Is Phil Ivey the Greatest Poker Player of All Time?

by Laura C. Jones
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Phil Ivey is undoubtedly the GOAT of poker. With over $32 million in live earnings and much more in cash games, Ivey is considered by many to be the greatest of all time. Recently, Ivey finished second place at the 2022 World Series of Poker tournament, securing more than $1.1 million for his win. In terms of net worth, he’s one of the people who built a fortune almost solely through poker wins, putting him in a unique position compared to other famous names like Daniel Negreanu and Bryn Kenney.

Background

 

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Phil Ivey was born on February 1, 1977, in Riverside, California, but primarily lived in Roselle, New Jersey. Interestingly, he first became known as “No Home Jerome” in Atlantic City as he used a fake ID named “Jerome” before turning 21; the joke was that Ivey hardly ever left casinos during this time.

It was in the early 2000s that his real name started attracting the limelight, especially after his first WSOP win in 2000. He is also referred to as the “Tiger Woods of Poker” — not only because of his resemblance to the famous golfer but also because of his ability to almost always secure wins.

Lifetime winnings

 

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Considering the length of Ivey’s poker career and his astonishing success, it’s almost impossible to list all of his wins because his poker resume is impeccable. Ivey’s top poker accomplishments include 10 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and five runner-up finishes. He garnered over $25 million in cash outside of the WSOP and even crushed online poker tables, profiting over $20 million on Full Tilt Poker.

Although there are no specific details on his net worth, Phil Ivey was said to have been worth almost $100 million during the poker boom era. From all these successes, he was rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017 upon his age eligibility.

Edge-sorting controversy

Ivey is a generally respected player in the poker community. However, in 2012, Ivey and his long-time gambling partner Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun attended a poker game at Borgata and won millions of dollars, only to be discovered cheating through edge-sorting. This technique is employed to determine the value of future cards in Baccarat, providing players with an edge over the house. It was in 2014 when Borgata filed a $10.1 million lawsuit against the poker pro, which started a legal war that lasted until July 2020, wherein both parties reached a settlement.

Beyond poker games

Aside from playing poker, Phil Ivey has also gotten involved in many different activities. Ivey co-founded the Budding Ivey Foundation in 2008 and has donated thousands of dollars to charities. In 2019, he hosted an online poker strategy class on Masterclass, teaching numerous players his tips and tricks on the felt.

Ivey hasn’t neglected the tech sector either. In 2021, Ivey worked with luxury footwear and customization space, The Shoe Surgeon, and the world’s largest sneaker convention, Sneaker Con, to release the world’s first multiverse NFT on the Moments’ marketplace. Through the multiverse NFT, the owner gets to claim possession of a recorded High Stakes poker battle between Ivey and Tom Dwan as well as sneakers that can be worn in the metaverse and real life. They also have the chance to earn an all-expenses paid luxury trip to Las Vegas to play with Phil Ivey himself.


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