Phil Ivey has proven to be one of the best poker players of all time. The man has won over $26 million in tournaments and ten WSOP bracelets. Click to discover Ivey’s many talents!
A Million Dollar Poker Man
Every single person that has ever been interested in poker and its history knows the famous name of Mr. Phil Ivey. He might as well be the world’s best poker player of all times. In a nutshell, he has won ten World Series of Poker bracelets, is 12th on the All-time money list for poker tournaments, and owns $26.5 million he has received from his success in poker.
Aside from achievements in poker, his cash games winnings, especially in Macau, make us green with envy. The man is a natural talent, a magician of the sort. The set of skills Ivey possess is more than impressive. This leads us to the big question — should or could this man have won even more than he already has? Imagine the scenario where Phil Ivey has never gone for the baccarat tables. What if he’s never gambled before and invested all of his skills in the king of table games, his majesty, poker?
Poker Obsession Since Youth
Ivey started playing poker over twenty years ago. Since he didn’t have a proper ID, he managed to get a fake one and get inside a casino. As time went by, he got completely hooked on the game and the casino atmosphere; the obsession was so grand that young Phil did not need to eat or drink. Poker was his sustenance.
Thus, the gambling community started calling him ‘No Home Jerome,’ since he didn’t show the need to ever leave the table. His fixation went to the lengths so great that he was a fixture in the world of poker at the time. Since Ivey missed the formative years of poker, the 1970s and 1980s, he compensated for it in his late 20s by being a star of the ‘poker boom.’
Even before Moneymaker made poker the ‘hot’ thing, Phil Ivey had made quite a reputation for himself. After Moneymaker, even more money entered the game, and our poker superstar took all that he could.
Legendary Years in Ivey’s Career
In the early years of the 21st century’s first decade, between 2000 and 2005, Ivey shined brighter than the Sun. Ivey was taking prizes and titles everywhere he went. In those years, he won his first five WSOP bracelets, three of them a year before his first Moneymaker win.
Ivey didn’t win the Main Event, and yet his name instilled fear in any poker player who participated in the same events as he did. One of his greatest assets was the ability to read the opponents better than an open book. In his private life, this man stayed modest and avoided giving many interviews to the press. The higher the success he achieved, the more inaccessible his private life was to the public. And boy, did he make a name for himself! It seemed the sky was the limit in the legendary career of a person who was on the way to becoming a living myth.
A Gambler or a Professional Poker Player?
There is a common misconception that poker is a game of chance. Poker is, first and foremost, a game of skill, and it happens to be one of the most popular table games in casinos worldwide. Even if there is some luck involved, poker requires many skills from a player. You need to think fast, control your emotions, bluff your way up the ladder, and be good at reading the opponents’ bluff. This is where Ivey’s mindset worked its magic and made him the legend he is nowadays. Mother nature gave him the very best set of skills, one could only hope for in terms of playing poker.
None of Ivey’s opponents could ever remain in their comfort zone because he made sure they felt insecure. He confused other players, bluffed, and called others’ bluffs at the same time. There was no defense against the storm Ivey unleashed on other players.
He played with confidence, extraordinary discipline, and fine temperament. Indeed, he was born under a lucky star. At least, it seemed that way to those who followed his incredible career. But, alas, one can only get so far, and luck finally turned its back on Mr. Invincible.
The Great Scandal
There comes a moment in everyone’s life when luck switches sides and decides to abandon us. Phil Ivey was no exception. In 2012, he was accused of participating in ‘edge-sorting’ in order to cheat his way to the top in Crockfords Casino in London. In a nerve-wracking, scandalous trial, Ivey ended up a losing side. Even though he lost the case in the eyes of justice, his poker career continued to inspire.
After the great scandal, Ivey won only one of his ten WSOP bracelets. Even though he didn’t participate in tournaments as much, he was still present for a couple of months after the trial and then faded from the gaming scene completely. Then, in 2018, Phil Ivey returned.
A New Beginning?
Is the moral issue here whether or not Ivey should retire after the London issue? What if he had never started playing table games in the first place? How many more achievements could we have witnessed if only he had ignored the urges for quick and easy money and thrills? During the first decade of the century, Ivey had won half of his bracelets. After 2014, his collection has remained the same.
What’s the thing that keeps him away from more significant tournaments? What happened to the man once known as ‘No Home Jerome’? The years, the London scandal, or something else — we don’t know since he tends to keep his private life a secret.
Is Phil Ivey More Mature or More Modest Nowadays?
Considering that Phil Ivey knows all too well he has a knack for poker, what is preventing him from participating in big tournaments to this day? Maybe he just doesn’t have the same appetite as the ten years younger Ivey. Is the burning passion for the throne still burning, or did he extinguish that fire?
Is a Big Comeback Possible at This Point?
Imagine what would happen if Ivey focused on poker tournaments exclusively; would he be successful? Now, this is an interesting question. As we know, he has received $26.5 million in tournaments only.
Since we’ve established that this man has no need for more money, if he were to return to the World Series of Poker and his regular schedule, he would do so out of sheer love for the game. This isn’t a financial necessity for Ivey. If he had the desire to surpass Phil Hellmuth’s current record of fifteen bracelets, we are confident he could achieve this goal.
On the other hand, this might just be wishful thinking from Ivey’s fanbase. He certainly crushed our illusion that he was playing the game purely out of love because the London case showed his other side that’s chasing after the quick buck.