Phil Ivey certainly had numerous big moments throughout his poker career, but last night probably belongs amongst the most important ones. After defeating 485-strong field in the $1,500 Eight Game Mix Event, Ivey made the history, winning his tenth WSOP bracelet and joining the short list of players with ten or more bracelets – Phil Hellmuth (13), Johnny Chan (10) and Doyle Brunson (10).
It is no surprise that the win came in the 8-game mix, as Ivey is one of the selected few who are true masters of not only No Limit Hold’em but the whole spectrum of different poker variations. And last night, it wasn’t just the bracelet at the stake for Mr. Ivey.
Daniel Negreanu and Ivey offered the prop-bet before the series started that one of them would win a bracelet and were taking bets at even money. As time was running out and number of tournaments they had in front of them was dwindling, it felt like this tournament was the one that would determine the fate of the bet.
This was especially true since both him and KidPoker made it through to Day 3 of the Event with 14 players remaining, giving them a great chance to finally lock up a bracelet. It would be an epic ending if the two ended up playing heads-up for the title, but it wasn’t meant to be, as Negreanu was eliminated in 9th place, leaving Ivey alone to stand for their cause.
Tiger Woods of poker took this role very seriously and the remaining seven players stood very little chance against the menace that Ivey was at the felt last night. He would outlast every single player standing between him and the bracelet, starting with Alex Rocha. Rocha was eliminated in 8th place at hands of Dan Heimiller in a Razz hand. Next to fall was Christopher Haller who lost a coin flip to Bruce Yamron, when his pocket Nines could not hold against Yamrons #ah#kc.
Yuebin Gou was eliminated in 6th place in a Stud 8 hand, when his two pair was no good against Aces and Kings of Heimiller. Following his exit was Stephen Chidwick whose chips went to Ivey in 2-7 triple draw hand, where Ivey’s Eighty-Five was more than enough to beat Chidwick’s Jack-low. Aaron Steury finished in fourth place, when his #ad#qh was outrun by Heimiller’s #ac#jh.
One more needed to go before the heads up would start, and that man was Dan Heimiller who shoved from the button with #kh#4h and Ivey made the call with #ah#6h and flopped Heimiller nearly dead in the water. Turn card locked it up, and Heimiller was on his way to the rail, picking up $66,246 for his efforts.
After his departure, an epic heads up started between Phil Ivey and Bruce Yamron. But while it was epic in its significance, it was far less epic in its length, as Ivey took all of Yamron’s chips in about thirty minutes of play. The game that ended it all was Omaha 8, when Yamron put himself at risk on the board reading #as#7c#5c #kd. Yamron held #ah#js#8s#7h and had two pair but was behind Ivey’s #ac#ks#9c#8s and better two pair. There were some low outs that Yamron could catch to stay in play as well, but as rivercame #qd he was eliminated in second place, earning $103,375.
Phil Ivey shook the hand of his opponent respectfully, but he was the ultimate winner. Not only because he won this one and earned $167,000, but because he claimed his tenth bracelet and without any doubt crushed the hopes of many who took the bet against him and Negreanu.
Ivey remained calm and true to his image, but expressed the sentiment that it was very satisfying to tie for the bracelet with the poker legend that is Doyle Brunson. Although Phil admitted it wasn’t that fair of the race as Doyle doesn’t play that many tournaments nowadays, he said that he played with Doyle the other day for 12 hours straight and that he is still as sharp as he can be.
Great achievement for a great player, no doubt. With this, Phil Ivey confirmed once again that his legendary status in the poker community will not be overshadowed for years to come, and if anyone was to try it, they have their work cut out for them.