The Story of XBLINK: $4K to $2Million in 4 Days

The history of online poker is replete with amazing stories, and last week we came across one that deserves to be retold – that of a PLO crusher who turned $4k into $2million in just 4 days back in 2011.

By: Andrew Burnett

Perhaps even more incredibly, he had done almost the same thing two years previously, before disappearing into the mist. Meet XBLINK/XWINK, the anonymous Canadian poker beast…

The $million Rise and Disappearance of XWINK on Full Tilt Poker

It’s pretty difficult to stay anonymous in the poker world if you’re good at the game – win and everyone wants to know who you are, Isildur1 officially ‘outed’ as Viktor Blom when the big money of PokerStars came calling, for example.

That happened just two months before the astonishing $2million spike XWINK posted on Full Tilt Poker (which we’ll get to in due course), but as far as we know he hasn’t been seen since.

But we do know that he had been around the block once already, a riveting rollercoaster for poker fans to ride as his other incarnation – XBLINK – tore up the highstakes rule book on Ultimate Bet.

Around 20 deposits of $500 each had been lost in the online poker winds, leaving our hero with just $11, or so the fairytale goes. We know what happened next, because the young man behind the ‘ultimate run-up’ on Ultimate Bet told us in his own words, as user 89blist, on 2plus2.

“1. $11 tournament won 1st place —> $750 (all I had on my account, was going to redeposit if I lost the tournament)
2. $750 grinding low stakes Omaha.
3. $750 –> $4k the next day, move up to 2/4 and 3/6 PLO, then to 5/10.
4. 4k –>$16k, played 5/10 and 10/20 PLO
5. For the next 2 days, I was bouncing from $20k – $60k playing 10/20 PLO.
6. 5th day: Start 25/50 PLO, I see 6 digits now.
7. 6th day till now – play 25/50, 50/100, 100/200, 200/400 PLO, and NL when theres no PLO.
Went busto 20+ times by now for $500 each. Hope I don’t go busto this time.”

If that sounds like every poker players’ dream week, then you’d be right – and for XBLINK it weighed in at a phenomenal $1.16 million, prompting several threads and myriad articles wondering just who the hell the newbie crushing it was.

A little help from the XBLINK himself didn’t narrow things down enough, but it opened almost everyone’s eyes in disbelief.

‘Just a little bit about myself, I'm from Vancouver and I played poker for about 2 years. I only started online recently. I'm not isildur1 (lol?) and I don't have other poker accounts. I'm just a new guy playing nosebleeds.’

How soft were those games if 2 years play could put you on top of the world? Or was it the ‘sick heater’ that many thought’? Or something much more shady, Ultimate Bet and its sister site Absolute Poker both having super-user scandals and eventually screwing their own players out of $50million.

We’d never find out, XBLINK disappearing just after Christmas 2009, $1million to the good, never to be heard of again…

Well, not quite…


That, poker friends, is one of the quickest hit-and-runs you’ll ever see in online poker, and just like his sick Ultimate Bet run it up performance, it took just a few days to get there.

A quick dabble in 2010 and then boom! March 3rd 2011, just 5 weeks before Black Friday ripped the heart out of the game, XBLINK - now XWINK – did it all again, and gave the short version of it on 2plus2 once more…

A) 4k --> 2 mil in 4 days. Did this with my excellent bankroll management skills.
B) Lose 1.2 mil in one day.
C) Sit around with remainder, probably cash out half a mil or something.
D) Will continue to play to entertain you guys.

$1.2million came from a marathon session playing the likes of Rui Cao, David Benefield, and Andreas "skjervoy" Torbergsen at $300/$600 and $500/$1,000 PLO.

The latter accounted for XWINK’s biggest recorded pot, a $420k beast that saw XWINK flop a set and river quads to take both runouts…

…while Patrik Antonius and Daniel Jungleman12 Cates were among his other opponents as the nosebleed battles entered a second week.

It couldn’t last, of course, because it never does, and as we saw with Isildur several times, when it crashes to earth it leaves a massive crater – in XWINK’s case, a $1.2million crater in a single day.

Phil Ivey, Cole South and Cates himself grabbed a chunk of XWINK’s winnings, Alexey NoPasaran Makarov also cutting a slice of tasty highstakes pie.

Even after this revenge beating at the tables by online poker’s heaviest crew, there was still $457k and change in XWINK’s pockets – and it was time to disappear once again.

We’re pretty sure we know who XWINK and XBLINK wasn’t, but unless we are all missing something very obvious, we have never worked out who this double-flash $million online crusher really was.


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