When Phil Ivey set out to surround himself with the best pros the poker world has to offer for his coaching and training site, he did so with an eye toward finding a team of professionals that could teach poker as well as have the results to back it up.
One need look no further than the first three months of 2014 to see that the tournament results of Team Ivey Pros has been outstanding. The two and a half dozen or so members of the team have combined to earn $9 million in live and online tournament play in Q1.
Team Ivey has cashed in 50 live tourneys this year, with 25 of those consisting of final table finishes. A Team Ivey Pro landed in the winner’s circle in five of those events, including Ivey himself when he took down the Aussie Millions LK Boutique $250,000 Challenge for more than $3.5 million.
The other four first place finishes belong to Mike Leah, who has at least one victory in each of the year’s first three months. At the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in January, he bought in for $5,300 and scored first place prize money of $119,770. In February at the Fallsview Poker Classic, Leah bested the field in Event #1 for over $108,000.
When the calendar flipped to March, Leah kicked it up a notch by winning two WSOP Circuit championships within 24 hours at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. Another solid finish later in the month at the WPT National Canadian Spring Championship and Leah earned just shy of $280,000 in March alone.
Other big winners in live competition this year include 2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson, who eclipsed $1 million in earnings this month at the LA Poker Classic. But the bulk of Merson’s winnings came at the PCA where he followed up a 98th place cash of $20,300 in the Main Event by finishing second in the $25,000 High Roller for a tad less than $950K.
Dan Shak also passed $1 million in winnings this year. The “amateur” landed runner-up to Fabian Quoss in the PCA $100,000 Super High Roller for a payday of more than $1.175 million. The following month in the Land Down Under, Shak cashed for $87,484 for sixth place prize money in the Aussie Millions $25K Challenge.
All told, Team Ivey has taken home more than $7.5 million on the live felt thus far in 2014. In online poker tournaments, the Ivey Poker pro roster earned another $1.5 million to date this year by cashing in 1,075 tournaments. The Internet poker scorecard reads 37 victories in 170 final table finishes.
Standing out among the top online poker Team Ivey players was Dan Smith, who grabbed $125,146 by winning the title in Event #17 of the PokerStars Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) in January. Another prolific Ivey Poker online star was Griffin Benger, who cashed 262 times, made 42 final tables, secured nine championships, and won more than $362,000.
With the 2014 WSOP in Las Vegas just around the corner, Team Ivey is itching to pile on to that $9 million total and add a few bracelets in the process. Phil will be gunning for WSOP bracelet no. 10 as he and his colleagues descend on the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in May with an impressive start to 2014 already in the books.