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Ivey Dominant, But Aloof Toward Poker Community

Close To Fifth WSOP Final Table In Two Weeks

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Ivey at one of his final tablesPhil Ivey is widely considered the game’s best player, but he’s also oblivious to the poker world.

On Tuesday evening, the eight-time WSOP bracelet winner was closing in on his fifth final table since June 8. He’s cashed for more than $500,000 and currently sits in seventh in the 2012 Player of the Year race.

Despite being one of the most recognizable faces in the gambling world, he doesn’t know the faces, or even names, of his peers. On Tuesday, Ivey met Vanessa Selbst for the first time. It was also the first time he had heard of her, according to Ivey’s long-time friend Daniel Negreanu, who introduced the two.

One may wonder if Ivey’s lack of enthusiasm for the poker community is a giant level — meaning an elaborate prank designed to accomplish some purpose — but it isn’t, Negreanu said.

“He doesn’t have many friends in poker,” Negreanu added. “He tries to stay away from all the gossip. He just wants to win.” Ivey’s career goal is 30 bracelets.

In the Omaha eight-or-better event a week ago, Ivey was seated next to high-stakes cash game pro Brian Hastings. Hastings said that Ivey thought his name was “Brian Madsen” — a blending of his first name and the last name of 2006 WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Madsen.

Hastings said he wasn’t offended by the confusion. Hastings thought it was “hilarious.” Both men had logged many hours together on Full Tilt Poker, the defunct site Ivey once worked for, as well as competed in person on the TV show Poker After Dark.

“I don’t think he cares at all about his public image,” Hastings said. He also called it “questionable” that Ivey remembered that they had played together even after he corrected him on the “Brian Madsen” mistake.

Rumor is that Ivey, at one time, didn’t know that Joe Cada won the 2009 main event. Ivey finished seventh that year in the no-limit hold’em championship.

Ivey’s self-immersion makes sense in that he doesn’t need the help of other players. Thomas Marchese Tweeted on June 8: “Asked phil Ivey if he wanted to swap for one drop and he didn’t know what swapping was. Guess when your the best you don’t swap to often [sic].” Marchese was referring to the $1 million buy-in event starting July 1.

The 36-year-old has so far declined to give interviews this summer. When there is a break in play, he quickly leaves for his trailer parked outside the Rio. He hasn’t publicly discussed Full Tilt Poker, although it seems the high-stakes community isn’t yet bothered by his silence. He’s never been accused of a crime in the alleged Full Tilt Poker fraud.

At around 9 p.m. local time in Las Vegas, Nevada, Ivey was third in chips with 22 left in Event No. 35 ($2,500 mixed hold’em).

Update: Ivey made the final table early Wednesday morning.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus

 
 
 
 

Comments

Tricia
10 years ago

It is also possible that Phil Ivey suffers from an anolmaly called face blindness, where people he sees regularly, plays with has seen on TV. he has no recollection as he is not able to recognizise their facial features. It is a very unique syndrome, but this may also account for his percieved aloofness as he really does NOT know who you are.

 
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mago
10 years ago

Yep, that is it.

 
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James16
10 years ago

I don't think he means to be aloof. He just doesn't feel the need to know every single players name or who's won what tournament recently. He's hardly going to be sitting with his laptop seeing who's going to win the latest tournament then keeping track of that player.

He know's he's the best, why bother to find out who Vanessa Selbst is, what difference would it make to his approach?

 
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Tsui18
10 years ago

According to Negreanu's tweet at the EPT Morte Carlo Super High Roller, Ivey didn't know who Jonathan Duhamel was until Daniel introduces him! Lol

 
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John25
10 years ago

Most of the "Poker Community" seems like a bunch of self promoting D-Bags. Always tweeting their every move and thought. Good for Phil Ivey!

