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Phil Ivey Aims for First WSOP Texas Hold'em Gold Bracelet

While widely regarded as the world’s best all-around poker player with a resume that includes nine WSOP gold bracelets, Phil Ivey has surprisingly never won a WSOP title in which the game type played was Texas Hold’em.

The 45th annual World Series of Poker gets underway on Tuesday, May 27 and the Tiger Woods of Poker will be aiming to put an end to that career oddity. Of the 65 events on the 2014 WSOP schedule, 39 will be played as Texas Hold’em, either No-Limit, Fixed-Limit, or Pot-Limit.

However, Ivey will be precluded from entering three of those, as he’s neither a casino employee, a senior citizen, or a lady. Well, he could enter the Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship event but would have to buy-in for $10,000, while females are required to pony up only $1,000 to enter.

Ivey won his first WSOP title in 2000, taking home $195,000 in Pot-Limit Omaha. While he didn’t finish in the WSOP winner’s circle in 2001, he did grab a whopping three bracelets in Las Vegas in 2002. Two of those were in 7-Card Stud, while the third was a $2,000 Limit S.H.O.E. event.

Ivey’s next gold bracelet came in 2005 in Pot-Limit Omaha where the $5,000 buy-in gave him his largest career score up to that point with first place prize money of $635,603, according to the Hendon Mob database. Just five months later, he eclipsed that amount by winning $1 million in a Texas Hold’em tournament that was not hosted by the WSOP. Ivey took down the $25,000 Monte Carlo Millions for his first million-dollar payday.

A WSOP gold bracelet drought ensued for a few years but million-dollar paydays and Texas Hold’em titles in non-WSOP sponsored events did not. Five days after his Monte Carlo Millions victory, Ivey won another Texas Hold’em tournament when he captured the $120,000 Full Tilt Poker Invitational for $600K.

In 2008 at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, Ivey binked another Texas Hold’em tournament, the $10,000 Championship Event that added $1,596,100 to his already bulging bankroll. The following year, he got back on the WSOP gold bracelet chase by winning nos. 6 & 7 in No-Limit Deuce to Seven Draw and Omaha/7-Card Stud Hi/Lo, respectively.

WSOP title no. 8 was won in 2010 when Ivey bested the field in $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. and won more than $329,000. His proficiency in Texas Hold’em reached new monetary heights in 2012 in another non-WSOP event at the Aussie Millions Poker Challenge where a $250,000 buy-in and stellar play resulted in the championship and over $2 million in prize money.

Ivey’s ninth WSOP gold bracelet came about in April of last year in the Land Down Under at the WSOP-Asia Pacific in a AUD$2,200 Mixed Event that was good for $54,252. Critics came out in full force following that tourney with many proclaiming that the miniscule field of only 81 players was hardly worthy of a WSOP bracelet being issued.

Nonetheless, it was a bracelet event and Ivey certainly has no control over the number of players who buy in. What he does control is the game of poker whether its Texas Hold’em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha or whatever. The fact that Ivey has never won a WSOP title in Texas Hold’em is just a rarity that may no longer hold true following the WSOP at the Rio this summer.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.