“Isildur1” winning the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe Main Event would likely re-ignite the high-stakes game scene around the Web. It’s shaping up to happen, as Sweden’s Viktor Blom, the man many consider to be behind the “Isildur1” handle online, leads the way at the £10,000 buy-in tournament, which is taking place at the Casino at the Empire in London.
Blom has a stack of 443,200 after two days of play, just edging out Serbia’s Bojan Gledovic, who sits at 442,300. Sixty-six players remain in the hunt for the £830,000 top prize and the group that will assemble on Sunday to play down to 27 represents some of the top names in the game. Blom’s table, for example, will include WSOP bracelet winners Freddy Deeb and Quinn Do.
November Niner John Dolan made waves late during play on Saturday, doubling up with K-8 against Greg “FBT” Mueller’s pocket tens after getting his chips in on a flop of 7-6-3. Needing help, Dolan watched as a running 4-5 gave him a straight and a critical double up. All Mueller could respond with was, “That’s how November Niners run.” Dolan will hold the 55th largest stack in London when play resumes at 73,200.
Phil Laak was ousted on Saturday, but trailing the other way on the leaderboard was PokerStars front man Daniel Negreanu, who you can catch on the PokerStars “Million Dollar Challenge” before or after NFL coverage on Fox this Sunday. Negreanu is in 33rd entering Day 3 at 142,800 and eyeing his third straight WSOP Europe Main Event final table. Negreanu, a four-time bracelet winner, took second to Barry Shulman last year and placed fifth in 2008. Will 2010 finally be Negreanu’s year? Stay tuned to find out.
Speaking of Shulman, he hit the rails on Saturday after committing his chips before the flop with A-5 of diamonds. Guy Gorelik looked him up with pocket eights and, despite picking up flush and straight draws on the turn, Shulman whiffed on the river. Also eliminated from contention over the course of the first two starting days in the 2010 WSOP Europe Main Event were Full Tilt pros Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad and John Juanda, who won the event in 2007 and 2008, respectively. What we know for sure is that no repeat champion will be crowned in a few days’ time.
Full Tilt Poker pro Phil Ivey remains in the hunt for his ninth WSOP bracelet in London. A win would put him at nine overall, tied for the fourth most all-time with Johnny Moss. Ivey has the sixth largest stack entering Sunday’s action at 289,300. He has a rather tough table draw, however, as joining him will be recent World Poker Tour Legends of Poker champ Andy Frankenberger, Lock Poker’s Matt “All In At 420” Stout, online poker pro Bryn Kenney, the Hendon Mob’s Barny Boatman, and Nick Schulman.
Here are the top ten chip stacks remaining in the WSOP Europe Main Event:
1. Viktor Blom – 443,200
2. Bojan Gledovic – 442,300
3. Darren Woods – 372,500
4. Andrew Pantling – 344,000
5. David Peters – 309,300
6. Phil Ivey – 289,300
7. Arnaud Mattern – 280,900
8. Nicolas Levi – 272,300
9. Dan Fleyshman – 269,000
10. Brian Powell – 266,100
Blom’s identity as “Isildur1” has not been publicly confirmed, although “Isildur1” has been addressed as “Viktor” in Full Tilt Poker table chats without correcting others. In a recent blog, Negreanu described Blom’s battles against Tom “durrrr” Dwan on the high-stakes poker felts, seemingly describing “Isildur1:” “Blom took on the world’s best… all of them, at the same time! The way he manhandled Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan in their heads-up matches made the poker world take notice and whatever this kid does, people will watch.”
Day 3 of the WSOP Europe Main Event will begin at Noon London Time on Sunday.