posted 1/14/11 : Isildur1 could face a hefty Swedish tax demand by discarding anonymity
The recent ‘uncloaking' of famed internet high stakes poker player Isildur1 as Viktor Blom has triggered media speculation in Sweden that he may be faced with a hefty tax bill, according to reports in The Local.se.
The publication points to a story in the Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Industri, which reported that the Swedish taxman (Skatteverket) had announced it was going to look into internet poker companies which claim to be based overseas but nevertheless have much of their operations based in Sweden, and that this may have expensive implications for Blom.
The newspaper Dagens Nyheter took up the story, speculating that in Bloms case this could mean a Swedish tax bill of up to 1 billion kronor ($149 million).
However, tax officials refused to comment on the media speculation, with Skatteverket spokesman Erik Boman saying only: "Internet poker is something we're looking into and I know this poker player, but I can't comment on whether we've opened a case."
Blom's online high stakes action against some of the world's top internet and tournament players attracted widespread interest as he went on a boom and bust and boom again rollercoaster on the Full Tilt Poker ‘nosebleed' tables that involved millions of dollars in wagers that included some of the 12 biggest pots recorded.
The young pro eventually signed up with the Pokerstars professional team, leading to his ‘unmasking' at the site’s Caribbean Adventure live tournament recently.
According to The Local's report, the 20-year-old Blom lives in London but originally hails from Ed, a small town in western Sweden near its border with Norway.
Learning to play poker for fun at the tender age of 14, by 18 he was playing 15 hours a day on the internet, he told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. He was to become famous for his ‘loose' style of play in which aggression and boldness both feature.
"I deposited $2,000 (14,000 kronor) and within three weeks, I had $2 million," he told PokerStarsBlog.com.
It was the start of a career that can only be described as exciting as he battled with top players, winning and losing millions and entertaining thousands of online spectators.
His bad weeks included a $3.2 million loss to Phil Ivey playing NLHE, and a clash on PLO with Patrik Antonius in which his inexperience with the variant cost him $3 million in a day. It was clearly an expensive but well learned lesson, for Isildur1 returned the following day and won back $2 million.
His most famous loss was probably that against Cardrunners pro Brian Hastings, a controversial contest in which it transpired that two other players had colluded, studying over 30,000 hands of Isildur1's play. It cost Blom $4.2 million, and to rub salt in the wound Hastings later took the young pro for a further $1.5 million in another session.
Blom appears to take it all with equanimity, saying "I had some rough days. But I'm not worried. I know I can always win money."