Look closely at the face above. He is staring at you. He sees your face. He sees your eyes. He sees your hands, your lips, every breath you take is registered. He is looking into your soul. He is looking through your hole cards. Look again closely, because its the last thing that you will ever see at the poker table before losing all your chips: the unrelenting gaze of the inimitable Phil Ivey.
In historic fashion, Phil has made the final table of the 2009 WSOP Main event, beating out a field of 6,494 for one of the final 9 spots. Like last year the final table of the Main Event wont be played until November. This gives the media plenty of time to hype up the event and the players time to pick up endorsement contracts. While Phil isnt even close to being a big stack (he has almost 10M in chips, the leader has almost 60M), many winners in years past, such as Joe Hachem, have won the event entering into the final table with a short stack. While winning the Main Event would be a fairy tale for Ivey, who is considered by all relevant parties to be the best all around poker player in the world, just making the final table is undoubtedly an historic achievement in its own right.
Many people think that Dan Harrignton making the final table in back to back years is one of the most impressive feats in WSOP history, but consider this: Ivey has made the final 30 players of the Main Event in 4 of the last 8 years, and has made the final 10 twice! (He bubbled the final table in 2003). Also, consider that Ivey has already won two WSOP bracelets this year, and its hard to argue that this isnt the most impressive WSOP performance weve ever seen. Stu Unger may have won the thing twice in a row back when the field was under 100 players - but what Ivey has done in 2009 is just unprecedented. No matter what happens at this final table, Ivey is making an increasingly powerful case for being the all time greatest player to ever play the game of poker.