ELITE 8 - PHIL IVEY MOVES INTO TOP 5 ON ALL-TIME WSOP BRACELET LIST

June 23, 2010 - 06:19:08 PM EST  | 

ELITE 8 - PHIL IVEY MOVES INTO TOP 5 ON ALL-TIME WSOP BRACELET LIST
Phil Back in the Ivey League:  Wins Eighth Gold Bracelet

Phil Ivey Wins Eight WSOP Title

Ivey Now Tied with Erik Seidel in Wins – in Fifth Place

Poker Icon Collects $329,840 in Prize Money – Plus a Few Side Bets

Final Table Includes Five Former Gold Bracelet Winners – They Finish 1-2-3-4-5
 
For the tournament portal page for this event, including official results, click HERE.

OVERVIEW

Phil Ivey was the winner of the $3,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  The dramatic win marked his eighth career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  The personal triumph locks Ivey into a tie with Erik Seidel for fifth place on the all-time WSOP wins list.

Ivey becomes the youngest player in history ever to reach such a lofty plateau.  Now age 33, Ivey has won more bracelets than all but game masters Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and the late Johnny Moss.  A scarier thought for anyone fading action on Ivey’s success – he shows absolutely no signs of slowing down and remains hungry to win more.

“I think I can win 30 gold bracelets,” said Ivey afterward.  “I think I can reach that if I keep playing and stay healthy.”

The notion that any single player, even a player with Phil Ivey’s level of skill and self-confidence, could possibly reach 30 lifetime victories seems almost absurd at first mention.  But given what Ivey has accomplished in 10 years of tournament poker, don’t bet against the player who started out grinding an hourly win rate in the cardrooms of Atlantic City more than a decade ago.

Ivey now has three wins at the last two WSOPs.  This was his first major triumph following last year’s disappointing (in Iveyesque terms) seventh-place finish in the WSOP Main Event.  He now has $5,213,809 in career tournament WSOP earnings.  His overall tournament winnings worldwide now approach the $13 million mark, according to some sources, which is the highest amount won by any player in poker history.

This tournament was special for a number of reasons.  It was arguably the most appealing final table thus far in 2010, loaded with superstar talent and just enough wild cards to make the long night unpredictable.  Five of the eight finalists were former gold bracelet winners, including Bill Chen, John Juanda, Ken Aldridge, and Jeffrey Lisandro.   An interesting dynamic – the five former gold bracelet winners finished 1-2-3-4-5, while the non-winners took the 6-7-8 spots.

The runner up was two-time gold bracelet winner, Bill Chen.  He is widely-acknowledged as one of poker’s top math theorists and has one of the most logical approaches to the game of any player in the world.  Chen held a 3.5-to-1 chip advantage at one point.  But Chen and a standing-room only crowd saw once again that no chip lead is ever safe when Phil Ivey is sitting in the opposite seat.

“How much did first place pay?” Ivey nonchalantly queried a bystander immediately following his victory.  When he heard the amount was $329,840, Ivey reached across the table for his eighth gold bracelet.  All witnesses knew then and there what meant the most to the eight-time champion.

Indeed, Ivey seriously believes he can reach 30 gold bracelet wins.  At the rate he’s going, Ivey will hit magical number 30 at the 2021 World Series of Poker, at the age of 48.  One must now ask -- is it conceivable that even Ivey’s optimistic estimate may be too low?

THE CHAMPION – PHIL IVEY

The $3,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. champion (Event #37) is Phil Ivey, from Las Vegas, NV.

Ivey is 33-years-old.  He was born in Riverside, CA.  His family moved to New Jersey when he was a young child.

Ivey is one of the world’s most famous and most successful poker players.  He is one of the rare players who excels at both tournaments and cash games.

Ivey has never held a job other than working as a poker pro.

Ivey won three of his WSOP gold bracelets at the 2002 WSOP.

Ivey won two WSOP gold bracelets last year.

Ivey has never won a WSOP gold bracelet in Hold’em.

Ivey has become a near mythological figure in the poker world and is unquestionably one of the game’s most enigmatic personalities.  Considered by many to be the most publicity-shy poker star in the world, he rarely gives out interviews or reveals much about his private life.  Yet the further Ivey runs away from the spotlight, the more it seems to shine upon him.  Ivey’s numerous wagering exploits – many unfathomable to the average person -- have become part of the popular modern folklore, making it difficult at times to separate fact from fiction.

Ivey routinely makes stratospheric-sized prop and sports bets.  He reportedly bet $1 million on the Super Bowl a few years ago.  He won.

Ivey began playing Seven-Card Stud daily in Atlantic City casinos.  By the time Ivey was in his early 20s, he was already acknowledged as one of the East Coast’s best cash game players.  At the time, opponents used the words “prodigy” and “savant” to describe Ivey.

Ivey’s “poker office” was the Trump Taj Mahal until the age of 24, when he moved to Las Vegas.  He then started playing tournament poker and gradually attained superstar status.  In his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet victory in 2000 and perhaps emblematic of poker’s generational and cultural shift, Ivey defeated legend “Amarillo Slim” Preston in heads-up play. That marked Ivey’s first-ever final table appearance, and Slim’s last.

