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Unibet Open Cash Game: Return of Isildur1

Unibet OpenSince Full Tilt killed off their “The Professionals” brand of sponsored players, not much has been heard from Viktor “Isildur1” Blom. That changed yesterday when he played the first of three days of live streamed cash games being run by Unibet at the Aspers Casino in the East of London.

The Cash game is being hosted by Unibet to celebrate the 30th Unibet Open, which is being held in the Aspers Casino later this week, and will also be streamed using the same set up and scenery as the cash game. The cash game is a £5/£10 No Limit Hold’em game, with an optional straddle in play. Players have to buy in for at least £1,000, and the game has been populated by a mix of professional poker players, sports celebrities and other lesser known players. Former Manchester United footballer Teddy Sherringham played the first day of the cash game, and fellow former professional football player, the Swede Tomas Brolin, has also made appearances in the cash game. Other participants are expected over the remaining two days of action before the Main Event takes over control of the live streaming set.

Some of the other names announced as attending include Unibet Ambassador Dan Glimne, WSOP bracelet winner and part of the UK poker establishment, Barny Boatman, newly rebranded as a Sky Poker-sponsored player Neil Channing, and co-owner of RankingHero.com Nicolas Levi.

The inclusion of Viktor Blom as the headliner of the “Golden Cash Game” has led many online to speculate that a sponsorship deal may be forthcoming for the Swedish phenom. Nothing has yet been announced from Unibet, and while the addition of Isildur1 would be a coup for any poker site, the price tag attached to his reputation, along with his reluctance to talk to the media, may have actually made Viktor Blom a bad prospect for poker sites with limited budgets. We’ll have to wait for a formal announcement from Unibet, but I’d be surprised to see Blom signed to a deal he’d be happy with.

Martin Stralros, Unibet’s Head of Poker, said “With the help of our players we have been trying to make a positive change for poker since launching our new platform, and this cash game hopefully gives something back to the poker community who have supported us throughout the year. We’re hoping for a really exciting game that appeals to all poker players.”

The game does have a very interesting extra rule in the form of a “seven deuce” game. If a player wins a hand holding seven-deuce, and shows the hand to the rest of the table, he will win a £1,000 gold bar which has been provided by the Unibet team. Twenty of these bars are up for grabs, and the first day saw several of these handed out to the players, with Teddy Sherringham picking up a pair of them.

Viktor Blom however has yet to win a gold bar, and based on the way the cards have been treating him, it may not happen before the end of the week. As you can see from the hand below, Blom isn’t running the greatest, and is having issues picking up other players’ chips even when he is a massive favourite.

The Unibet Open is due to start on Thursday, and the €1000 + €100 main event is expected to reach its 500-player cap, which will double the €250,000 guarantee. The last Unibet Open held in London was in 2012 and was won by Pratik Ghatge for £85,050, when he beat Polish player Tomasz Kozub during the heads-up battle. In fact, none of the final table’s players in 2012 were locals, something that is unlikely to be repeated this year.

The “Golden Cash Game” and the main event isn’t the only thing going on at Aspers this week, as there is a raft of side events going on as well. Even though the online satellites have closed for the main event, there are still some available at the venue itself. There are other tournamentsrunning that include Open Face Chinese poker and there are other events such as the “Flips Championship” on offer, too.

If you want to watch the live action, you can click here to join Matt Broughton and guests on he Unibet YouTube Channel.

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