Posts Tagged ‘Phil Ivey

26
Sep
10

World Series of Poker Europe Main Event – Day 2

The moment the clock struck midnight to signal the close of play, Phil Ivey got up from his seat and made his way out of the media spotlight.

He raced up the stairs of the Empire Casino, stepped out into Leicester Square, and disappeared into the cold London night.

Day 2 of the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event was mixed at best for Ivey, who is looking to add to the bracelet he picked up in a $3,000 H.O.R.S.E event in Las Vegas this summer.

Phil Ivey

The eight-time bracelet winner began the day well, racing into an early chip lead as his stack shot up to the 300,000 mark. He has since slipped back a little, but still sits comfortably in the top 10.

He is joined there by Andrew Pantling and David Peters, who both final-tabled the £2,500 6-max tournament won by Phil Laak, but the man everyone is chasing at the moment is Swedish sensation Viktor Blom.

The man believed by many to be online genius/maniac/degenerate gambler (delete as applicable) Isildur1 has amassed a monster-stack of 443,200 chips, a mere 1,100 ahead of Serbian pro Bojan Gledovic but a massive 70,000 clear of the rest of the stacked field.

Free from the attention of the TV cameras (which were largely focused on Ivey and table-mate Gledovic) and surprisingly free from any patches from online cardrooms, Blom seemed at ease, sharing jokes with the rest of his table.

A couple of big pots probably helped, including a superb read to all-but knock out Heather Sue Mercer, and a set-over-set encounter which saw him get the better of Jason Gray. But unlike last year, when a huge bluff-gone-wrong saw him eliminated from the tournament, Blom has been playing impeccable big-stack poker to increase his lead.

Elsewhere, a number of big names remain in contention for the penultimate World Series bracelet of 2010.

Barry Greenstein

Barry Greenstein, Hoyt Corkins, JP Kelly and Greg Mueller are among the bracelet winners remaining, while 1996 World Champion Huck Seed will be coming back for day 3, as will Daniel Negreanu, still in the hunt for a third successive final table in this event.

They will be joined at the felt by reigning Aussie Millions champ Tyron Krost, triple-crown winner Roland de Wolfe and November Niner John Dolan in what remains an incredibly tough field.

Unfortunately some other stars of the game did not make it to midnight with their chips intact. Dolan’s November table-mate Filippo Candio fell by the wayside, as did reigning champion Barry Shulman and bracelet-holders Mike Matusow, Praz Bansi and Phil Laak.

With a field so strong, it is near-impossible to centre in on one table as the toughest of them all, but table 13 is definitely staking a claim for that particular title:

Table 13
Seat 1: John Eames (152000)
Seat 2: David Baker (207000)
Seat 3: Vincent Chahley (122400)
Seat 4: JP Kelly (84900)
Seat 5: Rudy Blondeau (166700)
Seat 6: Huck Seed (147600)
Seat 7: Barry Greenstein (175300)
Seat 8: Thomas Bichon (257700)
Seat 9: James Bord (195000)

Sports bettor Bord, cheered on by friend and event 4 third-place finisher Andrew Feldman, will have his work cut out if he wants to make his second World Series of Poker final table.

Play is set to kick off again at noon today, and it will be interesting to see who emerges at the top once the money bubble has burst. Will Blom hang onto his lead? Will Ivey still be up there? Will Negreanu keep up his phenomenal main event run? We’ll have to wait and see.

07
Jun
10

This is beyond fairytale, it’s inconceivable

It seems like just yesterday that Joe Cada’s pocket nines held up against Darvin Moon’s queen-jack in the final hand of the 2009 World Series of Poker main event, but now the greatest tournament in the world is upon us again.

Cada, now 22, has been fairly active in the opening events, and there have been a number of other good stories already.

Michael Mizrachi and brother Robert both made the final table of the $50,000 Players’ Championship, with ‘The Grinder’ taking home the precious bracelet and then almost repeating the feat in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud World Championships.

