9 Phil Ivey Stories You Didn’t Know About

Phil Ivey is undoubtedly one of the most talented, and enigmatic poker players ever to have played the game. The fact that he only gives interviews on rare occasions has only fuelled the interest in who Phil Ivey truly is. The following stories should help to shed some light on the subject.

1- Phil Ivey managed to beat casinos for millions playing Punto Banco

Phil Ivey is not only famous for his incredible poker talent, but also has a thirst for more degenerate forms of gambling. He frequently bets huge amounts of money on house games, and also sports betting.

One of the more recent stories relating to his gambling “abilities” involved Mayfair club, Crockfords Casino, the oldest private gaming club in London. After playing Punto Banco over two nights, Ivey admitted that he was able to win by exploiting tiny asymmetrical pattern differences on the cards by asking the dealer to rotate somebody them 180 degrees. This, coupled with the design flaw, then allowed the strongest cards to be visible when they were the next card to be dealt. This allowed Ivey to create an advantage for himself by adjusting his bet sizes accordingly.

Crockfords claimed that this was a trick that essentially added up to cheating, and refused to pay Ivey his winnings ($12 million).  Phil Ivey then sued the casino, on the grounds that they only had themselves to blame for using flawed cards, and rotating them as he asked. He went on to lose the case however. Few month later he was then sued for $9.6 million by Borgata Casino in the U.S, who claimed that they had also been victims of Ivey’s “edge sorting” technique.

Full Story: The Day That Phil Ivey Won £7.8m From Crockfords Casino 

2- A man called Jerome Graham

Phil Ivey’s name used to be Jerome Graham, as that was the name on the fake I.D card that he used. After his grandfather taught him how to play poker, Phil Ivey started to sneak into Atlantic City card rooms aged 17. He used his fake I.D card and the name on it, which led to the nickname “No Home Jerome.”

3- Phil Ivey paid $150,000 to eat a piece of chicken

Phil Ivey – High Stakes Poker

Phil Ivey always enjoys making bets with fellow poker pros, with one such “prop bet” arising between him and Tom Dwan on High Stakes Poker. Dwan bet Ivey that he couldn’t go an entire year without meat for $1 million. Ivey quickly accepted, but grew to regret his decision, later negotiating to opt out of the bet very early, for $150,000.

4- Phil Ivey once risked $2 million on a single sports bet.

In February 2010, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Phil Ivey placed a $2 million bet on a Superbowl game between the Saints and Colts. He apparently chose the wrong side however, and lost the bet.

5- Phil Ivey once had a U.S Senator’s son caddying for him when he went golfing.

This small anecdote is reported by Nolan Dalla on his blog. After noticing during a round of golf that Ivey’s clubs were being carried by none other than Senator John Ensign’s son, Dalla remarked

Wow, Phil – now that’s’ success. Having a U.S Senator’s son to caddy for you.”

To which Ivey replied “No, Nolan – that’s not success. Having THE SENATOR caddy for you, that would be success.”

6- Phil Ivey and the inglorious early days.

People sometimes forget that Phil Ivey‘s beginnings in the poker world weren’t easy. He once worked as a telemarketer to make ends meet, when he couldn’t entirely support himself through poker. According to Daniel Negreanu, he used to be a terrible player who would play 80 hours straight, with hardly any breaks. He used to endure a 2 hour bus journey twice each day, in order to reach Atlantic City, and would sleep outside when he missed the last bus.

7- The Cristal Balla

This story reported by Pokerlistings, took place at the Wynn in Las Vegas. On the adjacent table to Phil Ivey, a group of businessmen were enjoying a meal. Being fans of Ivey, they asked the waiter to send a bottle of Cristal to his table, worth around $500.

Just a few minutes later, Ivey called the waiter over and sent 5 bottles of Cristal to the businessmen’s table as a thank you gesture. Impressed by his generosity, they decided to have some fun with the situation, and delivered 20 bottles of Cristal to Ivey‘s table.

Just a few minutes later, and there were 200 bottles of Cristal stacked up high at the businessmen’s table. $100,000 worth of vintage champagne!

As the waiter walked away, he simply said “This is from Mr Ivey sirs…..He won’t stop.”

8 – He once rescued the bankrolls of his fellow pros by beating Andy Beal for $16 million

The story of “The Corporation” has become part of poker folklore and it could easily have had a very different ending. With his team mates having lost millions playing against Texan billionaire Andy Beal, Ivey stepped up to save the day and prevent poker’s elite from getting bankrupted. They gave Ivey their last few million and he crushed Beal, spinning it up with $16 million in winnings over three sessions.

Beal left after the final session, vowing that his poker days were done. He returned though, in 2015 to dump another $5 million to Todd Brunson. You can find the full story here:

9- How Phil Ivey feels about money?


Sometimes a picture is worth more than 10,000 words…. His comment:“This picture has been around for a while. Truth is, I don’t think I knew the money was there”

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Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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