In the world of poker, when someone mentions the name Phil Ivey, most people would throw out a flurry of various topics surrounding the controversial and mysterious poker pro. However, whatever they say, Phil Ivey is still considered as one of the world's best poker players of today.
Under his belt already Phil Ivey has 1 WPT title, 8 WSOP bracelets and 9 final tables, with an estimate of more than $16,000,000 in live tournament earnings (excluding online poker and cash game winnings). At age 33, he was the youngest player ever to win 8 bracelets, and he is also the player in poker history who has acquired bracelets in the shortest period of time.
The early times in the life of Phil Ivey
On February 1, 1976, Phillip Dennis Ivey Jr. was born in Riverside, California. When he was just 3 months of age, his family moved to Roselle, New Jersey.
When Ivey was 17 years old, he was employed at a telemarketing company in New Jersey. This was the time of his life when he began to regularly sneak into Atlantic City's card rooms to play poker, and showing a fake ID named Jerome Graham. It surely wasn't a cake walk for him, because he had to endure a 2-hour bus ride to Atlantic City and another 2 hours to go back home. Daily for 2 years, he endured this ordeal.
On the East Coast back in the 1990s, Atlantic City was in its heyday as a gambling center. Other states that time did not yet have casinos, and online poker was not available yet at that time. Because of that, many talented players swarmed in Atlantic City, and that includes true blue poker professionals.
Of course, just like most normal humans, Phil Ivey actually used to be super bad at playing poker before he turned into a successful pro. Other famous players (which are also Ivey's friends up to this day) such as Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu were amazed at his transformation - he was so bad before that Ivey was deemed a "sucker" at a table. Many times he lost money and his opponents were happy to take it away from him. Greenstein observed that Ivey played too loose and got himself in bad spots during a game. Negreanu noticed that Ivey opted to play almost every hand, which is not a wise decision to win money on a table.
When Ivey reached 22 years old, Negreanu then noticed something new about him - Ivey casts a stare into the eyes of his opponents during a game, giving them chills - a stare that also became his trademark. This stare seemingly makes the recipient feel that his soul is being looked into. With Ivey's trademark stare, his opponents have a hard time putting him on a hand or trying to bluff him. True that he had been an initially bad player at 17, but since then as he played more hands, he learned more about the game, his mistakes, studied his opponents, and the more he played against various styles, he effectively mastered his game.
Ivey on the professional poker field
Next that Ivey did was to join the world of professional poker gaming, along with other pros like Allen Cunningham, John Juanda and Daniel Negreanu. The four players traveled together and at the same time deconstructed their plays. Because Ivey was a loose-aggressive type of player and Juanda was reserved in his style of play, they've had amazing discussions and learned valuable techniques because they were polar opposites in the world of poker.
All of the knowledge and debates shared amongst players have definitely paid off. When Greenstein had to face against Ivey at the WSOP Main Event in 2002, he said that Ivey's play had completely metamorphosed as he was completely different from the young teen player named "Jerome" in Atlantic City.
Phil Ivey finally got the recognition he deserves when he won his first WSOP bracelet in 2000, and from then on, he has been making his mark on every cash game and tournament he plays on. He relentlessly tries to confuse his opponents, so much that some are either intimidated at playing against him, or many have decided to throw away better hands out of respect for his poker prowess.
Phil Ivey Today
Any news on Phil Ivey's whereabouts as the 2017 WSOP is ongoing always piques up any poker fan's interest. As of now in this year's WSOP, the 41-year-old did not play in any of the events, not even the $10,000 Buy-in World Championship Main Event.
Reports say that Phil Ivey has been spending his sweet time playing the big cash games in the prestigious Bobby's Room in Bellagio, and the games are so juicy and intense there was even interesting news saying that his ‘bodyguard' body slammed another in the room.
If you wish to look deeper into Phil Ivey's history and if you're a fan, the article entitled "Phil Ivey's Semi-Bluff" is surely going to be an eye-opener; however, please know that it doesn't answer the reason why Ivey skipped this year's WSOP.
Most people think that the most probable reason as to why Ivey did not participate in the WSOP events is that his £7.8 million edge-sorting case against Crockfords Casino is being reviewed by the Supreme Court, and his presence is required. Because of this, he is unable to play at this year's WSOP Main Event.
Even though he is absent in this year's WSOP tables, he is still a very strong candidate for 2017's Poker Hall of Fame.