Michael Mizrachi has already won over $1.6million in this year's World Series of Poker

Englishman Praz Bansi followed up his third place finish at the WSOPE main event by securing his second bracelet in a $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em event.

Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen, second in all-time World Series cashes, won his first bracelet for seven years.

And Phil Hellmuth fell just short of a record 12th World Series title when he finished 15th in event #8, a tournament won by Canadian student Pascal LeFrancois.

But the main talking point in the series so far came in the early hours of this morning, when Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan finished second to New Zealander Simon Watt after an epic heads-up battle.

Victory for Dwan would have reportedly changed the face of poker worldwide, and not just because of the $614,248 he would have scooped for first place.

The 23-year-old, a regular in the highest-stakes cash games, made a number of bracelet bets before the series began, with a variety of top players – including Phil Ivey and David Benyamine – set to make Dwan up to $10million richer if he wins a bracelet, if reports are to be believed.

This raised, and indeed continues to raise, a number of questions.

Tom Dwan still has 40 events in this World Series to win a bracelet

First, when play got heads-up in event #11, many observers speculated whether Dwan would be willing to go all-in on a coin-flip, given that he would in theory not be flipping for a $300,000 prize difference, but rather for several million.

Secondly, it hopefully puts an end to suggestions that Dwan is a flash-in-the-pan success. His performances on High Stakes Poker and other televised cash games had already seen many doubters warm to the New Jersey resident, and his third World Series final table (all in different forms of the game, it is worth adding) hopefully demonstrate he has many strings to his bow.

And finally, Dwan’s prop-bets would seem to remove any doubt over whether some cash-game high-rollers don’t take the World Series that seriously. It has been suggested that, as the first prize money only equates to a handful of buy-ins in Bobby’s Room, the likes of Dwan, Gus Hansen and Patrik Antonius would rather forego the slog of tournaments and head to the cash games ‘where the real action is.’

If Phil Ivey’s run in last year’s main event, as well as Daniel Negreanu’s second-place finish in the WSOPE Main Event began to close the door on that myth, Dwan’s performance has slammed it firmly shut. Side-bets or no side-bets, the prestige of winning a World Series bracelet has no cash value. The action on the side may spice things up a little, but only to the point where there is absolutely no excuse not to gun for first place wherever possible.

Now only one question remains: with 40 events remaining in this year’s series, will Tom Dwan be able to capture that elusive first bracelet and pocket a little extra on the side?

05
Jan
10

Tiger Woods and Phil Ivey – a lesson in media management

It has emerged recently that Phil Ivey, one of the best and most famous poker players in the world, has been granted a divorce from his wife Lucaietta.

Phil Ivey with ex-wife Lucaietta

This news marks a sour end to a productive 12 months for Ivey, who won two World Series bracelets and reached the final table of the main event in Las Vegas.

Ivey’s nickname is ‘The Tiger Woods of poker’, and many commentators will be afforded a wry smile at these recent developments coming to light so soon after Woods’ own marital problems.

However – unlike the American golfer – Ivey may feel he deserves more privacy during what is hardly likely to be an easy time for him.

Comparisons will inevitably be made between Ivey's divorce and Woods' marriage to Elin Nordegren

Throughout his career, the California-born pro has made efforts to separate his private life from his professional life, so as not to put any unnecessary stress or attention on Lucaietta or indeed on his parents.

Consequently, any biographical article on Ivey will focus on his numerous poker achievements, and many will say this is the way things should be.

It therefore seems unlikely that fans or outside observers will delve too deeply into his marital situation.

Tiger Woods has lost a number of sponsorships, including a multi-million dollar deal with Gillette

Some might say that Woods is undeserving of the criticism and media attention which has come his way since allegations of unfaithfulness first surfaced.

But the fact is he has – through signing up to multi-million sponsorship deals with the likes of Gillette and American Express – set himself for public scrutiny.

In contrast, the one major endorsement deal to come Ivey’s way is his involvement with Full Tilt Poker, and it is stretching it a little to even call this an endorsement deal.

