They flocked to the rail by the thousands, everyone from tournament greats like Kevin “ImaLucSac” MacPhee and Chad “lilholdem954” Batista, to $1/2 no-limit grinders, to guys who probably earn a chat ban every few days. They came to see if history would repeat itself, if this Swedish wunderkind would once again drive the train straight off the rails, spewing buyin after buyin with great abandon, tossing in twice-pot river overbets with nary a care. It was this brand of aggression that walks the fine line between recklessness and fearlessness that turned Isildur1 into online poker’s newest matinee idol just over a year ago and still draws legions of fans to his tables. Whereas most players would shy away from taking on the best in the world, preferring to stick to a game they can beat, last fall Isildur1 walked up to poker’s giants and quite literally dared them to go “heads up for rolls.”
Fifteen months later, Isildur1 is a newly minted member of Team PokerStars Pro and now has his own personal arena for heads-up challenges with the SuperStar Showdown, which kicked off Sunday evening. The first in line to take him on was the was one of the top young minds in the game today, high-stakes no-limit hold’em specialist Isaac “philivey2694” Haxton.
As the rail frantically traded last-minute side action, Haxton and Isildur1 sat at four $50/$100 heads-up no-limit hold’em tables, buying in for $10,000 in each game. They were committed for sitting for 2,500 hands or a $150,000 stop/loss. More spirited than the crowd in a London pub at last call, the rail was not shy about offering their theories regarding Isildur1’s identity. Our favorite guesses included Steven Seagal, Jamie Gold, Charles Barkley, Julian Assange and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The first major pot unfolded about fifteen minutes in, Isildur1 defending his big blind with K♣10♣ against Haxton’s pre-flop min-raise. Isildur1 check-called Haxton’s $200 bet on the A♣8♥4♥ flop, then paid off another $550 when the J♣ hit the turn, giving him the nut flush draw. Isildur1 rivered his flush with the 6♣ and checked to Haxton, who bet $1,666. Isildur1 raised to $7,850 and Haxton looked him up only to muck his hand. Haxton was forced to rebuy, but won all those chips back and then some a few minutes later when he five-bet shoved pre-flop with pocket kings and Isildur1 called with A♦Q♥. Isildur1 couldn’t find an ace on the board that time, but did flop a set of threes against Haxton’s A♠Q♥ on an ace-high board a few hands later. Haxton led the flop and turn and shoved the river, Isildur1 happily calling him down. After 45 minutes and 372 hands of play, Isildur1 had racked up $11,650 in profit.
Sounds like a good time for a good old-fashioned suckout, doesn’t it? As the first hour of play came to a close, Haxton and Isildur1 engaged in a raising war that ended with Haxton five-bet shoving for $10,100 holding Q♠J♠ and Isildur1 making the call with pocket queens. Haxton hit an open-ender on the 10♥9♠4♦ flop and rivered a king to snap off Isildur1’s ladies with a straight. That hand cut Isildur1’s lead to a mere $316.00 after 536 hands.
From there, Haxton began taking control and pulled out to a $16,500 lead by hand 820. In this pot, Haxton’s river raise spooked Isildur1, who had led the action the entire hand:
Haxton’s run, however, came to a halt when Isildur1 reclaimed the lead in the largest hand of the showdown so far. Haxton opened for his standard min-raise to $200 holding 5♥6♣ and Isildur1 called from the big blind with 6♦7♦. Haxton hit the nut straight on the 2♦3♠4♦ flop while Isildur1 picked up a gutshot and a flush draw. Fireworks ensued as Isildur1 checked, Haxton bet $200, Isildur1 raised to $800, Haxton three-bet to $2,400, Isildur1 four-bet to $4,350 and Haxton called. The 5♦ on the turn was a disaster for Haxton as Isildur1 made his flush. He led out for $6,250 and Haxton called. The river was the A♦, putting another scare card on the board. It didn’t stop Isildur1 from making the thinnest of thin value bets, moving all-in for $6,350. Haxton made the call and Isildur1 raked in the $34,300 pot with his flush.
After 1,124 hands, Isildur1 held a $12,550 lead and he nearly doubled that margin in the next 118 hands. Flopping a full house with A♥2♦ and getting three streets of value certainly helped, as did the $23,000 pot he raked in after his A♣Q♣ flopped a straight against Haxton’s pocket nines in a pre-flop all-in. At the halfway point of the match, Isildur1’s lead was up to $24,749 and he expanded it even further in this hand where he turned a flush against Haxton’s set of sixes:
With just over 1,000 hands to go, Isildur1 was sitting on $31,099 in profit when Haxton began to make his comeback. If there was a hand that was a catalyst for this resurgence it had to be this one, where Haxton’s seven kicker played in order to beat Isildur1’s own ace-high at showdown:
After two more pots, one where Isildur1 paid off Haxton’s flush and another where Isildur1 (tilt-shoved?) the river on a 3♠5♣A♥Q♣7♦ board holding only 3♥4♦ and Haxton called with aces up, Isildur1’s lead was down to a mere $1,299. Haxton moved back into the black a short time later when he went to war with Isildur1 on a K♦3♣2♦ flop. Haxton led out for $1,200, Isildur1 raised to $2,850, Haxton shoved and Isildur1 called off his remaining $6,100 with K♥7♥ for top pair, only to discover he was outkicked by Haxton’s K♣9♣. The turn and river blanked out for Isildur1 with the A♣ and the 10♥, Haxton collecting the $20,000 pot and leaping out to a $10,151 lead with 471 hands to go.
Stuck and perhaps steaming, Isildur1 flicked the “gambool” switch to “ON” and ramped up the aggression. Instead of three-betting small over Haxton’s opening min-raises, he started 5x-ing. Rather than continuation-betting two-thirds of the pot, he was going for full pot. Haxton continued picking up the majority of the mid-size pots and with 150 hands to go, nailed himself a $26,500 monsterpotten.
Holding $28,750 to Isildur1’s $13,250 on Table 3, Haxton called Isildur1’s $300 opening raise and they saw a 9♦7♣5♣ flop. Haxton checked, Isildur1 bet $500 and Haxton came back over the top for $1,750. Isildur1 called and they went to the turn, which fell the A♥. Haxton fired again, making it $2,400 to go and Isildur1 called. The river was the 6♣ and Haxton went for max value, shoving for $24,300. Isildur1 called off his remaining $8,800, turning over 8♦9♥ for a straight, but it was no good against Haxton’s flush with J♣8♣.
As the final 100 hands ticked down, Haxton won two pots in excess of 200 big blinds within minutes of one another on Table 1. In the first, Isildur1 paid off Haxton’s aces up on the turn and called another $6,400 on the river when Ike filled up. Then, Isildur1 found himself in kicker trouble again on a king-high flop, his K♠J♠ falling to Haxton’s A♥K♣. At this point, Isildur1’s frustration was evident, so it was no surprise the match ended the way it did– in a thrillingly dramatic, wheels-coming-off-the-bus, $44,000 pot. Watch it right here for yourself:
With 2,500 hands completed, Isaac Haxton logged off a $41,701 winner as the curtain fell on the first SuperStar Showdown. Although a few railbirds were calling for everyone to send Isildur1 a dollar “since he’s broke,” rest assured, he’ll be back online in no time, just as he always is. Expect to see another Isildur1 SuperStar Showdown in the very near future, or even at the PCA, where his secret identity may or may not be revealed as he rides into the Atlantis on the back of a dolphin. Or rappels down the Coral Tower. Or flies headfirst down the water slide.