#24 - Phil Ivey

The 40th Annual World Series of Poker is only weeks away. Between now and the start of the Main Event BluffMagazine.com will be presenting the 40 Greatest Champions in WSOP history exclusively on WorldSeriesofPoker.com. 

Phil Ivey’s success goes beyond just the WSOP.  This five-time bracelet winner has become one of the games most revered names in recent years.  His tremendous success at both tournaments and cash games has led him to become one of the most discussed players today.  He’s the youngest player to win five bracelets and tied Phil Hellmuth Jr., Puggy Pearson, and Ted Forrest as the only players to win three bracelets in one year.

Ivey announced his presence when he won his first bracelet in 2000.  He beat one of poker’s living legends Amarillo Slim heads up in a Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event.  It was the only time anyone had ever beaten Slim heads up for a bracelet.

In 2002 Ivey tied the mark of winning three bracelets in one year winning in two stud variations and a mixed game event; 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo, and S.H.O.E.  His most recent bracelet came way by winning a $5k Pot Limit Omaha event in 2005.  Surprising to most people, Ivey has not won a WSOP bracelet in a No Limit Hold ‘Em event.

Ivey also holds the record for the most final tables in the WPT with eight.  He finally broke through winning the 2008 LA Poker Classic.  His big buy-in success doesn’t stop there; he took fourth in the 2008 NBC Heads Up Championship, placed third in the inaugural 2006 WSOP $50k H.O.R.S.E. tournament, and managed a 23rd place finish in the 2002 WSOP Main Event.

In addition to the tournament records he holds, Ivey has become one of the most feared cash game players on the planet.  He is regular in Bellagio’s Big Game, usually a  $4,000/$8,000 mixed game.  He also takes his nose bleed stakes to the virtual felt being a Red Pro on Full Tilt where he has had million dollar swings.

Ivey’s big game play became legend when he won $16,000,000 in one day against Andy Beal when he challenged the Corporation, a collection of high stakes pros, to play Limit Hold ‘Em heads up.  Beal is rumored to have given up playing poker after Ivey’s crushing play that is documented in Michael Craig’s “The Professor, The Banker, and The Suicide King.”