Phil Ivey has won ten bracelets at the World Series of Poker bracelets between 2000 and 2014. He was also victorious at the 2008 World Poker Tour Main Event in Los Angeles, three major Aussie Millions Poker Championships in Melbourne, as well as numerous other high paying events. This American-born poker pro has earned more than $38 million in live tournament earnings, making him the ninth most successful tournament poker player on the all-time money list. He was elected into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017 and was named one of the Top 50 Players in poker history in June 2019.

Phil Ivey is regarded by many as one of the best all-around poker players in the world and has the accolades to match.

About “the Tiger Woods of Poker”

Phillip Dennis Ivey Jr. was born in California,but soon moved to upstate New Jersey where he was raised in a modest lifestyle. He was first introduced to poker at eight years old by his grandfather, who taught him how to play five-card stud, and would make things a bit more interesting by occasionally throwing pennies into the pot. At fourteen, Phil learned more about gambling and calculating odds playing the dice game Cee-Lo.

Ivey continued his poker journey by playing against his peers at a telemarketing company in the late 90s. Ivey soon discovered he was not only a good salesman, but also a talented card player.

In Atlantic City, New Jersey, Phil earned the nickname ‘No Home Jerome’ from the fake ID he used, coupled with the occasional night he spent sleeping under the boardwalk. Phil admitted that he had his swings playing poker and going broke was a common occurrence, but it never bothered him. He was incredibly grateful that he was playing poker for a living.

In 2012, Ivey was involved in a litigation after he won over $10 million playing Punto Banco Baccarat at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. He was accused of cheating using a method of edge sorting, exploiting subtle inconsistencies on the backs of the casino cards.  A legal battle ensued, in which the Borgata Hotel Casino won. When the legal battle was over, Ivey and the Borgata settled for an unspecified amount less than what Ivey won.

These days, he is still playing regularly in Asia, particularly in Macau, but poker isn’t his main focus in life. His mental and physical health has taken priority and he is dedicating more time to his family. He still enjoys the game and has expressed interest in going back to Vegas to play in more WSOP tournaments. He would like to become the number one bracelet winner one day, but isn’t going to make it his number one priority, like he would have five or six years ago.

Ivey is a big sports fan, supporting the L.A. Lakers, Houston Rockets and Buffalo Bills, and can often be seen wearing team jerseys during his public appearances. Among his hobbies, Phil enjoys yoga, meditation and golf.

Tournament Poker

World Series of Poker

Even if Ivey is less focused now on tournaments and more on cash games, he is a very successful tournament player. Among his ten bracelets, he won three of them in 2002 at the World Series of Poker and tied Walter ‘Puggy’ Pearson, Phil Hellmuth and Ted Forrest in the category for most wins in a year. Two more came from wins in Pot Limit Omaha, one in 2000 and the other in 2005. Ivey earned his sixth and seventh bracelets at the 2009 WSOP when he won the Deuce to Seven Single Draw event and the Omaha/Seven Card Stud HL/8 or Better event. At the 2010 WSOP, Ivey won his eighth bracelet in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event.

Ivey was also very successful in the Main Event. From 2002 to 2005 he placed in the Top 25 three times, despite the number of participants growing every year. In 2009, Ivey made the final table of the Main Event and was part of the November Nine. He finished seventh and received more than $1.4 million in prize money.

Since 2013, WSOP tournaments have also been held outside of America and Europe. At the 2013 World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific, Ivey won the $2,200 mixed match against 80 other players, securing $51,840AUD and his ninth bracelet. Ivey won his tenth and most recent bracelet in June 2014, beating 484 other players in the $1,500 8-Game Mix.

Ivey has cashed 76 times at the WSOP and only Phil Hellmuth can lay the claim to have won more World Series of Poker gold bracelets.

Ivey at the World Poker Tour

On November 20, 2005, Ivey won the $1 million grand prize at the Monte Carlo Millions. Just five days later, on November 25th, he won the top prize of $600,000 in a tournament hosted by Full Tilt, televised live from Monte-Carlo. The other six players in this televised event were Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, Chris Ferguson, Dave Ulliott and John Juanda.

At the 2006 Main Event of the European Poker Tour, Ivey sat at the final table, finishing second in Barcelona and received €371,000 for his efforts. Throughout that season of the World Poker Tour, Ivey made nine final tables.

He won the Poker Classics in February 2008 in Los Angeles, achieving his only WPT title and almost $1.6 million.

At the Aussie Millions Poker Championship in Melbourne in January 2010, he finished second behind Dan Shak in the $100,000 Challenge for $600,000AUD, giving Ivey a temporary lead on the money list. At the same location, he won the $250,000AUD Challenge three times in 2012, 2014 and 2015. These achievements earned him over $8 million AUD.

In early September 2012, Ivey finished eighth in a Super High Roller in Macau for the equivalent of over $800,000. In January 2016, he received approximately $650,000 for his fifth place finish at a Triton Poker Series event in the Philippines.

In 2018, after going two years without cashing in a tournament, Ivey won the opening tournament of the Triton Series, a short deck ante-only event, in Budva, Montenegro, for the equivalent of over $600,000. Five days later, he took third place in the same type of tournament for over $1.6 million in prize money.

In October 2019, Ivey finished second in a €100,000 Short Deck Super High Roller at King’s Resort in Rozvadov, earning almost €830,000. He cashed four times at the partypoker Live Millions Super High Roller Series in Sochi in March 2020 including winning Event #7 for $850,000.

Cash games

Ivey is a regular in “The Big Game,” a $4,000/$8,000 mixed cash game which takes place at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas strip.

In February 2006, he played Limit Texas Hold’em against Texas billionaire Andrew Beal for $50,000 and $100,000 stakes. Ivey reportedly won a total of $16 million over three days while playing for “The Corporation,” a group of professional poker players who pooled their money to play against Beal back-to-back. After losing to Ivey, Beal announced (not for the first time) that he was quitting poker.

About the Author: UnleqitPsycho is a 22 year old poker player living in Cologne, Germany. He started playing poker at 18 and can be found mainly playing MTT’s and Spin & Golds.