Thursday, June 11, 2009
Phil Ivey Wins WSOP Event #8: 2-7 No Limit
The 40th anniversary of the World Series of Poker was the overriding theme coming into the 2009 edition: a celebration of the game, its people and its history. The plan coming in was to trumpet the tournament's legacy and poker's as a whole. Little did the organizers know, however, how quickly the present would come to the forefront in the form of victory for a man who may eventually go down as the greatest player ever to ruffle chips.
Phil Ivey is the present. On Thursday night, the former Atlantic City regular added to his legend and lore by winning his sixth WSOP bracelet, taking down Event 8, $2,500 no-limit deuce-to-seven draw. The win, which netted Ivey a $96,361 payout, made him the youngest player to win six bracelets and moved him into a seventh-place tie on the all-time bracelet list with T.J. Cloutier, Layne Flack, Jay Heimowitz and Men Nguyen.
Ivey emerged victorious from a seven-player final table that saw his stack go as low as $65,000 of the $1.11 million in play with six players left. He was again threatened with elimination when his stack dropped to $100,000 with three players remaining and once more when he got it all-in with a draw in a tough heads-up match against veteran Los Angeles cash game pro John Monette. Monette, who was looking for his first WSOP bracelet, won $59,587.
Ask any educated follower of the game to name its best player, and "Ivey" is the most likely name to escape their lips. Such witnesses as Doyle Brunson and Daniel Negreanu have given testimony to this effect. If he wanted it, Ivey would be the most famous poker player in the world. The truth, though, is that he has no use or desire for fame.
Reputed to have a stratospheric bankroll well over nine figures, Ivey is a fiercely private man who's proved so good at poker and business that he hasn't found a need for endorsement dollars. His bankroll runs deep enough that he supposedly won some $3 million in proposition bets by winning this bracelet in 2009.
"There are some disappointed people in Bobby's Room," Ivey said after the win, referring to those who bet against him.
While Ivey may not want fame, his accomplishments demand attention. Six bracelets (three of them coming in 2002), 30 WSOP cashes, a WPT victory in one of eight final table appearances, the most successful online record of anyone at cyberspace's highest stakes and massive reported success in his bread-and-butter live cash games … all at the age of 33. As the WSOP celebrates its history, it also celebrates history in the making. Ivey's feat is the just the latest development in a WSOP that seems to be rewarding the game's best players and creating high drama by the night.
- Gary Wise ESPN.com