Poker Pro Profile – Ilari ‘Ziigmund’ Sahamies
Ilari ‘Ziigmund’ Sahamies
Finnish high-stakes poker legend Ilari Sahamies, better known by his Full Tilt Poker alias ‘Ziigmund’, was born in Helsinki in 1983. As a youngster he excelled in sports, particularly soccer and wrestling. As he grew older and became a teenager his interest shifted to the popular game of billiards and he went on to win the Finnish Junior Championships twice. Soon his interest would change again however, and it would prove to be the best change of his life.
After watching a television programme about Texas Hold’em, Ziigmund was intrigued and asked his billiard friends if they knew of the game. They did, and Ziigmund found himself being invited to Patrik Antonius’ home for a game of poker!
Soon poker would dominate his life and his love for the game was detracting his attention from his school studies.
Eventually, despite regularly skipping school to play poker, Ziigmund graduated but instead of seeking further education he immediately hit the Grand Casino Helsinki to play their cash games. At only 18-years old he became a regular face at the Casino and he found himself crushing the Pot-Limit Omaha games.
In 2002 Ziigmund turned to internet poker and joined several European poker sites. He began at the $0.25/$0.50 NLHE and PLO games and almost immediately began playing higher and higher, often above his bankroll which is why he went broke several times. Determined to make it, Ziigmund began grinding again and would play for as much as 15 hours a day multi-tabling. Soon he was crushing the games just like he was in the Casino and he became feared and well-known for his super-aggressive style.
In 2006 the high stake games dried up on the European poker sites with most players either refusing to play against Ziigmund, or moving to Full Tilt Poker which began hosting the largest games available online. Ziigmund created an account and immediately made an impact showing he was fearless and became well-known for his funny chat in the chat box as well as his drunken rants.
So far, 2009 has been by far Ziigmund’s most exciting poker year. First he became the face of new internet poker site Power Poker where he regularly plays with a bounty on his head. He also took part in Season 5 of ‘High Stakes Poker’ as well as taking on Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan in London in the second match of the ‘live durrrr challenge’ which saw him lose $68k.
The year 2009 has also see him earn his two largest tournament cashes. Firstly he finished runner-up at the Helsinki Poker Championships for $170,434, then in September 2009 he final tabled the EPT London High Roller event for $117,804. These are relatively small numbers to Ziigmund however. While he was in Las Vegas for the 2009 WSOP he was seated in Bobby’s Room playing against the best high stakes poker players in the world and he later admitted to playing two of the largest pots of his life. The first pot was worth $1.7 million which he won, however the second pot was worth $2.4 million and he lost that to close friend Patrik Antonius despite them running it twice. Online Ziigmund has been just as successful and at the time of writing this he is up $6,621,001 for 2009 alone!
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