Phil Ivey: Top Poker Player In The World

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Known as the “Tiger Woods of Poker” or “No Home Jerome”, Phil Ivey is lately hyped as the online poker industry’s best hope for legalization in the US. He began to play poker at the telemarketing company where he worked, mainly against his co-workers. 

As he began working as a telemarketing salesman, he took theory to practice and began exploring poker- and beat his comrades. In order to get into the Atlantic City casinos, he crafted a fake ID, a practice which eventually landed him another nickname: No Home Jerome.

If you sit down at a table with Phil Ivey, you are most likely going to notice his aggressive style. Most people will agree that it is very difficult to read Phil Ivey's face. He looks almost a bit sad even in jackpot situations and if you try to get to him, you may have to scream sometimes, as he sticks firmly to his iPod. Besides the Apple wear, he is a Los Angeles NBA fan, so don't be surprised if you see a team jersey on his body.

Considered the best poker player in the world by most experts, Ivey is a regular at the nosebleed cash game tables on Full Tilt poker, where it’s estimated that a big parf of his revenue comes from. Despite his affinity for cash games, he’s certainly no push over when in comes to tournaments.

Phil Ivey won his very first WSOP bracelet when he was 23 and was able to beat old school poker legend Amarillo Slim in the pot-limit Omaha poker event of 2000. Only 2 years later, in 2002, he won 3 WSOP bracelets in one year. In 2005, Phil Ivey won another Bracelet (his 5th) in a $5,000 Omaha event and made a cool $1 million when he won the Monte Carlo Millions tournament. This wasn't enough for Phil Ivey, so the next day he played a Full Tilt Invitational Tournament in Monte Carlo and won another $600,000.

He has no fewer than 8 WSOP bracelets and 35 WSOP money finishes. He won an impressive number of 3 bracelets in 2002, and secured PL Omaha bracelets in 2000 and 2005. In 2009 he added a further 2 bracelets to his collection and he’s set to play for all the marbles on Nov 9th at the Main Event’s final table. Main Event-wise he has been wildly successful too. He finished in the top 25 four times, from 2002 to 2009. Totaling over 13 million dollar in tournament prize money.

Besides being at the tables, poker pro Phil Ivey promotes his favorite online poker site Full Tilt Poker. Luckily, he sometimes plays in low stake tournaments as well, to give everyone an honest chance to beat the professional.

Nowadays, Phil Ivey prefers regular cash games with very high stakes. He is without a doubt a fierce tournament player, but his thirst is usually quenched outside of WSOP and WPT. Despite this, you are often likely to find him at the largest tournaments. After all, that's where you can score a dollar or so.

Transcending the world of poker, Ivey routinely hangs out with the likes of Jay-Z, P. Diddy and Michael Phelps. His lifestyle is as high-tone as that of any movie, pop or sports star. Via televised tournaments, a handful of well-known poker shows, and commercials promoting Full Tilt, Phil Ivey gets as much TV exposure as many an actor.

Nevertheless, he wears his prominence as casually as other players wear their logoed baseball caps. “I’ve never been too interested in fame; I didn’t see the point and I figured I might as well stay under the radar, Even now, I’m not really famous. I’m just a poker player and pretty comfortable”. Says poker pro Phil Ivey.

Intentionally or not, Phil Ivey stokes the public's fascination by maintaining a quiet mystique that the more vociferous Phil Hellmuths and Mike Matusows of the world can’t even imagine. And Ivey backs it up like nobody else. His skills as an online poker player are incontestable – according to website, Phil Ivey won more than $6.5m playing online poker in 2009 – he happily antes up in the biggest cash games available, and, even though he usually buys into only the richest tournaments.

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