“Ziigmund”: The Finnish Poker Star Who Was the Best Trash Talker of an Era2 months ago
The poker community ought to be extremely grateful to Finland. A nation of only 5.5 million people has given us no end of talented poker players over the last two decades, many of them playing a fan-friendly aggressive style that is incredibly entertaining. One after the other the Finns were searching for the “Paras pokerisivusto” to get grinding and emulating their heroes.
It’s probably true that Finnish people are, on the whole, of a more reserved character; not loud or brash, for example. But there is one player not fitting that description who will spring to mind of those who remember the glory days of the poker boom: Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies. In the days of classic TV poker there was nobody around who had such a sharp tongue, and this even extended to the online game.
Cult HeroThere was nobody else like Ziigmund. He said exactly what he felt like saying without caring what anybody thought. He had that typically aggressive style used by many of his fellow countrymen and wasn’t afraid to take anybody on.
It’s fair to say that his career peaked in 2009 when he was close to posting a $7 million profit from cash games alone. While maybe he wasn’t viewed as accomplished as somebody like Tom Dwan or Victor Blom coming through the ranks, he was still definitely a top player.
His career did start to die down after Black Friday in April 2011. Actually, the month before he dropped an eye watering $6 million, almost wiping out all of his recorded profit, but he didn’t disappear into retirement entirely. Sahamies just simply didn’t look to have the same enthusiasm for what was going to be a totally new era of poker, both live and online.
As funny as some videos of him appearing drunk while playing have been, it was thought that in a tougher era of poker he would never be able to compete without raising his level of professionalism.
Family ManThe now 37-year-old Ilari Sahamies doesn’t really play much poker anymore. We don’t know of him playing online much and his live tournament schedule pretty much consists of only €1,000 MTTs in Finland, with only a couple of cashes in EPT events in the last decade.
It looks like his focus has fully transitioned to that of a family man. Playing house with his girlfriend and young son has more appeal than grinding at the tables. The days of million dollar swings and $700k pots are a thing of the past.
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