Legendary Phil Ivey is always a star across the poker scene whenever and wherever he goes to major events, or at times even when he doesn’t. A few months ago, the ten-time bracelet winner expressed his plans and motivations to go back in on the action especially with the World Series of Poker events finally lined up for the year. The long-time pro however, has been sorely missed in the exciting festivities yet has appeared in Hustler Casino Live’s streamed cash games and NFT’s launch party in town. Fans remain hopeful to see the poker superstar in the esteemed games with three eventful weeks left on schedule.
A disappointing appearance at Hustler Casino Live
Headlined as Hustler Casino Live’s most awaited guest, the high stakes cash game which played through a week ago did indeed see Ivey on the tables while less thrilling than expected. Ivey appeared alongside fellow superstar Tom Dwan and Los Angeles high stakes regular Garrett Adelstein for the $100,000 minimum buy-in $200/$400 No Limit Hold’em cash game and was seen abandoning the felt before the stream concluded on both nights.
Committed to both Friday and Saturday’s games, Ivey appeared disinterested in the tables and was seen stepping away a number of times to check back on some sporting events during the time. The Poker Hall of Famer recorded a $150,000 loss on the first night and was unable to recuperate the six-figure deficit the following session. Solve for Why founder Matt Berkey described to PokerNews his experience against the world-renowned poker player saying that Ivey seemed ‘bored’ throughout the game.
While fans failed to pick up on the excitement of Ivey’s appearance, former Full Tilt grinder Dwan did make a smashing round of plays and collected profits upwards of $250,000. The streamed high stakes cash game featuring notable poker personalities have so far racked up the highest number of viewers recorded by the channel, almost reaching 600,000 views to date.
Phil Ivey’s Vegas-fitting NFT launch party
Just before the Halloween weekend hit, Ivey once again graced industry news as he launched the NFT sneaker he worked on in collaboration with Dominic “The Shoe Surgeon” Chambrone. The icon celebrated the launch in a $4 million Las Vegas mansion with celebrities as well as other famous poker characters like Ebony Kenney and World Poker Tour president Adam Pliska, in attendance. Free-flowing booze mixed in with dozens of models and influencers filled the 8,300 square foot venue and made the festivities visually fit for a movie scene.
Highly talented “The Shoe Surgeon” revealed to PokerNews that Ivey played a major role in the design and creation of the shoe and even incorporated a memorable hand against Dwan back in the day to commemorate the pro’s career. Bidding for the exclusive shoe started at $50,000 with the auction due to close in a few days where one lucky winner would eventually get their hands on the one of a kind sneaker.
More importantly, Ivey spoke with PokerNews’ Lara Neacy regarding his plans of attending the ongoing WSOP events, and hinted on what could be an upcoming appearance at the Rio.
“I’ve been playing (poker) a little bit during the World Series in some side games, and I intend to play quite a bit the rest of the way.“, noted Ivey.
“… I’m going to make a decision whether or not to play the Main Event. I’m just not sure“, he further added.
Ivey’s vaccination status in question
An earlier podcast feature with iconic host Daniel Negreanu heard Ivey saying that he plans to take part in the WSOP games “100 percent if I’m in town”, which ultimately left fans expecting to see a return of the regarded phenom. However with the festivities already over a month in, Ivey remains to be a missed character throughout the 88-bracelet event schedule, leaving fans desperately wondering what the pro’s reasons for not attending could possibly be.
Two hours into Saturday’s Hustler Casino Live stream, viewers got a glimpse of what potentially could be holding back Ivey from an eleventh bracelet search. When asked by opponent Dwan on whether he got a Covid-19 vaccine, Ivey dodged the question and replied, “Yeah, I don’t want to talk about that.” Followed by Dwan saying, “Really? Oh, s**t.” and a moment of silence and laughter from both parties to end the conversation. While the issue is only speculation for now, the lack of a definite answer could also be the pro’s way to keep his stance private and off public opinion.
The WSOP officially announced back in August that all event attendees this fall must present proof that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 upon registration to become eligible to participate in any of the brand’s live action games. The decision, while positively welcomed by numerous personalities, left some fierce competitors such as Alex Foxen and wife Kristen Bicknell out of the games entirely. Whether Ivey’s vaccination status is the hindering factor or not, it’s glad to know that the pro is in town making his ability to attend this year’s festivities all in all more likely.