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Phil Ivey vs. Andy Beal - Out $16.6 Million, Beal Heads Home

The High-Stakes Heads-Up Limit Hold'em Poker Match Wraps Up at Wynn Las Vegas


What is the sum of two players and a game of limit Texas hold'em, divided by three days of intense heads-up action? The answer is 16.6 million dollars.

Over the years, mathematical theorist Andy Beal has applied probability to the game of poker and found new fame by repeatedly challenging the elite in a spirited game of limit Texas hold'em.

"Beal's conjecture," otherwise known as the "Beal problem," became just that for The Corporation - a team of professional poker players who aggregated their $10 million and matched it against his $20 million in a series of private sessions. Since early February, the event became a virtual roller coaster ride for players and fans alike, with financial swings, false retirement claims, and multiple challengers adding to the excitement.

At the midmonth break of a nail-biting two-week competition, The Corporation had depleted their $10 million bankroll. The members dusted themselves off and prepared for Thursday's L.A. Poker Classic event in California. The game was paused until the two teams could coordinate their schedules.

On Monday night, Feb. 20, 2006, Beal was back on a plane to Las Vegas and checked himself into the Wynn Resort upon arrival. He returned to play a third week of high-stakes Texas hold'em poker against a new challenger, the Corporation's long time team member, Phil Ivey.

Ivey is known for his aggressive play and unwavering focus at the tables. At the recent Card Player Player of the Year awards, he took home three top awards, best no-limit player, best heads-up player, and most-feared player. Ivey continues to play the highest-stakes cash games in the world in addition to the tournament circuit.

Tuesday, Feb. 21:
Play began in the late afternoon and blinds were set at $30,000-$60,000, lower than the previous $50,000-$100,000 of weeks past. Ivey seemed to hold the lead throughout the day's match. Spectators in the high-limit section of the Wynn poker room, who witnessed much of the action, shared their thoughts with Card Player. Most felt Ivey had exhibited an aggressive approach. In typical fashion, he sat blank-faced, focused, and with his mouth agape.

It's the same expression that also won Ivey the "Flushies" award, for the best poker face, during the 2005 World Series of Poker. Ivey has an intense and intimidating nature at any table and the one-on-one competition with Beal only seemed to magnify this trait.

Play ended at around 7 p.m. PST and it appeared Ivey was up several racks. It was confirmed by a member of The Corporation that the number was $2 million in Ivey and The Corporation's favor.

Wednesday, Feb. 22:
First thing Wednesday morning, Ivey and Beal were again heads-up at the felt on table No. 3 at the Wynn. Blinds remained at $30,000-$60,000 and again Ivey seemed to have an advantage over Beal. In less than eight hours of heightened competition, Ivey ended the day with another monetary gain of $4.6 million.

Ivey and Beal left the table of the poker room together while they conversed amongst themselves.

Thursday, Feb. 23:

At 9 a.m. Beal and Ivey met for a third and final session. Ivey was in seat two, at the long end of the table, with his back against the wall. Beal sat in seat six, at an angle so as to face Ivey. To Beal's left (in seat seven), sat his long time friend and representative, Craig Singer and next to him was Michael Craig (author of the book The Professor, The Banker and the Suicide King), in seat nine. The two players discussed the possibility of raising the stakes while the witnesses remained silent. It took only moments for Ivey and Beal to come to an agreement and the blinds would indeed be raised to the original level of $25,000 - $50,000, increasing the limits to $50,000 - $100,000.

At around noon, the players took a short break and Craig Singer explained that Beal had developed a reserved curiosity over the media's need to share information regarding the private high-stakes matches. Back in Texas, Singer had printed a recent article and placed it on Beal's desk for his review. Suddenly, the break was over and Singer was due to return to his seat. He informed us Beal was up almost $2 million. "We're doing better today." He said as he returned to the game about to resume.

From the rail, one could see Beal reaching repeatedly into his rack for chips. Within a few hands it appeared Ivey had reversed his deficit and was back to even. The dealer was tapped out and a new one took his place. When that dealer was swapped-out, he shook his head, as in disbelief while walking from the table. The already intense face-off had become an action packed, raise-to-the-river spectacle.

Members of The Corporation began to arrive and could be seen on the sidelines, talking discretely amongst themselves. They were careful to keep a respectful distance from the table so as not to distract the players. It was just after 1 p.m. when both players suddenly rose to shake hands. After approximately four hours of play, Ivey had recovered his initial loss and won an additional $10 million.

The Corporation had recovered their $10 million loss since Feb 1, and earned another $6.5 million in revenue through Ivey's efforts.

Andy Beal complimented members of The Corporation for their sportsmanship and announced he would be heading home to Texas.

He also mentioned that he was done with poker.

For more on Andy Beal vs. The Corporation, click on the following links:

Andy Beal vs. The Corporation
Recap of Poker Heads-Up Matches at the Wynn Las Vegas

Andy Beal: Finished Playing Poker?
Texas Billionaire Backs Out of 2006 NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship

Andy Beal Really Is Back to Wynn
Andy Beal Resurfaces After Five-Day Retirement From Poker

Andy Beal Has Super Sunday
Recap of Sunday's Poker Match Between Beal and The Corporation at the Wynn

Andy Beal Is Back to Wynn: That's a Wrap for Now
The "Amateur" With the Deep Pockets Returns to Play