– General Information –
Isaac Haxton is an American professional poker player. He was born on September 21st 1981, in Westchester, NY.
He’s best known for playing and regularly cashing in the highest buy-in tournaments around the world. His live tournament earnings exceed $27.6 million.
Haxton also played high stakes online cash games under a screen name that pays hommage to another poker great, “philivey2694”. He was even a member of PokerStars Team Pro for a while. However, he was one of the first players to sever ties with the online poker giant and criticise it heavily afterwards.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2004: He decides to play poker full-time in the summer after his freshman year in college. He does end up finishing his studies, but he plays full-time every summer after that.
- 2007: In his first major live tournament, the $8,000 WPT Championship event at the 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, he finishes 2nd and wins $861,789.
- 2009: He finishes in 2nd place in the WSOP $40,000 40th Anniversary event for $1,168,565.
- 2014: Another 2nd in the Aussie Millions A$250,000 Challenge for $2,525,841.
- 2016: He quits PokerStars Team Pro after the poker site cancels its Supernova Elite program without any prior notice to the players. He becomes a vocal critic of the online poker operator.
- 2017: Finishes 3rd in the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship – 6 Handed (Event #62) for $595,812.
- 2018: He wins the $300,000 Aria Super High Roller for $3.67 million. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
- 2018: He joins Team partypoker
– Isaac Haxton’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Haxton was an exceptional student in elementary and high school. He even skipped 5th grade. He went on to earn a degree in computer science from Brown University. He was also an avid chess and Magic: The Gathering player.
According to his profile on pokernews.com, he found poker at the age of 18, just when he turned old enough to play legally in his home state of New York. He started playing $3/$6 limit Hold’em cash games at the Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York.
Haxton started winning early and took a liking to poker, thus he started studying it conscientiously.
After his freshman year of college, he spent his summer playing live cash full-time. He earned $40,000 that summer. From that point on, the young Haxton did the same thing in every college break. He also deposited on UltimateBet and began grinding online as well.
There was no doubt about his career choice. After graduating, he became a professional poker player – although his parents objected to his decision.
→ Live Tournaments ←
Isaac Haxton is one of the most successful live tournament players of our time. With over $27.6 million in cashes, he’s in the top 20 biggest winners on HendonMob’s All Time Money list.
He started his live tournament career with a bang. The first result on his HendonMob profile is a 2nd place finish in the $8,000 WPT Championship event for $861,789 at the 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
Haxton was never grinding in the couple hundred dollar tournaments. He built up his bankroll playing live and online cash games and went straight for the high rollers.
The next year, in October 2008, he came in 6th in a £20,000 European Poker Tour High Roller in London for £103,000.
In June 2013, he came in 5th in the HK$1,000,000 Main Event at the GuangDong Asia Millions in Macau for $1.314 million.
He also got over $2.5 million for a runner-up finish in a A$250,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament at the 2014 Aussie Millions.
He regularly plays the super high stakes tourneys at the Aria. In July 2014, he finished 2nd in a $100K Aria super high roller for $813,394. In December 2018, he took down the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $3.67 million. That is his biggest single live tournament score to date.
Haxton is also frequently featured in the Triton high roller series’ events around the world. Despite that, he never actually won any of their tournaments.
In the Triton series, he has a 6th place finish in the HK$2,000,000 NLHE Super High Roller for $802,589 from March 2019 in Jeju; as well as another 6th place finish in a £100,000 Short Deck Hold’em event for £611,900 from August 2019 in London.
→ World Series Of Poker ←
Despite all of his achievements on the live felt, Isaac Haxton actually never won a WSOP gold bracelet.
He came very close to winning one in 2009. He finished 2nd in the $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the World Series. He lost the heads-up battle to the Russian Vitaly Lunkin. Haxton ended up cashing for $1.17 million.
He also has a 3rd place finish for $595,812 in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship in 2017 and a 4th place finish for $518,882 in the $50,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller event in 2018.
Haxton has made it into the money in the famous WSOP Main Event 3 times. His highest ITM finish is from 2007 when he came in 94th place for $67,535.
Overall, he has cashed in 27 events at the World Series for a combined $2.92 million.
→ Live Cash Games ←
As we wrote in our intro, Haxton started his career in professional poker as a limit cash game player in upstate New York casinos.
He started off playing $3/$6 Limit Hold’em. In a couple of years, he worked his way up to the $30/$60 level.
However, when his career really took off he shifted his focus to live tournaments instead.
In November 2019, he played in Triton Poker’s super high stakes, €2,000/€4,000/€4,000 NLHE cash game in Montenegro.
In that game, he took down a massive €1.3 million pot in a hand against Tan Xuan:
He also appeared on PokerStars’ live cash game show Big Game, airing on the Fox Network in 2010. There, he played against the likes of Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari, some of the biggest names in poker history.
→ Online Poker ←
Haxton originally began in online poker as a low stakes cash player, playing $0.25/$0.50 NLHE on the now defunct poker site Ultimate Bet.
He ended up moving to PokerStars where he played under the screen name “philivey2694”, evidently paying homage to another poker legend, Phil Ivey. There, he moved up in stakes, often having sessions of $50/$100 or even $200/$400 heads-up NLHE and PLO.
In August 2016, he played a series of highly publicized PLO and 8-Game sessions against another online poker great, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom from Sweden. Since it wasn’t a heads-up game, both of them managed to stand up from the table with a profit. Ike “philivey2694” Haxton won $196,432 while Blom won $111,570.
During the time of the Corona timespandemic in June 2020, Haxton once again proved his skills online by taking down the Poker Masters Online PLO Series Main Event on partypoker for $675,000.
→ Scandals ←
His departure from PokerStars Team Pro and his subsequent criticism of Stars
Back in 2016, PokerStars caused quite a stir in the online poker community after suddenly deciding to cancel the Supernova Elite rakeback program. That meant that the biggest grinders on the site had to miss out on previously promised cashback bonuses.
Haxton was one of the first PokerStars Team Pro members to give up his sponsorship in protest. He’s criticized Stars heavily in public multiple times since.
Perhaps his most strongly worded message came in August 2017. In reply to an article defending PokerStars’ mishaps, he tweeted: “Stars lied and defrauded players out of millions. Any apparent generosity is to be treated as laying the groundwork for the next con.”
Stars lied and defrauded players out of millions. Any apparent generosity is to be treated as laying the groundwork for the next con. https://t.co/fSTFRwl6q2
— Isaac Haxton (@ikepoker) August 16, 2017
In 2018 he joined the ambassador team of PokerStars’ biggest rival, partypoker.