Poker Pro Viktor Blom May Owe Millions in Taxes
After a lengthy period of speculation as to who belonged to the online poker nickname Isildur1, Viktor Blom has finally admitted his association with the moniker. Not many were surprised by the confession, but the Swede may have a twinge of regret now that the government is aware his alter-ego.
Since Viktor Blom and Isildur1 have been firmly connected, Swedish tax authorities are likely to come knocking on his door in the very near future. It is no secret that Viktor won millions playing online poker, followed by a scandalous fluctuation in bankroll size, winning and losing millions in a matter of hours, days or weeks.
In fact, Viktor Blom’s online poker epithet has been involved in the 12 largest pots in the history of online poker. That’s an awful lot of cash to be floating about, seemingly on a whim, and certainly the government of Sweden would be more than happy to take their taxable share of it.
The 20 year old poker pro has avoided verifying his identity as Isildur1 for quite some time now, but that came to an end right about the time he signed an endorsement contract with PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, back in December of 2010. One of the likely stipulations of his contract was that he must reveal himself to the public, thus he divulged the true identity to a reporter at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas over the weekend.
Erik Bowman, a spokesperson for Swedish Tax Agency Skatteverket, said, “Internet poker is something that we’re looking into and I know this poker player, but I can’t comment on whether we’ve opened a case.”
Swedish authorities are already looking into possible tax evasion charges against online poker companies that allege to operate offshore, while much of their base operation are located within the country’s borders. According to the local newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, it is estimated that Blom may owe as much as $149 million (1 billion kronor) in taxes from his online poker escapades.
Blom has been playing poker since he was only 14 years old, just for the fun of playing with friends. His hobby quickly became a serious habit and by the time he was 18 Blom was spending as much as 15 hours a day playing online poker. As Viktor told PokerStarsBlog.com, “I deposited $2,000 (14,000 kronor) and within three weeks, I had $2 million.
Needless to say, Blom’s fearless style of play, and intense level of success, quickly drew the attention of the online poker community. He is now considered one of the most ferocious Heads Up No Limit Hold’em players in the world. His extremely aggressive nature has its setbacks, though.
As Isildur1, Blom lost $3.2 million to Phil Ivey over a week’s time in late 2009. Even more astonishing, he lost $4.2 million to Brian Hastings in just 5 hours. It was later discovered, however, that Hastings had cheated by colluding with two other players over a period of about 30,000 hands against Blom.