Instead, I would argue that it is more comparable with Woods’ deals with Titleist and Nike, whose relationship with the golfer fits in with his professional life.

And, to go one step further, Ivey’s position as one of the Team Full Tilt partners arguably alters his association with the company to an altogether professional relationship, in that any promotional work he does directly benefits a group to which he belongs rather than an external party paying him to indirectly boost its own bottom line.

Ivey's relationship with Full Tilt Poker will remain unaffected by his divorce

Some might argue that poker is an easier profession in which to keep a low profile, as its popularity is yet to reach the same heights as golf and other more mainstream sports.

But let us compare Ivey to his namesake and counterpart Phil Laak, whose relationship with Family Guy actress Jennifer Tilly is well-publicised.

Indeed Ivey himself is well-known worldwide, yet by distancing his wife from the poker world he has kept her out of the spotlight.

Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak, arguably poker's most famous couple

Furthermore, few golfers’ wives are as well-known as Woods’ other half Elin Nordegren: despite no outward efforts to put her in the public eye, their relationship was reasonably well-documented even before the recent developments.

And, while Woods has arguably taken his sport to new heights in terms of popularity and TV viewing figures, such advances have not forced his counterparts at the top of the game to generate such a high media profile.

Although Woods’ supporters might argue that the press are responsible for the attention given to his private life, it is a two-way system and the likes of Ivey have shown that – if you don’t want anyone delving into your life away from the green grass or green felt – you can make every effort to ensure you get this kind of privacy.


Of course, I would never wish ill fortune on anyone away from the sporting arena, even if I may cheer against them on the field of play.

But I think the respective cases of Woods and Ivey are useful in showing the realms of golf and poker – and the sporting world in general – that there are two ways of going about your business.

And, in an analogy which resonates with the professions of both men, when you take risks you have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.

08
Dec
09

Ad of the decade

Hi there,

It’s been a while since my last post. The poker world has not been moving at such a whirlwind pace since the WSOP finished.

But now I will return to the fray with a post inspired by a debate raging in the Cardiff Journalism School newsroom – what is the TV advert of the decade?

This of course follows on from debates about the Sporting Icon of the Decade and the Album of the Decade.

After Ciaran Jones started proceedings, I have decided to throw in my two cents – I feel there can be only one winner in this debate:

A good advert has to be snappy, memorable and easily tieable to the product it is advertising. My choice has all these things.

When you add into the mix humour and a recognisable celebrity face, you can see that Full Tilt’s offering has all the ingredients needed for a classic ad.

15
Nov
09

Just a kid with a dream

Nothing excites young poker fans more than an unknown player emerging from nowhere to take on the big guns.

The classic example of such a player is Phil Hellmuth, who was a new name for many when he became world champion in 1989.

But the rise of internet poker has added a new dimension to the journey of the challenger – complete anonymity, save for a screen name.

The daily grind

As soon as a new name sits down at the same online table as Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius or one of the many other high-stakes pros, speculation begins as to his or her identity.

Occasionally it will emerge that the player in question is a regular in mid-stakes cash games who has decided to ‘take a shot’ at the big time.

Of course, such a decision is a huge gamble for most players, but they could do worse than taking a leaf out of Tom Dwan’s book.

Top high-stakes pro Tom 'Durrrr' Dwan

Dwan, known online as ‘durrrr’, started out with a bankroll of $50 and played $6 tournaments to build this up to an amount which he could take to the cash tables.

He patiently decided to grind his way up the stakes, before taking on the big names only after attaining plenty of cash-game experience.

And look at him now. At just 23 years of age, durrrr is the newest member of Team Full Tilt, entitling him to a percentage of the lucrative Full Tilt Poker company and ensuring he will probably never have to worry about money again in his life.

But how much did you lose?

Dwan claims that he has never gone broke in all his time playing poker, despite reported seven-figure downswings, but who knows if the same can be said for some of the other youngsters who flirt with celebrity and poker immortality.

