Nine Phil Ivey stories

Do you think you know everything about Phil Ivey ?

1 – Phil Ivey is currently suing a casino after being denied a 12 million usd win.

Phil Ivey is not only famous for his incredible poker talent, he is also a “degenerate” gambler used to betting huge amounts of money on craps or on other casino table games.

The last story related to his gambling “skills” involves Mayfair club Crockfords Casino, the oldest private gaming club of London.

After playing punto banco over two nights, Phil Ivey admitted he was able to exploit tiny asymmetrical pattern differences on the cards that are the result of mistakes made during the manufacturing process.

This meant that Ivey was able to recognize the key cards and bet accordingly. By using this “trick”, Crockfords claims that Ivey had a “significant advantage” over the house and refused to pay him.

Phil Ivey maintains in his claim that Crockfords’ owners were well aware how edge sorting worked and only have themselves to blame.

2 –  Phil Ivey name used to be “Jerome Graham”… on his fake ID card

After being taught by his grandfather how to play poker, Phil Ivey started at 17 to sneak into Atlantic Citycard rooms with a fake ID under the name of Jerome Graham.

3 –  Phil Ivey payed $150,000 for a piece of chicken

Phil Ivey consistently bets on anything with all his poker friends. One of  the most famous “prop bet’s” was made with Tom Dwan and agreed upon on the fourth episode of this season’s High Stakes Poker. The terms were extremely simple : giving up on meat during a one year period for one million dollars.

Three weeks later, Phil Ivey confronted with a piece of chicken realized that he couldn’t last it for a full year and decided to forfeit the bet with Tom Dwan’s agreement  for an amount of 150 000 usd.

4 – Phil Ivey lost two millions usd on a single sport bet

 In February 2010, Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Phil Ivey placed a 2 million dollars bet on the Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Saints and Colts. Unfortunately, he apparently picked the wrong team…

5 – Phil Ivey is a terrible poker player…

… able to muck the best hand on the river during the World Series of Poker. Phil Ivey himself admits later in an interview that “he couldn’t explain this mistake”.

6 – Phil Ivey had a U.S Senator’s son to caddy for him when he went golfing.

This small anecdote is reported by Nolan Dalla on his blog. After noticing during a golf session that Ivey’s caddie was Senator John Ensign’s son, he made the following comment:

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

“No, Nolan — that’s not success.  Having THE SENATOR caddy for you.  Now, that would be success.”

7 – Phil Ivey inglorious early days

People sometimes forget that Phil Ivey’s beginnings in the poker world haven’t been easy:

–  He was working as telemarketer when he wasn’t able to support himself with poker.

–  According to Daniel Nagreanu, he was a terrible player used to play 80 hours sessions without breaks.

–  He used to take the bus 2 times per day for 2 hours to reach Atlantic City and would sleep outdoors when and he missed the last bus

8 : The Cirstal balla

This story reported by Pokerlistings took place at the Wynn in Las Vegas. A group of businessmenwere having dinner  at a table next to Phil Ivey,

Being fans of the poker superstar, they asked the waiter to send Ivey a bottle of Cristal champagne worth approximately 500 usd. A few minutes later, Phil Ivey asked the waiter to offer them five bottles of Cristal as a thank you for this gesture.

Impressed by Phil Ivey’s generosity, they decided to test him and delivered twenty bottles of Cristal to his table. This was of course a misunderstanding of Phil Ivey’s character. A few minutes later the group of businessmen were sitting in the middle of 200 bottles of the vintage champagne – retailing at approximately $100k!

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

9 : How Phil Ivey feel’s about money ? 

A picture is sometimes worth more than 10 000 words


His comment : “this pic 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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