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Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey is one of the best, if not the best, all-around poker players in the history of the game. You don't have to take our word for it. The stats, which you're about to see, back up that claim. And  Daniel Negreanu, also one of the best ever, has long said the same. Ivey has been a beast for over 20 years in the highest stakes cash games, on the top poker sites, and in live tournaments.

Who is Phil Ivey?

Phillip Dennis Ivey was born February 1, 1977 in Riverside, California. Little did his parents know at the time their newborn child was about 20 years away from becoming a superstar in a card game and on his way to being a multimillionaire.

Ivey's rise to fame wasn't an easy one. He had many setbacks along the way, especially early in his career playing cash games in Atlantic City, where he was known as No Home Jerome. He earned that nickname because he played so frequently that it seemed like he lived at the casinos. Jerome was the name on the fake ID he used to play in casinos prior to turning 21.

Phil Ivey biography

No Home Jerome was a temporary nickname. In the early 2000s, the poker world began to know him by his real name. By 2003, at age 26, Ivey had become one of the best players in a game that was dominated at the time by older pros such as Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, and Johnny Chan.

Although he has a quiet demeanor at the table and avoids drama away from it, Ivey's been one of the most popular players in the game for nearly 20 years. When he's at a televised table, the event becomes must-see TV. From 2003 until around 2013, there were few who could compare to him on the felt. He dominated the game at such a high level that it was almost hard to believe.

Dubbed the Tiger Woods of Poker, Ivey won 10 bracelets from 2000-2014, that puts him in a tie for second all-time with Brunson, Seidel and Chan (Phil Hellmuth leads with 17). Overall as a live tournament player, he has over $42 million in cashes. Ivey's Full Tilt Poker account had over $20 million in profit, the most of any online poker account in history.

He doesn't play as many tournaments or online as much these days. Instead, he's busy earning a living playing the highest stakes cash games and high-roller tournaments. Ivey was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017, the first year he became eligible.

Full Tilt Poker

Ivey wasn't just a dominant player on the now defunct Full Tilt Poker site. He was one of the top ambassadors and had a financial stake in the company. As a sponsored pro from 2005-2011, he wore an FTP patch on his shirt and an FTP logo on his hat at all live poker events.

When FTP was  shut down on April 15, 2011 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Ivey's role with the company was eliminated. The top pros no longer wanted to be associated with a poker site that had built a negative reputation within the poker community. 

When the DOJ cracked down on the poker site, American players were booted from playing. But FTP didn't have enough cash in reserves to pay off the player account balances. Unlike Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer, Ivey didn't take much heat for the mismanaged poker site as he wasn't an active executive within the company. He now represents the up-and-coming Poker Kings site.

Phil Ivey poker accomplishments

Listing all of Phil Ivey's poker accomplishments in one small section is nearly impossible. So we'll give you the main resume bullet points. Plain and simple, Ivey has built a resume on the felt that any poker player would drool over.

Ivey has 10 WSOP bracelets and five runner-up finishes at the World Series of Poker. In 2009, he reached the WSOP Main Event final table, but finished in seventh place, three spots better than his 2003 finish in the world championship event.

The Poker Hall of Famer also has over $30 million in cashes outside of the WSOP. That includes a 2008 WPT L.A. Poker Classic title for $1.6 million, 10 World Poker Tour final table appearances, and a $3.6 million score for winning a 2014 high roller at the Aussie Millions. More recently he won the $60,000 No Limit Hold'em Turbo event at Triton London for just over $1 million, and finished second in the $100,000 No Limit Hold'em High Roller 8-Handed event at the 2022 WSOP for another seven-figure score. He's crushed it online as well, having profited over $20 million on Full Tilt Poker, and is one of the most feared high stakes cash game players in the world.

Edge-sorting scandal

Although Ivey is a respected player, he was involved in a pair of legal scandals against U.S. and U.K. casinos. Ivey was accused of gaining an unfair advantage against the casinos in high stakes baccarat. The poker pro used an edge-sorting technique to decipher the value of upcoming cards.

Edge-sorting is a strategy where a player determines whether a face-down playing card is likely to be low or high. Knowing the value of future cards in Baccarat gives the player an edge over the house and is frowned upon by every casino. Prior to the start of play, Ivey made some requests with the Borgata in Atlantic City and Crockfords Casino in England to use a specific brand of cards. He chose that specific brand because he could tell the face-down card values from a short distance.

Both casinos approved his requests, then later discovered the edge-sorting angle after Ivey went on to win millions of dollars during the games.

After later discovering his edge-sorting techniques, Crockfords refused to pay out his winnings, and Borgata filed a $10.1 million lawsuit against the poker pro. Ivey's attempt to sue Crockfords for the money was a failure and he settled with Borgata in 2020.