In a previous post-tournament interview after winning WSOP gold bracelet number five (2005), Ivey stated:  “I think I can win 30 (gold bracelets).  Tournaments are much tougher to win now because the fields are (so big).  I don’t play as many tournaments for that reason, but I still think I can get to 30.”  He reiterated that prediction following this victory.

To get to 30 gold bracelets, based on the average life expectancy of a healthy American male aged 33 (according to actuarial tables), he would have to win a WSOP event about once every 1.5 years for the remainder of his life.

Ivey insists that he does not want to be famous.  He has no desire to be a celebrity.  Ivey has told those who know him best that what he enjoys most is competing and winning.  He is driven by a fierce obsession to win and succeed in everything he does.  Ivey’s other pursuits include golf.  He started playing about five ago and is reportedly close to be a scratch golfer.

Ivey collected $329,840 for first place.

According to official records, Phil Ivey now has eight wins, 22 final table appearances, and 40 in-the-money finish at the WSOP.   His career WSOP earnings now total $5,213,809.

According to some sources, Ivey’s overall tournament winnings worldwide now approach the $13 million mark, the most won by any player in poker history.

With this victory, Ivey moved ahead of Billy Baxter and Men “the Master” Nguyen with seven WSOP titles each, and into a tie for fifth place on the all-time WSOP wins list alongside Erik Seidel with eight wins.  Remaining ahead of Ivey are Phil Hellmuth (11 wins), Doyle Brunson (10 wins), Johnny Chan (10 wins), and the late Johnny Moss (9 wins).

Ivey’s 40 WSOP career cashes currently ranks 24th on the all-time list.

Ivey’s 22 WSOP final table appearances rank him in a 15th-place tie on the all-time list.

WINNER QUOTES

On winning his eighth WSOP gold bracelet:  “Well so far, so good.  This win is actually pretty sweet because there are not too many tournaments left.  I was starting to feel the burn a little bit.  I was trying to focus and give it my all the rest of the way.”

On coming back to win against a tough opponent, Bill Chen:  “I try to be very positive when I play.  I rid myself of thoughts (of being behind) and just try to take it one hand at a time.  I think that helps me out a lot, especially in these situations.”

On possibly winning 30 WSOP gold bracelets:  “It’s within reach as long as people keep betting me on these bracelet bets.  I’m sure I can reach it one day if I keep playing and stay healthy.  I think I can reach it.”

On how much money he won in side bets, by collecting a WSOP gold bracelet this year:  “It was over twenty dollars.”

On his goal the remainder of the 2010 WSOP:  “I’m going to keep playing tournaments and hopefully I will win another one before the end.  I want to do well in the Main Event, of course.  It would be nice to win that one of these years.”

On overcoming the challenge of being out-chipped at various points at the final table:  “I never doubt myself when you play poker because you can’t really think like that.  It just adds negativity to it and when you start losing hands you get down on yourself.  You have to think about that hand and move on.  I think that helps me.”

On this win compared to his last deep run, finishing seventh in last year’s Main Event as one of the November Nine:  “It did not shake me up (coming in seventh).  Obviously, I was disappointed I did not win.  I mean, life goes on.  There will be more November Nines for me in my future, I think.  It’s a learning experience.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The final eight (top eight finishers) included five former WSOP gold bracelet winners, the most of any final table at this year’s WSOP, to date.  The former WSOP title holders were – Phil Ivey, Bill Chen, John Juanda, Ken Aldridge, and Jeffrey Lisandro.  

An interesting dynamic – the five former gold bracelet winners finished 1-2-3-4-5, while the non-winners took the 6-7-8 spots.

Three nations were represented at the final table: Canada, Italy, and the United States.

The runner up was two-time gold bracelet winner Bill Chen (Lafayette Hill, PA), who put up a valiant effort despite being the player most of the crowd was rooting against.  Chen, one of the game’s most respected math-oriented players, was the chip leader most of the way and held a 3.5-to-1 chip advantage at one point when play was heads up.  But, Chen could not overcome a bad run of cards in the final hour combined with Ivey’s indisputable mastery of the game and was forced to settle for a consolation prize amounting to $203,802.

The third-place finisher was four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner John Juanda, from Las Vegas, NV.  This was his 54th time to cash, which currently places him in an eighth-place tie with Chau Giang on the all-time list.  Third place paid $129,553.

The fourth-place finisher was Ken Aldridge, a former schoolteacher from Pleasant Garden, NC, who won his first WSOP gold bracelet last year.  Aldridge received $93,418.

The fifth-place finisher was Jeffrey Lisandro, from Salerno, Italy.  He was the 2009 WSOP “Player of the Year.”  He won three gold bracelets last year and currently has four wins in his career.  Lisandro received $68,417.

