day 1 of this two-day event ran from 2:30pm ET on Sunday until the end of Level 30. Through those 30 levels, each lasting 20 minutes, Viktor Blom worked his way to a stack of 1,522,992 chips, good for 16th place among the 89 players who survived the day. His fellow Team PokerStars Pro, Romania's Toni Judet, also made it to Day 2 with 820,148 chips, good for 46th place. The lone Team PokerStars Pro player to cash on the first day was Sandra Naujoks in 637th place ($461.44), while Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman represented Team Online in 1,047th place ($346.08).
Day 2 began at 2:30pm ET on Monday with the players redrawing seats to resume play with 10K/20K blinds and 2.5K antes. Germany's LoveWrecked held the lead with 2,386,671 chips, followed by Antigua's rzr900rzr with 2,183,006 chips and Honduras' FU_15 with 2,169,999 chips. Toni Judet had maintained his spot on the leaderboard for some timewhile the number of players below him continued to shrink, but he would eventually have the misfortune of picking up Q♣ Q♥ on the button after vitalij300 had raised in front with pocket aces. No miracles meant an exit in 55th place ($2,603.84) for the Romanian pro. It also left Blom as the lone PokerStars player in the field.
Shifting into gear
The young man known as Isildur1 displayed plenty of patience through the first few hours of Day 2 as the field continued to grow smaller. Though he's known as an action player - and rightfully so - the Swede spent most of the early part of the day biding his time, looking for an opportunity to move ahead. Just after the field condensed to five tables, he found it, picking up this monster pot to move into 4th place overall with 4.14 million chips:
That allowed him to get a little more involved the way his fans are accustomed to seeing, so his stack began to fluctuate a bit more. As the day's second break arrived, he was 6th of the last 38 players remaining with 3,864,176 chips.
About 12 minutes later the Swedish wunderkind would see his lot improve further. After opening for a minimum raise to 160K under the gun with J♠ J♥, Blom was called by vikAAAA in the small blind. Then EmilZapata5 shoved from the big blind for a total of 2.035 million chips. Blom didn't waste much time isolating with an all-in move of his own, getting vikAAAA out of the way to find himself up against EmilZapata5's T♥ T♣. The board steered clear of trouble, coming 5♣ A♠ K♠ 2♠ K♦, and suddenly Blom was the chip leader with a stack of 6,499,176 chips.
Just about any poker player will use a chip lead to beat up on the smaller stacks, and Blom was no exception. Coupled with his reputation as one of the game's most fearless gamblers, his position as the leader seemed to give several players the impression that all of his raises were coming light. Sometimes they were, but even the most aggressive players sometimes pick up a hand - and Blom picked up enough to expand his lead by the third break. With 22 players remaining, Blom's 11,349,999 chips put him more than 2.5 million ahead of his nearest competition, Malta's szwindel (8,829,507 chips).
As the field dropped to just two tables, szwindel was seated two spots to Blom's left. The two of them led the way at their table, both crossing the 13-million-chip mark with 14 players left. Denmark's Fred_Brink, a former winner of the Nightly Hundred Grand, the Sunday Million, and a WCOOP Event 15 last year, closed in on them a little while later, jumping over 12.6 million chips after his K♠ 8♥ outflopped dean6745's A♠ K♣. Then Fred_Brink surged ahead of the field after picking up a 6.37-million-chip pot with pocket aces again szwindel's A♣ Q♥ on a queen-high board just before the day's fourth break.
On the bubble of the final table, szwindel was moved to the other table, leacing Fred_Brink and Isildur1 to battle it out with each other. Blom managed to reclaim the lead on this pot:
He would remain in the leader's spot when the bubble popped minutes later, giving him a prime opportunity to add to his reputation with a SCOOP win in a large-field tourney.
Jostling for position
As the final table began with blinds at 100K/200K and antes at 25K, the players were seated like so:
Seat 1: vikAAAA (8,453,341 in chips)
Seat 2: Fred_Brink (14,547,435 in chips)
Seat 3: rzr900rzr (5,107,198 in chips)
Seat 4: cloaknet (3,386,506 in chips)
Seat 5: Gusparo (4,010,171 in chips)
Seat 6: szwindel (11,597,376 in chips)
Seat 7: lubor74 (7,485,800 in chips)
Seat 8: Isildur1 (16,843,943 in chips)
Seat 9: RaisingRay91 (10,968,230 in chips)
It didn't take long for the lead to change hands, though Blom's reputation for action actually had nothing to do with the proceedings. Instead it was szwindel and lubor74 who tangled in the largest pot of the tournament.
After the action folded to szwindel in the small blind, he came in for a small raise to 500K. Then lubor74 put in a reraise to 1.24M, and szwindel responded after some thought with an all-in bet. The call with A♥ J♥ built the pot to 15.09M chips and put lubor74 in a rough spot against szwindel's A♠ K♠. The K♦ 7♥ 9♣ flop only made it rougher, and the 2♠ turn and 6♦ river made lubor74 the final table's first casualty, good for 9th place and $12,772.
