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World Series Of Poker: Phil Ivey Records First Cash In Four Years

Hall Of Famer Makes Deep Run In Colossus Tournament

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Has poker great Phil Ivey recommitted himself to tournaments?

It appears to be that way early at the 2018 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. On Tuesday, Ivey finished 533rd out of 13,070 entries in the $565 buy-in Colossus no-limit hold’em event, which was his first cash at the annual summer poker festival since 2014. He’s won $6 million lifetime at the WSOP. Ivey drastically scaled back his play on poker’s biggest stage despite being tied for second on the all-time bracelet list. Phil Hellmuth leads with 14, and at one point in time Ivey publicly stated he wanted to pass Hellmuth.

Ivey, who was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame last summer, skipped the entire 2017 WSOP. In 2016, he played only the $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event.

The 40-year-old is well-known for giving the media little to no insight into his life or feelings about the game of poker, so it’s not known whether Ivey is grinding tournaments at the Rio Convention Center because of bracelet side bets. In years past, Ivey had millions on the line in wagers based on his performance at the festival, bets that far outpaced the prize money awarded by the casino.

Insights into Ivey’s mindset usually come from secondhand sources. Hellmuth told Card Player on Wednesday that he heard that Ivey doesn’t have any side action this year.

“I heard a rumor that he has zero bracelet bets and is just trying to win bracelets anyway,” Hellmuth said to Card Player via email. “Ivey is great, great, and he is the main threat to my WSOP bracelet legacy.” Hellmuth’s last bracelet came in 2015.

Hellmuth said he’s happy that Ivey is back in the thick of things at the WSOP because it gives him extra motivation for playing long hours on the green felt. “I think his presence helps me,” Hellmuth said. “It reminds me that I have to keep posting bracelets.”

Multiple reasons have been speculated for why Ivey stepped away from the WSOP in recent years, but his longtime friend and fellow Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu said last summer that Ivey was away, in part, because he was dealing with legal issues.

Ivey is still in the midst of a court case in New Jersey which could result in him having to repay the Borgata about $10 million thanks to controversial baccarat sessions from 2012. In the latest twist to the case, a judge ruled that while Ivey is on the hook for $10.1 million, the manufacturer of the defective cards used by the casino is potentially liable for just $27.

Between crazy cash game stories and actual eye-popping hands witnessed on TV, the massive tournament wins across the world over his career and his ability to often go deep in the most important tournament of the calendar year, Ivey is still one of the game’s legends despite talking a step back from poker stateside. Poker pro D.J. MacKinnon tweeted a brief Ivey story from the Colossus this week that nicely encapsulates his enduring legend status in the halls of the Rio.