The sixth-place finisher was Dave Baker, from Katy, TX.  This marked his fifth time to cash at this year’s WSOP – which places him into a tie for the lead in that category with six other players.  Baker collected $50,871.

The seventh-place finisher was Albert Hahn, from Calgary, Alberta (Canada).  This marked his first time to cash in a WSOP tournament.  Hahn is also a highly-accomplished Scrabble player, having competed in the World Scrabble Championships in 1997, 1999, and 2005.  His first WSOP in-the-money finish spelled out $38,391 in prize money.

The eighth-place finisher was Chad Brown, from Las Vegas, NV.  This was his fourth cash at this year’s series.  Brown now has 31 career cashes and added $29,406 to his poker bankroll for making it to the final table.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 48 finishers collected prize money.  Aside the final table players, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Ryan Hughes (9th), David Benyamine (14th), Dan Heimiller (15th), Scott Seiver (16th), David Singer (17th), Farzad Bonyadi (18th), Steve Sung (31st), Chris Reslock (33rd), Katja Thater (34th), Jason Young (37th), and Max Pescatori (47th).

Dan Heimiller cashed for the fifth time at this year’s WSOP.  He how has 2nd, 4th, 9th, 15th, and 27th place finishes so far in 2010.  

To date, Heimiller is one of only six players with five WSOP cashes this year.  The other players are: Pat Pezzin, Shawn Buchanan, Christian Harder, Dave Baker, and Tad Jurgens.

Max Pescatori has more in-the-money finishes than any Italian poker player in WSOP history, with 26 cashes.   

Ming Reslock, who finished 13th, and Chris Reslock, who finished 33rd, are married.  This is one of the few times in WSOP history a husband-wife duo cashed in the same tournament.   

The defending champion was Leo Wolpert, from Fairfax, VA.  He entered this year’s tournament but did not cash.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 864th gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history.  Note:  This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 11 gold bracelets awarded at WSOP Europe (to date).

The final table was played inside the Amazon Room at a feature table.  The finale was not played on one of the ESPN stages because they were being prepared for another event to be held the following day.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament runs past midnight).  The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year.  The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament, usually around 2:20 pm.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography are permitted by both public and members of the media.  Note:  IVEY EXPECTED TO ATTEND THE WEDNESDAY CEREMONY

Ivey will have the national anthem of United States played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony.

EVENT HISTORY

The forbearer of H.O.R.S.E. was S.H.O.E. (a mix of games including Seven-Card-Stud, Limit Hold’em, Omaha High-Low Split, and Stud High-Low Split), which was introduced at the 2001 WSOP.

H.O.R.S.E. was played for the first time as a gold bracelet event at the 2003 WSOP.  Organizers thought it would be clever to hold one H.O.R.S.E. tournament to go with the S.H.O.E. event, which took place at Binion’s HORSESHOE.

The first WSOP H.O.R.S.E. tournament was won by Doyle Brunson.

H.O.R.S.E. is an acronym for five of the most popular poker games played inside American cardrooms today.  H.O.R.S.E. tournaments include a rotation of the following games -- Hold'em, Omaha High-Low Split, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (also called Eight-or-Better).  Many purists consider H.O.R.S.E. to be the ultimate test of poker skill, since it requires that players play all games well in order to win.  This claim was perhaps best illustrated at the 2006 World Series of Poker, where H.O.R.S.E. returned to the tournament schedule after a long hiatus.  For more than two decades, the late poker legend Chip Reese had been widely regarded as the best all-around player in the world. Appropriately, he won the inaugural tournament, which cost $50,000 to enter, and became the first H.O.R.S.E. “World Champion.”

The rotation of games in this tournament lasts eight hands. In other words – following eight dealt hands of Hold'em, there are eight hands of Omaha High-Low followed by eight hands of Razz, and so forth.

2010 WSOP STATISTICS

Tournament attendance is up from this same point last year.  Last year, through 35 events, there were 34,031 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 38,222 total entries, an increase of 12.3 percent.

Tournament prize money figures are down slightly from last year.  Last year, through 35 events, the sum of total prize money won was $67,497,640.  This year’s total prize money figure currently stands at $66,994,930, a decrease of .7 percent (note the decimal).

Through the conclusion of Event #37 (sans 36), the nationalities of winners have been:

United States (25)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (3)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #37 (sans 36), the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (18)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (3)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)
Bangladesh (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #37 (sans 36), the ratio of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (24):  Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Matt Matros, Yan R. Chen, Steve Gee, Carter Phillips, Jason DeWitt, Eric Buchman, David Baker, Richard Ashby, Dutch Boyd, Sammy Farha, David Warga, Will Haydon, Matt Keikoan, Mike Ellis, Luis Velador, Ayaz Mahmood, Phil Ivey

Semi-Pros (4):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola

Amateurs (8):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal LeFrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle

Through the conclusion of Event #37 (sans 36), here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners at the 2010 WSOP:

Praz Bansi
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
Sammy Farha
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)
Matt Keikoan
Luis Velador
Phil Ivey

 
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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer


About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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