Phil Ivey: The Tiger Woods of Poker

Born in 1976, in Riverside, California, Phil Ivey is one of the most easily recognizable faces of the professional poker world.

As he was only three months old, his family moved to Absecon, New Jersey where he’d grow up. He showed a keen interest in poker from an early age, and often played in Atlantic City casinos having gained access with false ID cards. He also played against his colleagues at a telemarketing company he worked for in New Brunswick.


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Besides Poker, Phil Ivey also enjoys basketball, as he is an avid Rockets and Lakers fan. He is also interested in video games, in golf and – like every respectable poker professional – in prop betting.


Even though he was primarily a cash game player known for being extremely difficult to read, as tournament poker became more and more popular and began featuring bigger and bigger prize-pools, he took up tournament play too – rather successfully I might add. One commentator once noted while Ivey was attempting to trap an opponent, holding 4 Ks against the other guy’s full house, that Ivey would play a KK the same way he would a 10,6o, and that turned him into a formidable foe for everyone around the table.


Talking about tournament achievements: Ivey scored his first WSOP bracelet in 2000, in the $2,500 PL Omaha event. 2002 proved to be extra-prolific for him as he won no fewer than 3 WSOP bracelets that year. First, he took down the $2,500 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo bracelet, then he won the $2,000 SHOE event and wrapped things up by winning the $1,500 7-Card Stud event.

His biggest WSOP win was in the $5,000 PL Omaha event in 2005 though, a feat which brought him $635,000.


These were not his only WSOP cashes though. In the Big Dance, he finished 23rd in 2002, 10th in 2003, and 20th in 2005.All of these were excellent cashes. He was eliminated fairly early on this year though (2008).

All in all he has 29 WSOP money finishes and the 10th place mentioned above is his highest Main Event finish to date.

The WPT has had its fair share of the “Tiger Woods of Poker” too. He finished in the money 9 times, made 8 final tables and won a main event. His first and as yet only win came in February, 2008, when he bested field including Phil Hellmuth and Nam Le to cruise to victory and to take down a $1.5 million prize.


He also made a final table in an EPT event (in Barcelona, in 2006, where he ended up 2nd). As I said before though, the majority of the money Phil Ivey has made off poker comes from cash-games. He has been a member of The Corporation, and has once relieved Andy Beal of $16 million in three days, a move which had the billionaire considering quitting poker.

Phil Ivey is one of the most prominent Full Tilt professionals, and he does indeed play high stakes online at Full Tilt. If you have the money, you can play him personally there.


In the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, Ivey was eliminated in the first round for three consecutive years. 2008 saw him break out of the rut though, as he reached the semi-finals, only to eventually lose to Chris Ferguson (who went on to win it all BTW).

Ivey had appearances on High Stakes Poker and on Poker After Dark too.

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