Phil Ivey: The best in the business today
At this particular moment in time, there is no poker player better than Phil Ivey. Most will agree to that statement. Phil Ivey is known as the “Tiger Woods of Poker”, and resides permanently in Las Vegas. This young poker player has already had a colourful career which spans big wins of millions of dollars, a speck of controversy, multiple world records and lawsuits! Despite all of that, Phil Ivey is still the best in the business today.
The Young Poker Player
Phil Ivey was born in Riverside, California, but moved to Roselle, New Jersey when he was no more than a couple of months old. Phil Ivey didn’t start out as a world class poker player, but he was a talented teenager. In those teenage years, he’d plied his trade and earned the nickname “No Home Jerome” due to an ID card he used to play in Atlantic City.As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until he began playing poker with co-workers over at telemarketing firm in New Brunswick, New Jersey, that his true talent began to emerge.
His Debut and Three Bracelets
In 2002, Phil Ivey finally began to make a name for himself in the poker world. Although he did not win the Main Event, Phil Ivey’s appearance as the 2002 World Series of Poker was still quite exceptional. Ivey pocketed $132,000 in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud preliminary event at the World Series of Poker, as well as $118,440 in the $2,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event. Ivey would also win the $2,000 S.H.O.E. event, pocketing a further $107,540, and finishing twenty-third in the main event, which saw him pocket a final $40,000 prize. The breakthrough year made Ivey, and he instantly joined the record for the most WSOP bracelets in one year, going level with Phil Hellmuth Jr, Ted Forrest and Puggy Pearson (although Jeff Lisandro has since joined them on three apiece).
World Series of Poker Success
Ivey has consistently been a major part of the World Series of Poker tournaments, and many would argue that he is part of the reason why televised poker became so popular in the early 2000s. Ivey has appeared in the top 25 of the main event, four times in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2009. His highest finish to date was seventh in 2009.
That year, Ivey won his sixth WSOP bracelet, beating 147 other players in the $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Event. He then battered another 376 people in the $2,500 1/2 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo 1/2 Omaha Hi/Lo event, pocketing another bracelet.
In 2010, Ivey would go on to win his eighth bracelet is the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. More recently, Phil Ivey has gone on to win $166,986 in the 41,500 Eight Game Mix event at the 2014 World Series of Poker tournament.
Record-Breaker Phil Ivey
Currently, Phil Ivey is tied with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan for the second-most World Series of Poker bracelets, at 10 each in total. At just 38, Phil Ivey is also the youngest ever player to win 10 bracelets, given that Phil Hellmuth was 42 when he did it. Phil Ivey also accumulated all ten bracelets 3 years quicker than any other player, and he has more bracelets in hold’em events than any other player. Other records that Phil Ivey holds include being the winner of the most mixed-game bracelets. Rather comically, Phil Ivey has also been eliminated from several World Poker Tour events by holding the same hand each time: an ace and a queen.
Phil Ivey was responsible for part of the design of Full Tilt Poker. Despite being a member of the design team, Ivey still filed a lawsuit claiming that Full Tilt Poker had breached his contract in May 2011. He also demanded $150 million in damages, as well as to be released from his contract. Rather unsurprisingly, he withdrew the lawsuit two months later. Phil Ivey was also renowned as a player on the Full Tilt Poker website, winning $1.99 million in 2007, $7.34 million a year later, $6.33 million in 2009 and $3 million in 2010.
Phil Ivey and Lawsuits
Phil Ivey’s rise has not been without controversy. In 2012, Ivey claimed to have won £7.3 million playing Punto Banco at Crockfords in London. He was denied payment though, beyond the £1 million stake, due to edge sorting. Naturally, he denied all misconduct. They weren’t the only ones to file complaints against the poker champion. In 2014, Borgata Casino in Atlantic City also sued Phil Ivey, claiming that he cheated on baccarat by using a defect in the manufacture of the cards to his advantage. Both casinos used the same cards, which were made by Gemaco. Gemaco have also been sued by the Borgata Casino as a result.
In October 2014, a UK court ruled against Phil Ivey, saying that the method he used to determine the cards based on their edges, did indeed constitute cheating. The two events haven’t tarnished Ivey’s reputation, though they certainly haven’t helped it.
Phil Ivey Today
Today, Phil Ivey is regularly competing in poker tournaments across the globe, such as the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, and others. He is a massive basketball fan and enjoys golf. He and his wife divorced in 2009, and Ivey is known for his generosity in donating to charitable organisations. More recently, Ivey also founded two companies to train poker players. In 2012, he created a “play for free poker” application, which allowed players to compete against him and other professional poker players. The application is known as Ivey Poker. He also launched a poker training site called Ivey League in 2014. This poker site offers professional poker coaching from the best in the business and is predicted to be a huge hit at this moment in time.
Despite losing his court case to Crockfords, many people still feel as though Ivey was hard-done by. They feel as though Ivey simply used the cards to his advantage, just like casinos have advantages in their favour, so many feel as though it doesn’t technically constitute cheating. The verdict of the court case still stands, though, and Ivey is unlikely to appeal.