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WSOP Gold: A Legend and an Amateur Share Poker’s Stage

Phil Ivey Wins Sixth Bracelet; Travis Johnson Wins First


Phil Ivey respectfully removed his cap. Travis Johnson swallowed hard. The national anthem finished playing, and two more players were awarded bracelets today.

This is probably what tournament organizers were dreaming of when they first envisioned bracelet ceremonies at the Rio: two competitors sharing the stage, one a glorified pro and the other an amateur, in front of a packed crowd of media and spectators.

Their stories couldn’t be any more different. Phil Ivey had just taken down his sixth bracelet to further cement himself as one of the game’s greatest players. Travis Johnson had just completed a magical run to take down only the second World Series event he has ever played in.

This is the World Series — where pros can become legends, and where amateurs can live out their dreams.

“I can’t even wrap my head around it,” said Johnson, who won $666,853 after earning his seat in the tournament thanks to a $340 satellite. “It’s really incomprehensible right now.”

Johnson was modest and gracious after his win, praising the play of his peers and referring to himself as “a weekend player, really.” But there was nothing unimpressive about his run to the final table of Event No. 7, a $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament, where he beat out a field of 2,791 players to win his first bracelet.

“I was so happy just to cash for $3,000,” said Johnson after he made the money, who plans to pay off student loans, car payments, and credit card bills, as well as help out his parents with his winnings. “The most I’ve ever had is 10 grand. [$666,853] is such an incredible amount of money that it doesn’t even feel real right now.”

Johnson said it was incredible to share the stage at the bracelet ceremony with Phil Ivey, who moved into a tie for seventh place for the most career bracelets with six. Phil Hellmuth leads that group with 11.

“Ivey’s shirt is probably worth more than my car,” Johnson cracked. “It was really special to be up there with him. I won’t believe it until I see the pictures.”

Ivey won Event No. 8, a $2,500 deuce-to-seven no-limit tournament, for $96,361. However, if you believe the rumors, the Full Tilt pro might have taken down close to $3 million in prop bets for winning his sixth bracelet this year. At 32, he is the youngest person to ever win six bracelets.

True to his private reputation, Ivey scuttled away from the stage after the ceremony without accepting interviews.

He did, however, say a few words after his win last night.

“I don’t play much Deuce, so I am pretty proud I won a bracelet in this event,” said Ivey. “It really means a lot. Every time you win a bracelet, especially now, it is a major accomplishment.”

This was Ivey’s first bracelet since 2005. Still, he was confident that he would eventually overtake Hellmuth as the all-time bracelets leader.

“Of course I want to catch them (the players ahead of him on the all-time list),” said Ivey. “I will.”



almost 13 years ago

I wish these readers could see the "real" phil i. not the one that is portrayed in this story. Celebrity status has sincerely overtaken one of the games greats. However, treating ppl that aren't your equals like such is probably about the lowest a person could be. Congrats anyway Mr. Ivey on #6. Nuff Said.

almost 13 years ago

please elaborate on your comments as it doesnt say much... congrats phil on nr 6