now when I recall my first encounter with Phil Ivey it gives me a chuckle. At the time, Phil was unknown outside of Atlantic City. In
fact, as I recall I think this was his first trip to the World Series of Poker and he had never even played in LA yet. We were playing
at fairly live table, me in seat one (to the left of the dealer), him in seat eight -- although he could have been on the moon for all
I would have noticed, since he said not a word, and played not a hand for about an hour.
This young kid may not even have had a pulse for all I could tell. Then... I'm not sure how it came down, but we took a flop head-up.
I flopped some mediocre bit of near nothing, but since this "kid" hadn't moved in a month or so, I put him on an Ace-deuce type
of hand (the game was Omaha High Low). I bet the flop that was something like J84, he raised. Okay I thought, he's overplaying A2. If he
doesn't get there, I'll bet the turn and river and take the pot. The turn comes a nine. I bet, he raises, I call... my hand is
something like A378, with an eight high flush draw. The river card comes a ten, making me the idiot-end straight, but I figure it is a
good card, still believing he has A2-something-something. I check to let him bluff, he bets, I call. He shows... the mighty 3579. We
split the pot, and I almost fall off my chair -- as do the other players. I say: "You wait an hour to play a hand, and THAT is what
you play???" He replies: "Because, you're easy. You couldn't beat it."
Windows - Mac
So, the first time I meet Phil, he vegetates for an hour, then gambles for the first time in his life, and then needles me for good measure.
Since then Phil has risen to become one of the top players in the world, even paying his dues as he has moved up the ladder. I believe the
main reason for Phil's success is what he muttered under his breath at a table a few years later as someone told him how great a player he
was. He said: "I don't think I'm that good." In a world running over with ego players who think they play ten times better than
they do, Phil Ivey is one who thinks he can always improve.
See Shirley Rosario's Phil Ivey profile, in
Danish, plus Poker Pages
Phil Ivey tournament results