 
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herbie5858
almost 10 years ago

John 25...could agree with you more...the tweets are obnoxious in the vast volume...and most of these guys seem to lead very boring and lonely lives as twitter seems to be their girlfriend. But I must say I read them at times to see how miserable these guys are.

Notice though that press happy Daniel N. has been very quite this wsop....I promise you if he were winning he would be all over the place including his video blog which has been silent for the series.....this guy needs constant attention.

The guys that really cracks me up on twitter is Poker Monkey griping about his latest suck out in a $230 tournament...seriously who gives a monkey's ass.

 
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3l33
almost 10 years ago

All you hear at tables now is that everybody is a donkey if they make one bad move. Every players is now a pro and they are all dangerous and they all make crazy great weird plays. Not sure why people would even follow any poker tweets.

 
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jollyoldengland
10 years ago

Wouldn't it just have been easier to amend the misspellings in the Thomas Marchese tweet rather than put 'sic'? It's a tweet, not a transcript of the Supreme Court. You can edit stuff.

 
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stud8sconfusing
10 years ago

havent you heard of poker players tweet or in poker forums say sic.

 
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Bigdinkscity
10 years ago

The guy is a professional and one of the best around. He remembers hands and moves and reads of players....but cant remember peoples names? Cmon? He knows who those people are. He needs to change his name to Kaiser Soze because all of you are crazy to believe that he is THAT unknowing?

 
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boku09
10 years ago

Correction to the article: Ivey is 36 years old, not 35.

 
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idun215
10 years ago

its not like this guy was very social to begin with. He just very focus on his game. I think either Ivey or Tom Dwan will win the $1million buy in.

 
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stud8sconfusing
10 years ago

he thinks hes better and is better than ev1 so therefore i just think its against is nature to give players their dew respect so he finds it easier to say he doesnt know them that way he's not forced to give a little respect their way.

 
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THEJOEF
10 years ago

Why would he ever want to be part of the crumb poker world unless there was money in it for him.He keeps score one way ,who wins the most money. He conducts himself better then anyone in the industry. He doesn't write books, he keeps a pretty humble image ,he does not whore himself. I admire the way he keeps to himself and always have. The great ones in life do tend to act this way. Bob Dylan, Tiger Woods , Johnny Depp just to name a few off the top of my head. Card player is just pissed because hes the biggest name in the game and wont give them the time of day. He stands alone and has for 10 years. Their is nothing really for him to say and i really don't think he gives 2 fxxxs what anyone thinks about him. Vanessa Selbts are you kidding me? Why the hell would Phil Ivey care about her. She couldnt beat the 2/5 at the Borgata and would throw a fit every time she lost a hand. She could not beat poker and went back to Law school. She then gets on a sick roll in tournament poker, no more school of course. Ivey has been all in from the time he was 18 , he was born for this type of life and handles himself like a real pro. Ivey , John Hennigan, Dwan and a few others are the real talents. They dont need anyone kissing their asses. They just win!!

 
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dsgnr4hire
10 years ago

he just started acting like this after black friday because, obviously he doesn't want to be asked about full tilt.

 
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bigvert
10 years ago

"He doesn't write books, he keeps a pretty humble image ,he does not whore himself. I admire the way he keeps to himself and always have. The great ones in life do tend to act this way. Bob Dylan, TIGER WOODS"

seriously, this might just be the most hilarious statement ever made.

 
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THEJOEF
10 years ago

AHHHHHHHH yeah?

 
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half_glass_full
10 years ago

Its called lack of ego. And rather than rack his brain with trying to remember every name and face he sees in the poker world, he instead focuses that energy else where, winning. That's what he told me anyway.

 
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THEJOEF
10 years ago

Ivey is one of a kind in the poker world.

 
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happyballs
10 years ago

Just back from WSOP and watched the 50K for some time and Ivey didn't say crap to anyone if he didn't have to. Jason Mercier was calling out to prop bet with him and Ivey didn't even look his way. If he wants to keep to himself, then so be it.

 
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