For the second time of the day, szwindel held the chip lead over Isildur1, with 20.49M chips to Blom's 16.79M. This time, however, it was Isildur1 who had position. While the two of them had plenty of time to decide which spots to pick, the players with shorter stacks had no such luxury; any good hand was a reason to push. A few orbits later, two of them would collide in the next big confrontation. With just 23K in chips separating them, both Gusparo and cloaknet were essentially putting their tournaments on the line when they clashed preflop, Gusparo with J♥ J♦ and cloaknet with A♦ K♣. Gusparo wasn't technically eliminated by the A♥ 2♠ 2♦ 5♥ A♣ board, but he would bow out on the next hand in 8th place ($19,776).
The action continued to move along without too many noteworthy pots until the fifth break of the day was looming. Viktor Blom's chances of winning his first major online tournament were good before then, but they increased significantly on the final hand before that break. The opening raise to 600K - the minimum bet - came from cloaknet in the cutoff. The action folded to Blom in the small blind, and after a dip into the time bank he opted to raise to 1.435M. That cleared out RaisingRay91 in the big blind and put the decision back to cloaknet. With 2.6M already in the pot, cloaknet chose to put in a fourth bet to 3M, and Blom immediately moved all-in. His A♣ K♠ was ahead after the cloaknet called with A♠ J♦ for his entire stack of 7.2M chips, and it stayed there through the entire 8♠ 4♣ 6♦ A♦ 2♠ board. It was a 7th-place exit ($35,432) for cloaknet, and a new stack of 29.73 million chips for Blom.
The home stretch
Even with equal stacks, taking on Viktor Blom would be scary enough for msot players to consider. But when he outchips everyone else at the table, and the table becomes more shorthanded, the strengths of his style are maximized. He can take as many chances as he likes, especially against players in far more desperate situations than his own. So after he added to his stack further, flopping top two pair with A♥ 9♥ and outrunning rzr900rzr's open-ended straight draw with Q♠ T♣ to eliminate rzr900rzr in 6th place ($51,088), the outcome began to look inevitable. Though szwindel momentarily closed in a bit by knocking out vikAAAA in 5th place ($67,568), calling with A♠ K♠ after vikAAAA had shoved with Q♠ 9♦, Blom surged back ahead just four hands later on this hand:
That brutal flop kept Fred_Brink from both winning the single largest pot of the tournament so far and adding a SCOOP title to an already impressive resume. But his consolation prize was a 4th-place finish worth $87,344 - not bad for two days' work.
Closing it out
Meanwhile, Blom had stacked up to 46.09 million chips. On his right was szwindel, with a stack of 25.18 million chips, and on his left was Canada's RaisingRay91 with 11.12 million. With blinds at 200K/400K and antes at 50K, the game was essentially Blom's to dictate. That drew some star power to the rail, with no less a luminary than Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier chiming in: "good luck to all 3 of u guys ;) Sick feat to be here already."
There wasn't much movement in the range of stack sizes at the table for a while as all three players took their turn claiming a series of small- and medium-sized pots. There was, however, plenty of action, as Isildur1 and szwindel put in several three-bets and RaisingRay91 proved himself willing to make the fourth bet all-in on a few occasions. The Canadian player inched closer to his two opponents, eventually overtaking szwindel just after the blinds went up to 250K/500K with a 62.5K ante.
That had szwindel looking to chip back up out of third place, so when Blom opened for 1M on the button he reraised to 2.5M. Blom called with position to take a flop of 8♣ 4♠ 3♦. Acting first, szwindel led out for 2.25M, but was met with a quick raise by Blom to 5.65M. Holding Q♣ J♦ for queen-high, szwindel had a big decision to make; he eventually shoved all-in on a bluff for 18,735,650 chips. Blom, who held 8♥ 7♠ for top pair, wasted no time calling. He dodged szwindel's six outs through the 6♥ turn and T♣ river, taking the 42.9M-chip pot and ending szwindel's run in 3rd place ($131,840).
The only thing standing between Blom and his first big online tournament win now was RaisingRay91. The Canadian player was at a disadvantage from the start, holding just 16.44 million chips to Blom's 65.95 million, so it's unsurprising that the fifth hand of heads-up play would see him all-in for his tournament life. RaisingRay91 held K♥ 8♥, good enough to four-bet all-in for 15.5M after opening on the button and seeing Blom put in a third bet. This time Blom held A♦ J♥, and it held up as the board fell Q♥ 2♣ Q♣ T♠ 6♣, sending RaisingRay91 to the rail with a healthy 2nd-place prize of $181,889.76.
The last man standing, Blom earned $247,200. But perhaps more importantly, the cash-game legend demonstrated for the second time this year that he's a threat to win any tournament he plays - and in a field of more than 8,000 players, no less. It was an impressive performance from start to finish for Blom, and he deserves all the congratulations that are surely coming his way.
SCOOP Event 2-M: $215 No-Limit Hold'em
$1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool
8,240 entrants, $1,648,000 prize pool
1,080 places paid
1st place: Viktor "Isildur1" Blom (United Kingdom) $247,200
2nd place: RaisingRay91 (Canada) $181,889.76
3rd place: szwindel (Malta) $131,840
4th place: Fred_Brink (Denmark) $87,344
5th place: vikAAAA (Russia) $67,568
6th place: rzr900rzr (Antigua and Barbuda) $51,088
7th place: cloaknet (Russia) $35,432
8th place: Gusparo (Hungary) $19,776
9th place: lubor74 (Czech Republic) $12,772
With Viktor Blom's win, SCOOP is now officially off and running at top speed. Check out the full schedule here and plan on taking your seat at the table.