Within weeks of sitting down with $250,000 at a high-stakes online cash table, even a few days’ absence from the tables can lead to an online ‘superstar’ being ‘confirmed busto’ by the often-unforgiving Two Plus Two forums.

The latest to try their luck goes by the name of ‘Isildur1’, but who knows how long he (or she) will last before being replaced by another magnet for applause and abuse.

Online poker is a fickle business.

Danger is my middle name

It seems as though the gamble doesn’t pay off for a number of young pretenders, but the few who succeed are in line for huge rewards and even greater acclaim.

One prime example is Di ‘Urindanger’ Dang, who won the biggest pot in the history of online poker when his pocket aces defeated the pocket kings of none other than durrrr.

Di Dang (right) and his brother Hac (middle) are two online pros who have proven to be no flash in the pan

And many other online whizzkids have adapted their skills to the live game, with Matt Graham and Matt Hawrilenko winning bracelets at this year’s World Series of Poker and Joe Cada taking down the Main Event title.

With all these success stories, no wonder they keep coming back.

Tom Dwan signs for Team Full Tilt: http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/tom-durrrr-dwan-signs-to-team-full-tilt

Full Tilt Poker: http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/

11
Nov
09

Congratulations Joe Cada – 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event winner

So, after a marathon final table, the World Series of Poker 2009 has come to a close.

Congratulations to Joe Cada, who – at 21 – has become the youngest player to claim the world title.

But it was not easy for Cada to break Peter Eastgate’s record. He had to survive 17-and-a-half hours of play just to reach the final two.

And, despite holding a dominant lead over Darvin Moon after eliminating Antoine Saout in 3rd, the pendulum swung back and forth over the 86 hands of heads-up play before Joe’s pocket nines held against Darvin’s queen-jack of diamonds.

World champion Joe Cada is mobbed by his team of supporters

It marked the end of a remarkable comeback for Cada, who was down to under 2.3 million in chips at one stage during the final table.

But the 21-year-old managed to fight back with a lot of nerve and a bit of luck to take the crown.

A long and winding road

In the lead-up to the final table, all the talk was of Phil Ivey, and whether he could reaffirm his tag as the best player in the world by taking the title.

It was not to be, however, as Moon got lucky when his ace-queen outdrew Ivey’s ace-king to send the Vegas pro packing in seventh place.

Phil Ivey hoped to be celebrating an eighth WSOP bracelet, but at 32 his chance will surely come again

Before Ivey’s exit, two other players had hit the rail after two very different aces-vs-kings encounters.

First out was James Akenhead. After having his chip-stack decimated when his kings ran into Kevin Schaffel’s aces, Cada finished him off to send the Londoner home $1.2million richer.

The next to follow was Schaffel himself. He looked to have put himself back in contention to win the event when he moved all-in with aces again and got a call from Eric Buchman’s kings.

But if the king on the flop wasn’t demoralising enough, Buchman made four of a kind on the turn to end the 52-year-old Floridian’s dream of Main Event success.

And then there were six

Following Ivey out of the door was Steve Begleiter. The former Bear Stearns exec was few people’s favourite to win after making some questionable plays en route to the November Nine, but he seemed to have improved his game after receiving coaching from multiple WPT champion Jonathan Little.

And ‘Begs’ was hugely unlucky in a hand against Saout, where he made a wonderful call on the flop with second pair against the Frenchman’s flush draw only for Saout to leave the New Yorker drawing dead after a third heart hit the turn.

To compound his ill-fortune, he got the last of his chips in with pocket queens against Moon’s ace-queen, but gt outdrawn once again.

Jeff Shulman was unable to emulate his father Barry's success, but he should be pleased with his performance

Next out the door was Jeff Shulman. The 34-year-old pro, who had finished 7th in 2000, didn’t really put a foot wrong throughout the final table. He played a patient game, no doubt influenced by the coaching of former world champion Phil Hellmuth, but it was not his day.

Shulman still managed to get his chips in with the best of it when his pocket sevens led against Saout’s ace-9, but a 9 on the flop ended his main event agonisingly short of the $8.5million first prize.

