Monthly Archives: July 2009

Phil Ivey – The Greatest?

A few months ago I made a post about whether Tom Dwann is the greatest poker player in the world. Maybe I was getting carried away after watching a lot of High Stakes Poker, since I’m now left wondering whether Phil Ivey is the greatest player. Does it matter? Am I being fickle? No and yes are the answers to those questions. I mean, there are many world class poker players and picking out the best is a waste of time – but I’m here to waste time, so what the hell. Let’s put forward the case for Phil Ivey…

Of course I’m only talking about Phil Ivey because of his amazing run at this year’s WSOP – where he bagged two Bracelets, taking his total WSOP bracelet collection to an impressive seven! Of course winning two WSOP bracelets in any series is a fine achievement, even if there are too many WSOP events these days. I’m sure Ivey would have been more than satisfied with his WSOP 2009 performance if failed to make an impact in “the Big One” – but he makes the final table and will be back in November, as one of the November Nine. Amazing!

I love the fact that a poker superstar of Ivey’s calibre has reached the final table. Of course the WSOP Main Event turns ordinary poker players into recognized names, but it’s been a few years since a top name pro has reached the final, and I can’t wait. Even though he could do with a few more chips, you have to put him as one of the favorites – he is used to the pressure, and of course he has the game.

I’ve been a Phil Ivey fan for a few years now, and I’m sure many of you have seen this clip before, but it’s a great example of why he’s a poker icon:


To be fair, Jackson shows some real class in this hand too. They both display huge balls, and it’s one of my favorites. I include this clip since I was over at, where they have a “Masterclass” feature and this video is used, along with some really insightful hand analysis. Check out the Phil Ivey Masterclass over at


Would Julius Caesar Slow Play Aces?

Phil Hellmuth made quite an entrance to this years WSOP Main Event. He came dressed as the former Roman emperor, Julius Caesar, surrounded by a string of beautiful women in white toga-like dresses, and rose pettles were thrown at his feet. It was ridiculous, absurd, and comical! He was clearly embarrassed by the publicity stunt – and if you missed it, here it is:

It’s unlike Phil Hellmuth to play up for the cameras (cough!), but he was here with a purpose. “I came here to conquer like Caesar!” said Hellmuth as he entered the Rio. “I’m here to win my 12th bracelet.” Well he didn’t really conquer did he…finishing 400th of somewhere (I’m not 100% on the exact placing). To be fair, he made the money, but I wonder how the models who accompanied him in his entrance took the news – “400th? I thought he was the emperor of poker”. Of course they probably don’t know about variance.

Phil got busted slow playing Aces, by just flat calling an early position raiser, and allowing two more players to see a flop. All his chips went into middle on the flop, when he was behind (see official WSOP site for more details) to two pair, then a straight. Basically he tried playing too cute and I often here professional poker players say the biggest mistake amatuers make is slow playing big hands. Well I can’t wait to see the ESPN WSOP shows, especially when Hellmuth gets his balls busted. Can’t wait!

Are there too many WSOP events?

The $10k Main Event kicks off today, over a month after the first WSOP event of this year’s series. I must admit that I’ve got a bit bored with the coverage and I believe there are far too many events – particularly hold’em events. Here’s a list of the hold’em events at this year’s WSOP, not including the main event:

No-Limit Hold’em (Event 4) $1,000
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 7) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 9) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 11) $2,000
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 13) $2,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 15) $5,000
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 19) $2,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 22) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 24) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 28) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 32) $2,000
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 34) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 36) $2,000
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 39) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 41) $5,000
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 51) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 52) $3,000
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 54) $1,500
No-Limit Hold’em (Event 56) $5,000

Note: One of these (event 52) is a triple chance, two are shootouts (22 & 41) and three are six handed max (9, 19, 56).

I know the lower buy-in events are very popular, but do we really need so many of them? Do we need them at all? Personally I think its ridiculous having so many WSOP hold’em events. It devalues the series, which should be more exclusive in my opinion. If it was like this in the 1970’s then Doyle Brunson would probably have a lot more than 10 WSOP Bracelets.

But anyway, now the warm ups have finished – it’s time for the BIG ONE! Good luck to all the players lucky enough to have a seat!