Viktor Blom Interview

Viktor Blom Interview

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Bluff meets Isildur1.

Once upon a time, the question that had the poker media frothing at the mouth was “Who is Isildur1?” But now we’ve put a face to a name, the question still remains: “Who is Viktor Blom?”

Viktor may have emerged from the shadows since his Isildur1 days, but, despite being the face of Full Tilt, he remains agonisingly elusive to the poker media. He insists that the few interviews he does do are conducted by email, ostensibly because he lacks confidence in his English, but this also allows a famously media-suspicious player to retain control and ignore any inconvenient questions. Viktor would rather just be left alone to play poker, you feel, and yet his aloofness merely fuels more interest and speculation. And with Viktor’s return to the nosebleeds on FullTilt proving so successful (on one day in March he booked a $1.3M profit in ten hours) interest in this enigmatic figure is stronger than ever.

So what were we able to glean? That (gasp!) like any normal 22-year-old, he loves music, football and drinking with friends. More interestingly, he doesn’t want his parents to know about the huge swings he’s experienced in his game, he misread his hand when he lost the biggest pot in the history of internet poker and he loves his Mickey Mouse T-shirt. The rest remains a mystery.

People have always railed your play avidly but they know very little about your background. What kind of kid were you growing up? Were you a good student?

I was a normal kid, I think, for the most part. I did OK at school, but was way more into sport than class.

What were your favourite subjects in school?

Sport. I loved, and still love, soccer.

Were you a hard-worker or lazy?

I would get $150 bucks from my father for every good grade in the upper years of school, ninth grade on, so I think that helped keep me interested.

Are your parents supportive of your poker-playing? Do they know how much you win and lose when you’re playing?

They want me to do well, so they are supportive of me doing well. They’re not completely sold on poker, I think. I would never want them to know how big the swings are, no.

Was music important to you growing up? Which bands? What’s on your iPod now?

I listen to everything, all kinds of music. I like most of what’s on the radio.

Describe a “normal” day in your life?
Wake up, win or lose big money, then, if I win, I go out drinking with friends. If I lose, I might go out drinking with friends too. Or maybe play some more, depending if I go out or not, I guess.

Do you still live in London? Is your English getting better?

Yep, still in London. I don’t think so, but friends say I am getting better.

When you are playing, do you put the idea of money out of your mind and just look at it as a game?

Sometimes it can feel like a videogame and I have no thoughts about how big the money going across the tables is until the session is done. Then, after, when I have busted the account or something, I realise what I could have done with the money instead of playing that day.

What is your most prized possession?

My Mickey Mouse T-Shirt

What car do you drive?

I have no license, since I had to go away to Monaco for EPT a few years ago when I as in the middle of it needing to be renewed. Since then, I’ve been too lazy to go get it, and you don’t need it in London as much. But I will try and take the test again this spring. Heh! For cars I like, it would be a wide mix, for sure.

A lot of people regard you as a hero. Do you feel like a hero?

No, I just love the action and I’m trying to do the best I can. I don’t think that makes me a hero.

Does it feel good to be back on the Full Tilt tables?
It feels great. Tilt has always been my home room and favourite place to play. They have good software and great games, and all the highest stakes players, so it’s been good to have that back in my life.

You made a great start to the year at the high stakes tables. What can you tell us about those sessions?

I was in the zone, playing great, and getting a good run of cards too. It was more exciting as well because I was learning two new games – hi-lo and 2-7 triple draw (fixed limit) – while playing the toughest players in the world at these games, and I started to figure things out rather quickly, I think. I still have a way to be great at those games, but I am trying hard, and will get there.

Viktor Blom

You got some big wins in triple draw. How long have you been playing?

I started some of these games, pretty much for the first time, during the $50,000 Players Championship at the Series this past summer. Daniel Negreanu gave me a quick five-minute lesson before the event began, and I wound up chip leader for a lot of the tournament. It was so fun, I knew I had to try these games online when I got back, and I’ve been playing on and off ever since.

Are you learning any other mixed games?

Right now, it’s mostly Omaha hi-lo and 2-7 triple-draw fixed, but I think if I need to add another game in the future I’ll look at LHE. I’m sure many high stakes guys out there hearing this probably hope that happens, because it takes me time while I learn.

Did you use training videos when you were learning the game? Describe the learning process. Are you self-taught?
I have never read a book or watched a training video before, ever. I learnt by playing and taking shots at playing the best, and by playing the best you learn to do the things they do, mix it with your own play, and get great more quickly.

What qualities do you think you possess that makes you a good poker player?

I really don’t know. I just have always enjoyed the game, which makes it easy to spend a lot of time thinking about the game. It helps to think over some situations when you might have not played so good and think about what you can do better next time. I’ve always been good at that.

Are you a much better player than you were in 2009? How so?

To be honest, I think I might be only slightly better in NL, but in all the other games there’s been a huge improvement since then.

How about things like game selection and bankroll management that were your downfall before?

I am always struggling with bankroll management because I take too many shots, but at the same time, these shots are how I end up getting better. I am better than I was in the past, and I am still always trying to improve with managing the roll.

Tell us about losing the biggest pot in the history of online poker, against Patrik Antonius. What do you remember about this hand? How did it feel?

I remember I was peeling the cards (looking only at the suit and pips) and I was certain I hit my straight, but it was a 5 and a 9 which means I didn’t, so was a bit – more than a bit – disappointed. But that’s how it goes.

Can you tell us a joke?

I can’t think of an appropriate one, so no.

What are your ambitions for the future?

To play better. It’s always to play better.

Tags: interviews, Viktor Blom, Isildur1