Crunch time

Eric Buchman must have thought the bracelet was his to lose after his elimination of Schaffel early on, and the New Yorker continued to bide his time and stay out of trouble throughout the early proceedings.

But he opened up his game when the tournament got four-handed, and lost a monster pot with ace-queen against Saout’s ace-king and exited soon after.

Yet again it was a questionable call from Moon which ended a player’s tournament, after the logger’s king-jack outdrew Buchman’s ace-five to send the 30-year-old back to New York with over $2.5million.

With three players left, Saout was most onlookers’ favourite to claim the crown, but two pivotal hands sent the chip-leader crashing out in third place. Who knows what would have happened if the Frenchman’s pocket queens had held against Cada’s pocket twos, or if his eights had held against Cada’s ace-king?

Antoine Saout probably deserved better than third place for his play

The final countdown

But in the end that coinflip ended Saout’s main event. He had turned an original stake of $50 into $3.5million, but still had cause to feel disappointed.

And his exit left Moon and Cada to fight it out for the bracelet. At the start of heads-up play Moon’s stack had barely deviated from the $58.93million with which he started the final table, while the chips of the other eight players had somehow all found their way to Cada.

Despite being less than half the age of his opponent, Cada’s greater experience of heads-up play (as well as his chip advantage) made him a strong favourite to defeat Moon, but it was far from easy.

The chip-lead swung back and forth over nearly three hours of play between the two rivals, but in the end Cada edged across the finish line and stepped into poker history.

02
Nov
09

November 9 preview #2 – the ‘name’ pros

It has been eight long years since a big name poker player could call himself world champion, when Ecuadorian pro Carlos Mortensen was victorious, but many feel that now is the best chance in a while for a top pro to take down the title.

After Carlos Mortensen's win in 2001, seven successive amateurs were crowned world champion

Sure, Peter Eastgate was a pro with a couple of impressive live cashes when he won it all last year, and Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem have since gone on to achieve great things in the game, but no one had really heard of them at the time.

It’s a different story now, however, with two of the bigger names in poker sitting across from each other on Saturday: Phil Ivey and Jeff Shulman.

Like father, like son?

Shulmans

Jeff Shulman (left) will hope to follow in his father Barry's footsteps and win a World Series bracelet


Some of you may be too young to remember it happening, but Shulman has been here before, reaching the final table in 2000 when he finished 7th behind Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson and scooped a $146,700 prize for his efforts.

And the normally shy and reclusive editor of CardPlayer magazine has changed tack this year, putting his name in the news with his decision to hire former world champion Phil Hellmuth Jr. as his coach.

But neither this, nor his father Barry’s victory at the World Series of Poker Europe, have helped detract attention from Ivey, regarded by many as the best poker player in the world.

The 33-year-old Ivey has already won two WSOP bracelets this year, and this is his fourth top-30 finish in the Main Event since Mortensen’s win in 2001.

He is also a big player on the world tournament and cash game circuits. His brilliant reads and unique style have earned him over $12million in tournament earnings, while he regularly plays for hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time in the ‘big game’ in Bobby’s Room in Las Vegas.

Take a look at this clip for a great example of Ivey’s talent:

you see, there is a reason why he is the 3rd-favourite with most bookmakers despite only holding just over 5% of the chips in play.

If there was no luck, I’d win every time

If either Ivey or Shulman takes home the gold bracelet at the end of the weekend, then it will potentially do a lot to silence some of poker’s critics.

Many of those opposed to the game see it as gambling and nothing more, grouping it together with games such as blackjack, roulette and craps.

But I hope you will agree that clips such as the one earlier in the thread demonstrate the great level of skill involved in playing poker at the highest level.

If someone like Darvin Moon wins the tournament, after admitting to getting lucky throughout, it will only add fuel to the critics’ fire.

But if either of these two is the last man standing then some may have to swallow their pride a little.




Hi I’m Tom. I’m a freelance journalist, and I recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Cardiff University. In my spare time I like to play, watch and talk about poker. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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