Viktor Blom’s ways of playing poker are pretty unconventional. Even though many critics have been inclined to call him “too aggressive,” especially in the early years of his poker career, the reality is surely a great deal more complicated! There are so many factors a poker player must take into consideration, and only the player himself knows why this or that decision was taken. That is why studying the best hands that the best players have played has the potential to help us understand the logic of these players under certain specific circumstances, as well as the methods they use to weigh the odds.
Bearing this in mind, we have selected some lesser-known but still very interesting hands Viktor Blom has played and won. So here they are!
November 2009: Isildur1 Flays Tom “durrrr” Dwan
This is the biggest pot Isildur1 and Tom Dwan played on the 2nd day of their epic heads-up match, where Dwan dropped over $3 million to the anonymous (back then) young player. The night before Dwan lost $1.22 million to Isildur1 and was fully resolved to regain at least some ground. Nipping on ahead (or back!), we should say that this attempt did not work out so well; as Dwan had lost $616,000 more that day; the pot sizes just seemed to be spinning out of control, as the two players became engrossed in combat, sometimes fighting at as many as ten tables at a time.
Tom Dwan A♠K♣
With this pair of pocket tens, Isildur1 opened for $3,000. Dwan three-bet to $10,000. Isildur called. Both players were hardly content with the flop of 5♦3♠2♥, but Dwan raised to $15,400, and Isildur1 called, both of them eager to see the turn. The Q♥ came for the turn, and Dwan fired $41,600. Isildur1 decided not to fold still holding his pair, and called. Having seen the 5♠ on the river, Dwan moved all-in for $165,695. Analyzing that board, Blom must have sniffed Dwan’s bluff on that river, and he chose to call; this meant he finally won the huge pot of $453,187 thanks to his pocket pair of tens.
October 2013: Viktor Blom Won $309,327 Pot from Doug Polk
Viktor Blom lost his match against Douglas “WCGRider” Polk for $456,000 after winning about $110,000 from that very player at four $500/$1,000 CAP no-limit hold’em tables. Having switched to $400/$800 NLHE, Viktor began to lose — perhaps because there was no CAP to hold him back. But the next day, apparently seeking revenge, he managed to fully restore his balance with Douglas at the $400/$800 NLHE tables, and even to end up with a profit of about $1 million.
What was that? Learning your opponent’s ways and adjusting your own play quickly enough to fully reverse the course of the match? Or just one of many upswings? Who knows. But here is the $309,327 pot he won during this session:
Viktor Blom A♠K♥ ($183,912.25)
Douglas Polk Q♥Q♦ ($154,663.75)
Douglas opened for $2,400, and little wonder, Viktor three-bet to $8,000. Holding two queens, Douglas four-bet to $20,800. After a little hesitation, Viktor five-bet shoved, and Douglas called, that inflated the pot to the size of $309,328.
Statistically, it was a classical coin flip situation, where Douglas Polk had 56.55% odds of winning this hand while Viktor Blom had 43.03%. But the flop they saw was 7♥2♣A♣, which had paired Viktor’s ace and improved his chances of winning to 91.21%. The 6♦ on the turn made it even worse for Doug Polk and further improved Blom’s odds to 95.45%. Now Polk only needed a queen on the river. Such things would happen, but not so often, just in 4.55% of the cases. The meaningless 6♣ finished Polk off and the $309,328 pot was shipped to Blom.
This was Viktor Blom’s biggest win in that match!
February 2014: Viktor Blom Wins a $60,000 Pot in a Notable Hand From Isaac Haxton (NLHE)
Isaac Haxton 4♥5♠ ($57,996.75)
Viktor Blom 10♦9♣ ($62,196.25)
From the button, Isaac raised to $2,200, Viktor just called (imagine this), and the flop that came down was 3♥A♥9♠. Isaac bet $2,200, and Viktor check-called. The 7♣ fell for the turn, Isaac bet $6,500, and Viktor check-called it, too. His third check-call was on the 10♥ river. Haxton bet $19,100, though he had missed his straight draw. Viktor just called and racked in $60,000 for two pairs.
In this hand, he had played his cards quite prudently, making some well-balanced decisions. On that day he took $136,000 from Haxton but lost $27,000 to Tollerene.
October 2014: Viktor “Isildur1” Blom vs Mikael “Punting-Peddler” Thuritz
Both Swedish players have a reputation for being “highly aggressive.” Here is PLO hand that was heads-up played out between these players at a mixed-game table. The blinds were $300/$600 with about 101 BB effective stacks.
Mikael Thuritz 10♣4♣3♦3♠
Viktor Blom A♥Q♣J♦8♦
Thuritz, whose hand was obviously marginal, completed from the button; while Blom raised to $1,800 as his hand looked pretty good, and he wanted to play for more money! His opponent called again. The pot grew to $3,600, and the flop fell A♠8♠7♣.
Blom flopped two pair with these cards. Thuritz was drawing for a ten-high flush. Therefore, Blom bet and Thirutz made the call, which had brought the pot up to $9,600. And here the 9♣ came for the turn, which was an action card, completing several straights and a flush draw, and drawing one straight for Blom on the river. Too risky to bet at this moment when there is a scare card on the board?
Not for Blom! He bet $8,400, and Thuritz called again, apparently readying himself to a big move on the river. The pot expanded to $26,400, and the effective stacks were $47,400.
With the 8♦ on the river, Blom could have sworn his hand was winning! The odds were about 5-1. But Thuritz pushed all-in, sticking with his plan, although this decision seemed already quite questionable at this moment. With his full-house, Blom did not hesitate to call and won $121,200.
