“G.O.A.T.” Ivey Leads Day 3 of WSOP Main Event
Phil Ivey is almost a mythical poker monster. He reportedly plays all the poker games well, he has 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, but has never climbed to the top of the mountain to claim a WSOP Main Event title. It may be the biggest missing achievement from his poker résumé.
Day 3 of the 2014 WSOP Main Event will start later today with Ivey leading the way with 505,000 chips. According to WSOP.com, the event is down to 1,864 players from the 6,683 who started the three opening flights. He started the day just behind Day 1c chip leader Eric Tracy, and went through the day seemingly in beast mode all the way. Tracy starts Day 3 in 26th spot with 294,900 chips in his stack.
Ivey seems to have come out of the shell that he has been using to isolate himself from the world in recent years, and appears to be having fun at the tables. This might be something to do with the massive prop bet he recently won by picking up his 10th WSOP bracelet, but something has certainly brought a smile to his face. According to the WSOP.com updates, Danny Johnson decided to call Ivey G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time for those who are not familiar with the acronym) as Ivey was sat at his table. Rather than the unchanging mask that has become expected of Ivey, he actually appeared to genuinely smile.
Phil has also been talking more at the tables, and in a hand where he was drawing thin against Lazaro Hernandez’s made straight. Hernandez announced “I guess I’m going home.” Ivey was amazed and asked “Why do you think you’re going home?” and the only answer was “Because you’re Phil Ivey!” Hernandez turned out to be right of course, he is Phil Ivey. Phil hit a ten on the river to fill up a Full House to scoop the pot and bust both Hernandez and Fabian Scherle in the same hand.
During the last level of the day, Danny Johnson bought a round for his table, which still included the G.O.A.T. Phil Ivey. Everyone was sipping at their amber nectar, but not Phil. He was finishing his as most of the rest of the table was barely whetting their lips. “Looks like you need another?” Ivey was asked by the player next to him as he looked down at Ivey’s now drained cup. “I drink fast…This could get bad. I’m ready for like four more!” It seems Ivey was serious, as he kept a straight face through the table’s laughter. “I mean it, I’m not a one-beer man!” I can’t remember the last time we saw this much interaction out of Ivey, so maybe the shine off the 10th bracelet in his cabinet really has sparked a new Phil? Whatever the reason, it has to be good for the game.
— WSOP (@WSOP) July 8, 2014
As you can see from Danny Johnson’s comments above, Ivey is still considered by many to be the best all-around poker player ever. Wikipedia’s page on Ivey says the New Jersey native started playing poker against fellow workers at the Telemarketing firm he worked at in the late 1990’s. The games there must have been tougher than the similar home games I played in about the same time, as in 2002 Ivey tied the record for the number of WSOP bracelets in one year. His tally of three bracelets tied Puggy Pearson and Ted Forrest’s record, and earned Ivey the nickname of “The Phenom.” Ivey’s best result in the WSOP Main Event to date is the 7th place he got back in 2009, although he also has a 10th, 20th and 23rd place in the ME since 2002.
The Las Vegas resident’s tally of 10 WSOP bracelets is tied for 2nd highest all time with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. They are all behind the self-professed master of “White Magic,” Phil Hellmuth, who has 13. Given the relative ages of the three chasers, Ivey is probably the most likely to be the one to catch Hellmuth, as long as he actually plays the events rather than sitting in the cash games that run alongside the WSOP.
If we lived in the world inside George R.R. Martin’s mind, we would have to describe as Ivey a Dragon. A mythical creature that is thought to not exist, but faced with the overwhelming evidence of having a fire breathing winged lizard in front of you, you have no choice but to adapt your reality. Ivey is that kind of creature, one that forces you to re-evaluate what is possible, and I don’t think he’s done changing the realities of the poker world yet.