‘ISILDUR1’ IDENTITY REVEALED
One of poker’s mysteries was recently solved when the identity of ultra-high-stakes cash-gamer “Isildur1” was confirmed to be Sweden’s Viktor Blom. The 20-something Blom had long been rumored to be the player behind the famed handle, with the “Isildur1” screen name figuring in all ten of poker’s all-time largest pots, some reaching seven figures. Blom’s brief career began with a $2,000 online bankroll and has already experienced several meteoric highs and lows, including overnight swings that exceeded $1 million.
FOXWOODS ANNOUNCES NOVEMBER NINE REUNION
Was the 2010 WSOP main event final table so captivating that you’d like to see the participants battle it out again? That’s the premise behind the announced reunion of the November Niners in a special three-table tourney included in Foxwoods’ ongoing Mega Stack Challenge XIX. The February 8th event will feature the nine finalists— including champion Jonathan Duhamel—along with 18 other players to be determined through a series of qualifiers.
FEDERATED POKER LEAGUE SET FOR AUGUST DEBUT
A new star-centric poker venture, the Federated Poker League, announced it will debut in August 2011. The FPL is headed up by Annie Duke and former WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, and promises to serve up an invitation-only field of 200 players for each of its five events planned so far, with an apparent heavy emphasis on longestablished poker “names.” All of the events will be held at the Palms in Las Vegas, with few other details so far. The FPL hopes to secure a national TV contract to broadcast its planned events.
JERSEY LEGISLATURE APPROVES E-GAMING
The race to be the first state to formally legalize intrastate online poker continued in January, with New Jersey statesmen, as expected, approving a measure allowing that state’s casinos to offer online gambling both to Jersey residents and to international players. The state’s assembly passed on a 63-11-3 vote, with the state senate quickly following suit by a 34-2 tally. The measure awaits the signature of NJ Governor Chris Christie before becoming law.
GALEN HALL WINS 2011 PCA
Poker’s annual January trip to the beaches of Bahamas went off as planned in 2011, with 24-year-old Galen Hall capturing the year’s first big poker payday. Hall took home $2.3 million by winning the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, after reeling in eventual runner-up Chris Oliver during heads-up play. Oliver began the final table with more than 40 percent of the chips in play, but was unable to put away his final foe, Hall; Oliver’s deep run was still worth $1.8 million. Romanian Anton Ionel placed third ($1.3 million) at a final table that also included Sam Stein, Mike Sowers and Max Weinberg.
ZYNGA’S ‘REWARDVILLE’ TO OFFER BONUSES FOR ONLINE POKER PLAY
Online gaming-giant Zynga seems poised to offer real-value bonuses to its vast customer base in a new program tentatively called RewardVille. The program allows for the accumulation of Zynga Coins (zCoins), which may then be redeemed for special in-game prizes in other games. The popular Zynga Poker application is among the many offerings to be included in the Rewardville program, possibly making the rewards system a variation of sorts on several subscription-based services that have given online poker a go from US-based locations.
BUT HE’S TOO OLD FOR EUROPEAN IDOL, RIGHT?
While a lot of today’s professional players seem freshly stamped from the same die, one can never accuse The Flying Dutchman, Marcel Luske, of trying to fit in with the crowd. Always known for his stylish suits and upside-down sunglasses, Luske recently released a CD of ballads, many in English, through his personal site. Called “More Than Just a Game,” the CD includes plenty of poker references in its interior notes.