PokerStars was proud to announce that poker sensations Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom were to fight it out in Blom’s SuperStar Showdown. In fact, having Negreanu agree to this caused PokerStars to want to have them play multiple matches, or rounds, with the first round being played on March 20th and the second one a week later. Each round will consist of both players bringing $150,000 and to play 2,500 of $50/$100 No-limit Hold’em heads-up over four tables.
Isildur1 has already proven himself to be a master at heads-up, specifically online, so before the match Negreanu headed over to PokerStars to practice. Some of Negreanu’s practice opponents included massive grinder and fellow PokerStars pro Randy “nanonoko” Lew as well as three of Blom’s previous opponents in Eugene Katchalov, Isaac Haxton and Daniel Cates.
When the official match between Blom and Negreanu finally got underway, no one expected it to end so quickly. Although both agreed to play 2,500 hands, it would take only 1,439 for Blom to outmatch Negreanu. This would also be the first SuperStar Showdown that didn’t reach the maximum hand rule. It would good for KidPoker that he at least was able to try his luck the week after but I’m sure he had to feel a little intimidated. Let’s have a look at a few important hands from the match.
It didn’t take long at all before Negreanu would lose his first buy-in to Blom. Negreanu had bet out on a Kc4h4s flop in which Blom called. The turned checked through on a Ts. Once the 6h river fell, Negreanu had been raised all-in off of his initial $3,100 bet but made the call. Blom had hit his two outer on the river with pocket sixes vs. Negreanu’s KQ offsuit.
Interestingly enough, the two were all-in again on the same table just two hands later! This time the players pushed their stacks all-in on a flop of 9c3c2h. KidPoker was completely dominated turning over his Qh9d vs. Isildur1’s As9s. The turn and river fell aces adding salt to the wound and another buy-in for Blom.
After a few hands and failed bluff attempts later, Negreanu was the victim of what would be the large pot of the match. This time KidPoker actually was in the lead when he went all-in on the flop in a 3-bet pot with Kd6d vs. Blom’s Js3s on a KsJc6s board. The turn would complete the flush and the river dodged Negreanu’s outs allowing Blom to scoop the $28,700 pot.
The run bad just continued for Negreanu. He seemed to always end up on the losing end in massively cooler pots. He would see his pocket tens be crushed on a 542 flop as Blom flopped the wheel with A3o. He would lose a stack when his jack-hi flush was no good against Blom’s nut flush. KidPoker’s top pairs were being dominated by straights and two pairs. Even Blom’s semi-bluffs seemed to always get there and win a large chunk of Negreanu’s $150,000.
The trend would continue in the later stages. Negreanu flipped over 6s5s for an open-ended straight draw on a 4h7c4d flop vs. Blom’s monsterous AcAs. The Qd turn and 7h river sent the match to only 2 tables as Negreanu was quickly losing his money. Only moments later would stacks go all-in with Blom sucking out. Negreanu showed Ac9c vs. Blom’s 9shs on a Td9d6s flop but the turn would complete Blom’s straight when the 7s fell. This would be the catalyst of the match going to only one table.
Negreanu tried and tried but his final stack got down to $10,100 before he went all-in one last time. After being 4-bet shoved on, Negreanu made a crying call with KsJc hoping to be in a flip situation. When Blom showed AcKh it was all but over. But wait! The flop came down JdTs7d giving Negreanu top pair and a huge suck-out. Or so he thought. This was Isildur1’s night and the Qc turn proved it, giving Blom the demanding win in the match.
Negreanu later tweeted “Ok, officially shook off the loss. Back to the grind this week and a rematch with a fresh 150k next week”. Daniel was seen playing at PokerStars, later that day, most likely practicing for round 2 and some redemption.