How Daniel Negreanu Lost the Isildur1 Stars Challenge

August 2, 2020
Andrew Burnett

Daniel Negreanu’s decision to take on his greatest poker enemy Doug Polk has become the talk of the community this week, but what happened last time DNegs fought it out with an online legend? Let’s take a look back at his SuperStar Showdown match-up with Isildur1…

As Negreanu explained this week, it’s been almost a decade since he played HUNL online, revealing: “…when I did, it was for approximately a 6-week period. It was shortly before Black Friday.”

March 20th 2011 to be exact, and KidPoker had chosen to tussle with the scariest player in online history – Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom – the Swede at the time only recently revealed after years of anonymous online beasting.

Blom had recently signed up with PokerStars, and the SuperStar Showdown series had seen him lose a match to Ike 'philivey2694' Haxton, but defeat Daniel 'w00ki3z' Cates, Antanas 'TonyG' Guoga and Ukraine-born New Yorker, Eugene 'MyRabbiFoo' Katchalov.

Next up, Daniel Negreanu, already a star of the poker world with 4 WSOP gold bracelets, two WPT titles and PokerStars highest-paid pro.

The match was set to last 2500 hands of $50/$100 NLHE, playing four tables online simultaneously. That was due to be repeated exactly a week later, a further 2500 using the stacks they finished session 1 with.

For Negreanu, that would turn out to be precisely zero, a brutal 1439 hands depleting every cent of his 15 buy-in, $150k Showdown bankroll in less than 4 hours.

To be fair to Negreanu, he ran terribly from the word go, Blom hitting almost every unlikely turn or river, this hand coming after Negreanu had already lost more than $100k in a soul-sapping run on the wrong side of variance…

♦ ♥ ♣ ♠

Negreanu: A♦ K♦ ($12,600)
Blom: 6♥ 8♥ ($41,500)

Negreanu 3-bet Blom’s opening 3x raise and the duo saw this flop…

Flop: K♥ Q♠ 3♥

Daniel led out $1200, Blom flat-calling to the turn..

Turn: 10♥

…and Negreanu kept at it, betting $3100 only to see Blom come over the top. Daniel simply couldn’t let go of his TPTK – not for the first time in the match – and called only to see the bad news, the…

River: 5♣

…of no consequence and Blom well on his way to his huge win, the chat box including this exchange on the relative ‘luck’ factor:

KidPoker: pretty sick run
Isildur1: yeah its just sick
Isildur1: i hit nuts all session long
KidPoker: that makes it easy :-)
Isildur1: yep hehe

Daniel did what he does best, though, pulling himself up by his bootstraps and returning the following week with another $150,000.

Having prepped and played training matches with his PokerStars Team Online colleague Randy nanonoko Lew, as well as against all Isildur’s previous opponents bar TonyG, Negreanu was clearly loathe to let it go to waste.

However, it looked like the rematch was all set for a carbon-copy repeat, Blom blasting his way to a $120k lead just halfway through with disgusting hands such as this one…

♦ ♥ ♣ ♠

Negreanu: J♥ 8♥
Blom: J♣ J♦

Flop: 5♥ 4♥ 2♥
Turn: 5♦
River: 5♠

Somehow Negreanu held himself together and pulled the match close to level, although this hand was a setback…
Negreanu: K♠ J♠
Blom: K♥ 8♣

Flop: K♣ K♦ 3♠
Turn: 8♠
River: Q♦

♦ ♥ ♣ ♠

Incredibly, despite very few all-ins going KidPoker’s way, his small-ball play eventually saw him book a $26,500 session win, the closing chat reading:

Isildur1: gg, nice comeback!
KidPoker: I won? wow sick! gg man thanks
KidPoker: I broke so much stuff in this room the first half
KidPoker: my assistant has lots of cleaning to do lol jkjk

Negreanu had nice things to say about Isildur, describing him as “incredible” and “the best” explaining: “What surprised me most in the first match was that he was way more solid, and he had it way more often than people would expect.”

A decade on and Polk looming instead of Blom and we can safely say that any chat between the pair will be less than friendly – but the bigger question is can Negreanu somehow reverse the result? The clever money – and KidPoker himself, says no.

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