Popularly referred to as the Tiger Woods of poker by his fans, Phillip Dennis Ivey Jr. has made a name for himself at both poker tables and online sites all over the world. Winning a total of ten World Series of Poker bracelets and one tour title for world poker is no small feat. Ivey has also appeared at nine of the world’s famous Poker Tour final tables.
Observers, who have followed his career from when he started in the 1990s, describe him as the best all-round poker player in the world. When he won against his colleagues at a telemarketing firm where he worked in the 1990’s in the state of New Jersey, no one imagined that he would progress from being a regular guy to one of the most talked about personalities in poker history.
From an early age, Ivey had already developed an interest in poker, as shown by the fact that he got the “No Home Jerome” nickname from the days when as a teenager he secured the identity card needed to play poker in Atlantic City. He is also known by the nickname “The Phenom”, which he acquired after he won three World Series of Poker bracelets in 2002.
Phil Ivey’s Casino Adventures
At just 38 years of age, Phil Ivey became the youngest poker player to have ten poker bracelet wins. It is phenomenal that Phil managed to accumulate his wins within a period of three years, in much less time compared to other world-class players with the same number of bracelets. One humorous and rather odd fact concerning his recorded wins is that he has held the same hand of an Ace and Queen in many of his games. In many instances this has raised concern over the authenticity of his wins, and many casinos are not happy to have him at their tables.
Although he is reported to have won over $23 million from casinos all around the world, Phil Ivey’s winning streak is associated with cheating. At one time he is reported to have won millions of dollars by taking advantage of misprinted cards that he spotted on the tables of the Crockford Casino. It is unfortunate for him that the casino realized the malpractice early and refused to honour the win.
On another occasion Phil won a large sum of money from Borgata Casino in Atlantic City by allegedly taking advantage of a defect in the cards of a game he was playing. In his defense, since he was sued for cheating, he told the court that it was not his responsibility to report cases of ill-manufactured cards, and there was no way to prove that the cards were defective. He also accused the casino of trying to take advantage of players by serving them free alcohol and using overly curvaceous waitresses to serve at the tables.
High Stakes Casino Habits
Phil Ivey appears to have a lot of money to spend, as he is always seen in casinos around the world competing in poker tournaments. He is, however, equally generous when it comes to donating to charitable causes. One of his most recent initiatives, which was launched in 2014, offers a chance for players to compete against him or other players of his caliber. Ivey is also generous with his stakes, probably because he is almost sure that he is going to win, but also likely because he is eyeing a larger payout when he does. On the day before he won $10 million from Borgata Casino, he is reported to have been playing with a Chinese lady friend from Las Vegas. They started playing in a private room, with a million pound stake, and they left having lost close to half a million pounds. They played for high stakes, even requesting the bet be raised from 50,000 to 150,000 per hand.
Everyone knows that casinos always have a way of keeping the house advantage high, so that large sums of money are not regularly paid out. What Ivey has been accused of doing is stealing from a system that is already out to make money from the ignorance or inexperience of its players. People who support Phil Ivey feel that the ‘cheating’ that he is often accused of being in engaged in, is based on technicalities, and so it shouldn’t be understood in the literal sense of the word.