12/23/09 – The respected poker publication Poker News achieved a major industry publishing coup this week, tracking down and interviewing the mysterious Swedish high stakes online poker player Isildur1 on the controversy created by Brian Townsend's analysis of his playing style.
The question on everyone's lips, ‘who is Isildur1'? remained unanswered however as the editor in chief of Poker News, Matthew Parvis, respected the player's request that he remain anonymous.
Isildur1 exploded onto the online poker scene in September, lighting up the nosebleed tables on Full Tilt Poker with an aggressive style and a multi-million dollar bankroll that saw him hold his own against some of the biggest names in online poker, with millions crossing the virtual tables.
However, the audacious Swede appeared to hit a bad patch earlier this month which saw his bankroll devastated and his relegation to the smaller stakes tables. Among several beneficiaries of his misfortune were Cardrunner instructors Brian Townsend, Cole South, and the biggest winner of all, Brian Hastings.
Hastings created a publicity stir with his multi-million dollar hammering of Isildur1, leading to an interview with ESPN in which he disclosed that there had been some discussion and an exchange of information on Isildur1's playing style. This was followed by Townsend admitting on his blog that he had assembled some 50 000 hands of play against Isildur1 and analysed it in order to take the high roller down.
That sort of conduct lead to Townsend's suspension for a month by Full Tilt, because it is in conflict with site rules that read: "The use of shared hand histories provides detailed information on opponents a player has little or no personal experience playing against, and is deemed to be an unfair advantage. Violating this policy is subject to the maximum penalties for prohibited software use"
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In his interview with Parvis, Isildur1 commented along the following lines:
* He does not plan to reveal his identity anytime soon
* He had absolutely no idea that information on his playing style had been exchanged and analysed.
* Prior to his over $4 million losing session against Hastings, he had played a little NLHE and PLO against the Cardrunners pro, but his experience against him had been limited.
* He had played more with Townsend and South, whom he said were "always waiting for me".
* In the mammoth losing session with Hastings, the Swede said he had felt that "something was wrong," with everything he did turning against him. "Every time I tried to pull off a bluff of some kind, it felt as if it was being picked off," the Swede told Parvis.
"At the time, I just thought it was crazy luck, but now, knowing they shared a lot of their analysis of hand histories with each other, it makes a lot more sense. I feel like Hastings, and even South and Townsend when we played the last few times, had an advantage over me."
* He has not complained to Full Tilt Poker yet, but given the recent revelations intends to do so.
* He was not aware of the Full Tilt ‘shared hand histories' rule, but this would be useful in submitting a complaint. "I think I am going to put through a formal complaint, as I think this is a case where the sharing of hand histories directly affected the match I played with Brian [Hastings]" he said.
* The disclosures by Townsend persuade Isildur1 that he deserves to get something back, as the reported actions had given Hastings a significant edge that he could not have known about or adjusted to.
* Isildur1 poses the question: "…how can I be sure that all three of them [Townsend, South and Hastings] did not have input on the hands while we were playing?"
* He has never studied hand histories, studied books, or watched videos. "I always have just played poker and played with every player who wanted to play me. To be honest, I never even studied my own hand histories," he told Poker News.
* He plans to lay low for now, submitting a complaint to Full Tilt Poker and eschewing action on the site until he has received a response.
Parvis makes the point that Cardrunners was invited to give its perspective on the issue, but the offer was declined.
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