For most poker players, five World Series of Poker (WSOP) final tables in a summer is a massive accomplishment. For Phil Ivey, it is a dry spell. The drought is over though, as the iconic poker pro just won his ninth bracelet in Melbourne at the WSOP Asia Pacific event at Crown Entertainment Complex.
The heads-up action in the APAC $2,200 Mixed Game event between Ivey and runner-up Brandon Wong proved to be a battle of the titans that lasted for 178 hands and more than three hours. Wong dominated most of the final table action, but in the end, Ivey battled back to win the title and $51,840, while Wong had to settle for what is his second WSOP runner-up finishes.
After Ivey’s runner-up finish to Andy Frankenberger in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em event in Las Vegas, not to mention those four other final table appearances, this win is redemption for a series of frustrating finishes for the poker pro.
“I definitely wanted to win this event, especially when I got deep and realized I had a chance because my last five final tables were very tough. It took a lot out of me and I was happy to have the chance to finish this one," Ivey said shortly after his victory.
Ivey has defeated bigger fields and won more prize money, but this bracelet is far from unimportant to the future Hall of Famer, who is now tied for fourth on the all-time bracelet list along with Johnny Moss.
This is the first bracelet for Ivey outside of Las Vegas and one that has added meaning for the longtime supporter of the Australian poker tournament scene. “It ranks up there. The last [five] final tables I made I didn’t win. I was getting very frustrated, so I was very happy to win this tournament.“This is my favorite place to play," Ivey admitted. "I love coming down here,
I love the feeling I have when I play here. Great staff, great dealers, and,
you know, I love coming here.”
Not only was this a milestone bracelet for Ivey, it also came against some of the stiffest competition in the world. If it weren’t for the Crown Casino location, you might have thought this final table was one for the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. In addition to poker powerhouses Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu, the final table also featured longtime pros Kevin Song, three-time WSOP final tablist Brandon Wong, and one New Zealand’s top pros, Graeme Putt. Putt is the first player to make multiple WSOP final table appearances here at WSOP APAC, having previously finished sixth in the Accumulator event. Now that Ivey is back to his winning ways, the questions of how many bracelets he can win in his lifetime are already starting. When asked what the future might hold for him and how well he thinks he can do, Ivey became introspective about his potential.
"As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to think about my place in poker history and where I’m going to stand, so it is important to me to win these
bracelets. I’m trying to catch Phil. It’s
tough, he keeps winning them, but I’m looking forward to the summer."
This makes it three for three for the Americans in the bracelet events here in Melbourne. US players have won the bracelets and had the strongest representation at the final table, but we’ve seen strong showings from New Zealand, Canada, and, of course, Australia as well.
The $2,200 buy-in tournament drew 81 of the top mixed game players in the world, generating a prize pool of $168,000. The top nine finishers made the money. The trio of folks who cashed but did not make the final table were all Australian; Dale Townsend (9th), Billy Argyros (8th), and Sam Khouiss (7th).This was the third of five bracelet events here at Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne. The $5,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em Event and the $10,000 Main Event are the two bracelet events left on the schedule.
Final Table results for WSOP APAC Event 3 $2,200 Mixed Game:1st: Phil Ivey - $51,8402nd: Brandon Wong - $32,0393rd: Graeme Putt - $22,4274th: Daniel Negreanu - Canada- $16,3665th: Rob Campbell – Australia - $12,0206th: Kevin Song – USA - $8,978