On Sunday, the poker world was treated to the inaugural SuperStar Showdown on PokerStars featuring online legend Isildur1. The high-stakes match was played between the mystery Swede and Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton, a no-limit hold'em specialist. The railbirds flocked to the action and thousands of fans watched as the match unfolded live on PokerStars. The action was back and forth, but at the end of the 2,500-hand match, Haxton emerged the victor with a respectable $41,701 win.
While the SuperStar Showdown may conjure up images of the “durrrr Challenge”, there are some stringent differences. The SuperStar Showdown is designed as a one-time high-stakes match where challengers face off against Isildur1 in a heads up match of 2,500 hands (as opposed to the “durrrr” Challenge which last 50,000 hands over the course of many months - or years).
The match is played across four tables of $50/$100 or higher no-limit hold’em and/or pot-limit Omaha, dependent upon the competitors’ preference. The winner is decided by whoever shows a profit at the end of the match or felts his or her opponent in the process. What’s more, the SuperStar Showdown matches will be announced in advance so poker fans can enjoy the action, live, on PokerStars, unlike the “durrrr” Challenge which has been regretfully inconsistent.
Isildur1 Off to a Good Start
In the inaugural match, both Isildur1 and Haxton played four tables of $50/$100 heads-up no-limit hold'em, buying in for $10,000 in each. It took approximately fifteen minutes for the first significant pot to develop. In the hand, Haxton raised to $200 from the button and Isildur1 defended from the big blind. The duo watched the flop fall and Isildur1 check-called a bet of $200 from Haxton. Isildur1 then check-called another bet, this time to the tune of $550, when the was turned. On the river, Isildur1 checked to Haxton, who continued his aggression by betting $1,666. Isildur1 responded with a check-raise to $7,850 and Haxton made the call only to muck when his opponent turned for a rivered flush.
Haxton on the Rebound
Haxton rebought and it was a good thing as just a few minutes later he was the beneficiary of his pocket kings holding up against Isildur1’s . That vaulted Haxton back up past even. Unfortunately for him, things swung back in Islidur1’s favor a short time later. On an ace-high board, Haxton held but was far behind Isildur1’s flopped set of threes. Isildur1 called down the entire way and won a considerable pot; in fact, after 45 minutes (372 hands) he was up $11,650.
Isildur1 Hits the Turn
Things continued to swing back and forth and by hand 820, Haxton had taken the lead with a $16,500 profit. Just when Haxton seemed to have control of the match, the biggest hand up to that point developed. It began when Haxton held and opened for $200. Isildur1 made the call from the big blind with and the flop came down . Haxton had flopped the nuts but Isildur1 had a plethora of draws. The entire rail seemed to know this was going to be an action hand, especially when Isildur1 check-raised Haxton’s $200 bet to $800. Haxton reraised to $2,400, Isildur1 made it $4,350, and Haxton smooth called.
The on the turn gave Isildur1 his flush and he immediately led out for $6,250. Haxton called and the peeled off on the river. Even with four diamonds on board, Isildur1 moved all in for $6,350. Surprisingly, Haxton called and Isildur1 took down the $34,400 pot. By hand 1,124, Isildur1 had pulled out in front with a $12,500 profit, an amount he would nearly double over the next 118 hands. In fact, with about 1,000 hands to go, Isildur1 was up $31,099. That was about the time Haxton began his comeback.
Seven-High for Haxton
The hand that swung momentum back in Haxton’s favor occurred when Isildur1 raised to $300 on the button and Haxton called to the flop. Haxton check-called a bet of $500 as the hit the turn. Both players proceeded to check the turn and watched the fall on the river. Haxton checked, Isildur1 threw out a huge overbet of $3,850, and Haxton called. Isildur1 showed and had been called by Haxton’s . The seven-high kicker was the difference as Haxton took down the $9,300 pot.
Isildur1 continued to bleed chips and after a couple more hands his lead had been decimated to just $1,299. A short time later, Haxton bet $1,200 on a flop only to have Isildur1 make it $2,850. Haxton pushed back by moving all in and Isilidur1 called off his last $6,100.
Both players had flopped a pair of kings but once again Haxton’s kicker put him in the lead. The on the turn was no help to Isildur1 and neither was the on the river. Haxton won the $20,000 pot, extending his lead to $10,151, with 471 remaining.
Isildur1 turned up the aggression but just couldn’t seem to buy his way back. Haxton continued to rake in pots, including a huge one on Table 3. Isildur1 ($13,250) raised $300 and Haxton ($28,750) called. It went check, bet $500, Haxton check-raised to $2,400, and Isildur1 called after the flop fell . Haxton fired out $2,400, when the was turned, and Isildur1 called. The appeared on the river and Haxton shoved for $24,300. Isildur1 only had $8,800 remaining and made the call with his straight. It was a good hand but not good enough as Haxton showed for a flush. $26,000 pot to Haxton.
Monster Pot to Close the Match
Isildur1’s frustration was evident as the last hands of the match ticked down. In dramatic fashion, the match was topped off with a pot worth $44,464! In the hand, Haxton ($50,502) raised to $200 on the button and Isildur1 ($22,132) reraised to $1,000 even. After a call, the flop ran out and Isildur1 bet $1,500. Haxton called and the spiked on the turn. Isildur1 fired out $3,800 and once again Haxton called behind. When the hit the river, Isildur1 moved all in for $15,932 and Haxton called. Isildur1 showed for two pair, but Haxton showed for two pair with a better kicker - yet again!
The railbirds were claiming Isildur1 was broke after the 2,500-hand match came to an end; after all, Haxton had won $41,701 of the Swede. Nonetheless, Isildur1 will be back for another SuperStar Showdown. The question is who will be his new challenger? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, PokerNews will be there to report all the action.
There is still time to play in our final $15,000 Sunday Million Freerollon PokerStars in the current series, but hurry as you have to qualify this month.