Who is Isildur1...Who Cares!
April 19, 2022

When Tong G announced through his Party Poker blog that he would be staking Isildur1 at last week’s Big Game IV in London, it was about the only thing that could have caused me to tune in when the show airs later this year.  Of course, Isildur1 eventually backed out, leaving Tony G looking a little red in the face.  But was Isildur really worth all the fuss anyhow?  I’d venture to say no.

The biggest reason why we shouldn’t care about who Isildur might be is because we already know who he is – or we are at least fairly certain of it.  While Tony G has been playing up the hype of Isildur having a mysterious identity, he was the same one who said the high-stakes newcomer was Viktor Blom back in late 2009.  In a November post on his blog, G wrote “I don’t want to talk too much about Isildur1 but I can reveal to all it is Viktor and he crushed them on the iPoker network for some time.  Maybe Tony should have exercised some more foresight into how he’d want to milk that knowledge, but at the very least he shouldn’t be playing the poker community in such as way as to make us feel stupid.

Simply put, there is no mystery here.  If by chance – and it’s a big chance – that Isildur isn’t Viktor Blom, then we can have an entirely different conversation.  But like many of you, I’m a betting man, and my money is riding on Isildur being Blom.

Maybe we wouldn’t have known either way, though.  There were rumors swirling that Isildur might have worn a mask to preserve his identity while in the public eye.  Seriously?  Wasn’t the whole point of bringing the guy on TV to show viewers who he really is?  Don’t get me wrong, seeing him on TV would be a little entertaining, but the truth is, I’ve already seen him as a faceless personality playing online for stakes that dwarf those of the Big Game - I don’t need to see him masked on television.  More importantly, though, we don’t need people wearing masks while playing televised poker.  It’s bad enough that we have Phil Hellmuth prancing around like a fat Caesar.  While we’re at it, they can drop the entrance music as well.  It’s not the WWE.

Online cash games stakes have gotten so high that it’s hard to match their intrigue with a televised series.  High Stakes Poker comes close, and it’s by far the best poker show on television.  It doesn’t hurt that the stakes are incredibly high for a TV show and that they bring in some of the most exciting players to watch.  Rather than spending their time trying to create mystery around a player, who anyone paying attention already knows the identity of, and talking about masks and entrance music, the folks behind the Big Game should look towards raising the stakes and focusing on the poker.  That said I am interested in seeing how their Survivor-style elimination process translates into a viewing experience. 

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