Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey is considered the best poker player in the word, and by many, the best to ever play the game. He’s known for his versatility, not only winning hundreds of thousands of dollars at the cash tables, but for winning at least one World Series of Poker bracelet in each game category. He’s also known for his creative, expressionless play, for winning millions of dollars playing poker, and for his love of gambling in general.

With this said, our poker biographies section just wouldn’t be complete without a write up on Phil Ivey.

A Brief Look into Phil Ivey’s Life

Phil Ivey was born on February 1st, 1976 in California. His family moved to New Jersey just shortly after and that’s where he spent his childhood and teenage years.

Ivey started to play poker in the 1990s, first getting started playing against his co-workers at his telemarketing job. He later transitioned to the Atlantic City casinos. The only thing was, he wasn’t old enough to play. So he used a fake ID to get in. This lead to him being given the nickname, No Home Jerome.

He built up his bankroll in Atlantic City and then moved to Las Vegas, where he lives now. He was married to high school sweetheart, Luciaette, but they filed for divorce in 2009 after 7 years of marriage.

Tournament Scores, Awards, Results, Etc.

Being as this is Phil Ivey, he has numerous tournament scores, awards, etc. Too many for us to wade through and handpick. So here are his World Series of Poker bracelet wins instead.

  • 2000    $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha - $195,000
  • 2002    $2,500 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo - $118,440
  • 2002    $2,000 S.H.O.E. - $107,540
  • 2002    $1,500 7 Card Stud - $132,000
  • 2005    $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha - $635,603
  • 2009    $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball - $96,367
  • 2009    $2,500 Omaha Hi/Lo / 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo - $220,538
  • 2010    $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. - $329,840
  • 2013A $2,200 Mixed Event - A$51,840

What you should take away from his bracelet wins (other than he’s a sick poker player) is how each of his bracelets are in a different game. Ironically, he doesn’t even have a bracelet in a holdem only event. The ability to play each game well enough to beat other (pro) players, let alone win tournaments, is what stands him head and shoulders above the rest.

Ivey’s tournament winnings now exceed $17 million, as of 2013. $5 million of that comes from WSOP scores. He has 9 World Poker Tour (WPT) final tables and $3 million in earnings, too. Overall he’s 4th on the All Time Money List.

Although Ivey has crushed tournaments, he’s just as known (if not more so) for his cash game play. He’s a regular in The Big Game at the Bellagio, which has stakes as high as $4,000/$8,000. He was also a regular in the high stakes games at Full Tilt Poker where he reportedly won more than $15 million over the course of 4-5 years.

Ivey is so good, in fact, that he single handedly won $16 million from Billionaire Andy Beal over the course of 3 days. He played heads up against Beal for stakes as high as $50,000/$100,000 as apart of The Corporation, a group of poker players that pooled their resources together to play the billionaire banker.

Unsurprisingly, Phil Ivey is considered to be a lock for the Poker Hall of Fame when he meets the minimum age requirement (40).

What’s Phil Ivey Doing Today?

Ivey is busy, to say the least.

Currently he’s in a legal dispute with Crockford’s, a casino in London. Apparently Ivey went their with an Asian friend to play punto banco (baccarat in the USA). He reportedly won $12 million. However, although he was given a receipt for his winnings, the casino has not paid him. They think he cheated. According to Ivey:

"I was given a receipt for my winnings, but Crockfords has withheld payment," Ivey said in a statement. "I have no alternative but to take legal action." His lawyers filed suit against Crockfords to return the nearly $12 million in winnings to Ivey. In the statement, issued by his lawyers, Ivey said, "The fact that I have issued a lawsuit in the face of what they are alleging says everything about how comfortable I am with my conduct and the validity of my win.”

Crockfords uses cards with a design that continues to the edge of the card, creating a distinction from one card to the next. The casino has stated that Ivey used this to his advantage, asking the dealer to shuffle and rotate the cards in such a way so that he can see the patterns. They claim that he even asked for an Asian dealer so his friend can communicate with him.

So did he cheat? Does he deserve the winnings? Will he get paid?

Only time will tell. From my research apparently Ivey is known to angle shoot from time-to-time. In one situation I read about Ivey hustled poker pro Ram Vaswani out of $1 million playing golf. It took several years for him to get paid. So we’ll have to wait to see what happens.

Other than that, Ivey has started Ivey Poker, a poker training site with an emphasis on social media. This site is open to Americans, too, since it isn’t based on real money. Instead, you buy chips to play with instead. You can win prizes, send gifts to other players and play with other pros like Jennifer Harman. It’s available on mobile devices, too.

Outside of poker Ivey participates in charities, plays video games and enjoys sports, like golf, basketball and football. His favorite teams are the LA Lakers, Houston Rockets and the Buffalo Bills. He also enjoys gambling on a number of things including prop bets, golf games, Chinese poker and sports.

5 Facts About Phil Ivey

Here are some interesting facts about Phil Ivey.

1. His other nickname is The Tiger Woods of Poker. I’m not 100% sure why, although I can speculate. He is one of the few known black poker players (let alone the best). He’s at the top of his sport, like Tiger Woods is. And he enjoys golf. Maybe it’s a combination of all 3?!

2. Phil Ivey makes mistakes, too. At the 2009 WSOP Main Event Ivey folded the best a hand (a flush). After he and his opponent checked all 3 streets, the river brought 4 cards to a flush. His opponent rivered an ace, and Ivey didn’t realize that he had a flush and mucked his hand. – It didn’t hurt him too bad, though, he still went on to make the Main Event final table.

3. Phil Ivey has wagered, and lost, as much $2 million on the Lakers winning the championship in 2008.

4. Phil Ivey won 3 bracelets in 2002, tying him for most bracelets won in a year with Phil Hellmuth and Ted Forrest.

5. In a 1-on-1 fight with Chuck Norris, Phil Ivey would win – blindfolded.