With the reopening – for those in the “rest of the world” but not in the United States – of Full Tilt Poker only three weeks away, the new ownership of the site, PokerStars, is firming up their sponsored players roster with the signing of Swedish poker sensation Viktor ‘isildur1’ Blom and United States online wunderkind Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan to represent the site.
Set for the relaunch on November 6, the signings of Blom and Dwan to their former positions with the new Full Tilt Poker bring the total to three players that have returned to the fold. Earlier this month, Gus Hansen was announced as the first player to earn a sponsorship deal from the new FTP, a position that, like Blom and Dwan, he had held previously under the old ownership. The squad of players that will eventually represent Full Tilt will not have the familiar “Team Full Tilt” moniker, but instead will be called “The Professionals.”
Full Tilt Poker’s new head of marketing, Same Lightman, commented following the announcement of Blom and Dwan’s signings, “The game of poker is always evolving. Through our continual innovations, Full Tilt Poker is proud to have been at the forefront of that evolution. In choosing our Pros, we approached the three poker players whose unique and innovative styles have had the most impact on how modern poker is played.”
While Hansen had been a long known commodity in the poker world when he first signed with FTP upon its inception, Dwan was the last player who was signed to become an official member of “Team Full Tilt” before the site’s collapse last year. Using the online handle ‘durrrr,’ Dwan became one of the most notable names in the online poker world, known for his high stakes cash game play against some of the most difficult opposition in the world. His “durrrr Challenge” (which ran on FTP) saw him face off against Patrik Antonius, although a resolution of the conflict was never achieved due to the departure of FTP from the online poker arena.
As a live player, Dwan has had considerable success but has yet to break into the win column in a major tournament. Since his first cash in a tournament in 2005 in a European Poker Tour event (at the time, Dwan was still too young to legally enter an American casino), Dwan has gone on to earn slightly more than $2.1 million while being viewed as one of the most difficult poker professionals in the game today.
Blom’s road to poker superstardom is along the lines of Dwan’s trip to the top. Once a mysterious online player only known as ‘isildur1,’ Blom routinely took on – and beat – some of the biggest names in the game on the nosebleed stakes cash tables. A part of the ten biggest online poker pots in history, it wasn’t until 2010 that the mystery of ‘isildur1’ was solved when he signed a sponsorship deal with PokerStars, a partnership that lasted until August of this year.
While Blom has enjoyed envious success on the virtual felt, his live tournament success has been somewhat of a mixed bag. In January, he won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure’s Super High Roller tournament for a $1.25 million score, but his highest payday other than that tournament was a 14th place finish at this year’s World Series of Poker’s $50K Poker Players Championship event for slightly over $105,000. Still, there are a plethora of players who would like to have $1.5 million in earnings from tournament poker since 2010 alongside their online earnings.
The signings of “The Professionals” may give some insight as to what direction the new Full Tilt Poker may be heading. Although Hansen, Blom and Dwan have had significant success in the live tournament world, it has been their constant battles at the high stakes online tables that have drawn considerable attention from the poker community. With other major sites eliminating such high stakes play, it could be something that the new Full Tilt Poker is looking for to make their niche in a competitive marketplace.