By Nathan Carroll, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
Going into this weekend, Isildur1's record in his exclusive heads-up Superstar Showdown matches on PokerStars was about as even as can be. He first lost $40,000 to Isaac Haxton, and then followed it up with a $44,000 win against Tony G, leaving him ahead by less than half a buy-in after more nearly a dozen hours of play. In his third match, which took place on Sunday night, he took on fellow youngster Daniel "Jungleman" Cates in 2,500 hands of No Limit Hold'em. With two players this aggressive, the Showdown was destined to end in a big win or a big loss.
The match started off quickly as the long-time rivals didn't waste any time feeling out each other's strategies. The first 1,000 hands saw the lead flit quickly from player to player as neither one was able to get more than three buy-ins ahead. Due to aggressive preflop play, full stacks went in before the flop several times, but an even distribution of dominated pocket pairs kept the score close.
In the second half, Cates finally gained some traction and played his way to a $60,000 lead. Realizing that Isildur hates folding more than your average bear, Jungleman hit him with some light river value bets that paid out handsomely, including one where he went all-in with AJ on a board reading J876K.
Unfortunately for him, the lead wasn't destined to last. Isildur kicked off his comeback tour with a $32,000 cooler where his nut flush triumphed over Jungleman's second nut flush on an unpaired board. He followed that up with a broadway straight against Jungleman's two pair for another big pot which put him back in the lead. Blom might have extended that lead even further were it not for a hand where Cates flopped a gutshot and then backdoored two pair to beat Isildur's flopped lower two pair.
The stacks were still flying during the final hands of the match, and Isildur continued to win more than his fair share. In particular, he got the best of Cates on a hand where he bet the river and quickly called a check/raise while holding only bottom pair--and it was good.
When the 2,500 hand limit was reached, Blom was more than five buy-ins ahead; $51,196, to be exact. With the victory, Isildur extends his overall lead against Jungleman. Over the span of their online poker careers, the Swede has won nearly $400K from Cates.
If you're feeling confident about your own heads-up abilities, you can try your hand at qualifying for the Superstar Showdown. In the coming months, PokerStars will stake two lucky winners $15,000 to play against Isildur. Read more about how to qualify here, or download PokerStars here.
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