Phil Ivey is widely considered to be the best poker player on the planet (go ahead argue for someone else), and he is also one of the handful of candidates for the illustrious title of the greatest poker player to ever live.

But unlike the superstars of today who learn behind a computer and can become world class in a matter of months, the New Jersey native wasn’t a success right out of the chute.

For Phil Ivey it took time to rise to the top, and that first meant conquering the tough 7-Card Stud games in Atlantic City.

In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that Phil Ivey wasn’t even a naturally gifted player as he had plenty of early ups and downs.

By all accounts Ivey worked on his game relentlessly, with enough dedication to work as a telemarketer during downswings, and live like a pauper when he had to which earned him his now somewhat infamous nickname, “No Home Jerome.”

It’s hard to imagine this now, but Phil Ivey wasn’t always Phil Ivey. Quite literally, in fact,  when he started playing he was underage and would go to the Atlantic City casinos using a fake ID with the name Jerome Graham on it – I’ve always wanted to be there to see the look on the floors’ faces the day he turned 21 and showed up to play poker and explained his name wasn’t Jerome.

Now Phil Ivey (no longer having to go by the name Jerome) is sitting at the top of the poker world. A living legend who is still at the very top of his game. And it all started with Ivey spewing money in low limit 7-Card Stud games along the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

Ivey’s legacy Gets Cemented With Bracelet #10

Ivey won his 10th World Series of Poker bracelet just a week ago, winning the $1,500 8-Game Mix tournament at the Rio. In the process, collecting on another one of his infamous prop bets – this time around players could bet that the duo of Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu wouldn’t win a bracelet at the 2014 WSOP.

There has been no word on the amount the two won, but by all accounts it was at least mid-six figures and quite possibly higher – I’m sure Daniel has bought Ivey a few drinks since his win.

What makes winning 10 WSOP bracelets so incredibly impressive is that Ivey is known as a cash-game player. Sure, he can dominate tournaments, but he butters his bread in high-stakes cash games which means tournaments are relegated to the backseat.

Imagine what kind of tournament stats Ivey could put up if he was a tournament grinder only, devoting all of his timed to traveling the globe and playing in tourneys?

A Look at Ivey’s 10 Bracelets

One of the things that makes Ivey’s achievements so remarkable is his ability to excel in any game, any format, and stakes as can be seen by his WSOP bracelet wins which are in virtually every discipline sans Hold’em.

  1. 2000 WSOP: $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha – $195,000
  2. 2002 WSOP: $2,500 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo – $118,440
  3. 2002 WSOP: $2,000 SHOE – $107,540
  4. 2002 WSOP: $1,500 7 Card Stud – $132,000
  5. 2005 WSOP: $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha – $635,603
  6. 2009 WSOP: $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball – $96,367
  7. 2009 WSOP: $2,500 Omaha / 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo – $220,538
  8. 2010 WSOP: $3,000 HORSE – $329,840
  9. 2013 WSOP APAC $2,200 Mixed Event – $51,840
  10. 2014 WSOP: $1,500 Eight Game Mix – $166,986

A Look at Ivey’s Other Big Wins

Ivey can dominate Hold’em events as well, evidenced by his non-WSOP accomplishments:

  • 9 World Poker tour final tables (an absolutely amazing number considering he made those nine final tables between 2002 and 2010)
  • 1st place in the 2008 WPT LA Poker Classic, which was remarkably his only WPT victory
  • Two-time winner of the $250k Challenge at the Aussie Millions (2012 and 2014)
  • 1st place in the 2005 Monte Carlo Millions

Ivey just missed winning poker’s Triple Crown in 2006 (his WPT victory came in 2008) when he finished runner-up in the EPT Barcelona Open.

For his career he has amassed over $21 million in tournament winnings, good enough for 3rd on poker’s all-time money list. He is almost certainly the only poker player who can boast of winning $20 million online, another $20 million in live cash games, and another $20 million in live tournaments.

Oh, and right now he’s one of the contenders in the 2014 Big One for One Drop which has a first place prize of $15 million. There are currently 16 players remaining.

Ivey In Online Poker

To top it all off, Phil Ivey is also one of the most successful online poker players of all time. According to highstakesdb.com Ivey was at one time up nearly $20 million since the site started tracking online winnings.

So as I said in the opening, please make your case for someone else being better at poker than Phil Ivey.

Steve Ruddock

About

Steve is a seasoned veteran of the online gambling industry, having written about it from every possible angle in his many years as a freelance gaming writer. Based in Massachusetts, Steve especially focuses on regulatory and legislative news coverage pertaining to the U.S. market.