October 2014: Viktor Blom Wins a Pot of $261,672 from Alex “PostFlopAction” Kostritsyn
Viktor Blom’s matches against Russian pro Alex Kostritsyn were profitable for the Swede. The biggest pot was played in a heads-up $300/$600 PLO battle.
Blom raised to $1,800 from the button. Kostritsyn three-bet to $5,400. Blom four-bet to $16,200. Kostritsyn called. The flop they saw was 10♦9♠4♦. Kostritsyn checked, with Blom checked behind. The turn peeled off 5♥ and Kostritsyn elected to bet $32,400. Blom called, and they saw the 10♥ for the river. Kostritsyn checked, Blom moved all-in for about $82,000, and Kostritsyn called.
Now Blom tabled his A♣Q♣A♦10♣ for trip tens only made on the river. Kostritsyn mucked around without showing, and Viktor Blom finally got the massive pot of $261,672 that was sent his way.
August 2015: “Isildur1” Blom vs Laurie Tournier on $200/400 PLO Table
Laurie Tournier is a successful female mid-stakes poker player from Brazil. Isildur1 played with her for about 1 hour and a half, losing $109,700, with many big pots won and lost. The biggest pot in this heads-up was shipped to Isildur1.
Laurie raised to $1,360, Isildur1 three-bet to $4,240, and his opponent called. The flop fell 8♥2♥J♣, and Isildur1 bet $4,000, and Tournier called. The 3♥ on the turn made Isildur1 check, and Laurie bet $11,600. Isildur1 called. The J♥ came for the river, and Isildur1 checked for a second time. Laurie Tournier went ahead betting $28,800, and that was the time for Isildur1 to check-raise all in, shoving $65,631.24. Tournier called for the nut flush, which was a nice hand but unfortunately to her the Isildur1 hit quads on the river and won the $171,102.48 pot.
You may find some information online about how Isildur1’s opponent was not “laurie” Tournier but Laurens “lautie” Houtman (the Netherlands), a professional mid-high stakes player specialized in PLO. But it must have been Laurie Tournier that time.
August 2015: Isildur1 Wins $274,698.40 Pot from Sean “WithColor” Rafael
Viktor Blom and Sean Rafael, a poker player from the US, played for more than seven hours on August 25, 2015, with 40 (!) big pots sent either way. Viktor Blom won the biggest one, and that is how it happened:
Sean Rafael 3♠4♣A♥6♠ ($137,269.20)
Viktor Blom Q♥Q♠5♠10♦ ($211,153.84)
Rafael opened for $1,360, Blom three-bet (few surprises here) to $4,240, and they saw the flop of 4♥Q♣3♥, promising for both players. Blom bet $5,200, Rafael called. The 3♣ came for the turn. Blom resolutely bet $12,800, and so did Rafael taking the plank as high as $38,600. Blom just called and the 10♠ appeared on the river. Blom checked, and Rafael shoved for $89,299.20. But Blom did not tank. He bravely and wisely called and grabbed the $274,698.40 pot with his top full house against the inferior full house of his opponent!
October 2015: Viktor Blom Wins more than $200,000 from Benjamin Tollerene
It was just an 80-minute heads-up match played at $200/$400 PLO tables, a part of a great day for Viktor Blom who had won more than $400,000. Here is the biggest pot played between Blom and Tollerene:
Viktor Blom J♣9♣Q♠8♠ ($104,614)
Benjamin Tollerene Q♣7♣7♠2♠ ($55,156)
Blom opened for $1,360 from the button. From the big blind, Tollerene three-bet to $4,240. Blom four-bet to $12,880, Tollerene called and the flop they saw was 6♣8♣5♠. Tollerene, drawing to a flush, raised to $8,293,76. Blom, who was drawing to a flush, too, raised big and Tollerene called off. But there were already too many clubs dealt, and a third one never peeled. The K♦ put out on the turn gave Viktor Blom a straight, and the 7♦ on the river shipped the $110,472 pot to Viktor Blom.
July 2017: Isildur1 and BERRI SWEET Chop $373,717 Pot (859 Big Blinds)
BERRI SWEET is a high stakes online pro, and the biggest online cash winner of 2017! This particular game was played for a remarkably chopped pot, $200/400 PLO HU, on July 26 on table Muliphein on PokerStars. The blinds were $200 and $400, there were $171,700 (429 big blinds deep) in front of the players, and there was a nice piece of cake to play for.
BERRI SWEET 8♣3♠A♣A♠
Both of the players were holding pair of aces, and BERRI SWEET opened, raising to $1,360. Blom three-bet to $4,240, which was a good start promising an interesting action, especially after BERRI SWEET four-bet to $12,880. But when Isildur1 5-bet to $38,800, it became clear that there were two strong hands in play. And the players did not stop to bet it up. BERRI SWEET 6-bet to $116,560 and Isildur1 7-bet shoved for $171,698.50. BERRI SWEET called.
By now, BERRY SWEET was a tiny favorite as he had double-suited pair of aces and Blom had a single-suited one. And they ran the board twice.
1st board: 3♣5♠6♣3♥Q♦
2d board: 7♣6♥9♠J♠10♣
Isildur1 flopped a pair of sixes with BERRI SWEET hitting three of a kind and winning the first 1/2 of $343,717 pot, and they chopped the second 1/2.
A Pure Luck, or Cards Well-Played?
As poker is a game of chance, a hefty dollop of luck is always helpful! But Viktor Blom has played millions of hands, which statistically might well have taken his luck to an average level — if such a thing as “average luck” even exists, of course. The winning hands he played do demonstrate some serious luck on his part, but he has at least got a high level of “poker IQ,” some penetrating intuition and constantly improving skills; and so, it is very interesting to analyze the way he plays his cards.