There’s been a lot of #IveyStories floating around the Rio this summer, but inside the pages of Playboy perhaps we’ve found the most revealing tale of The People’s Champ, Phil Ivey, yet.
The Playboy feature article documents Ivey’s cold streak at the end of the 2013 World Series of Poker as writer Michael Kaplan tags along with Phil and his entourage in and out of the high-stakes living in Las Vegas where Ivey is on the hunt for bracelets, ladies and redemption for Full Tilt in the form of Ivey Poker.
From $50K a hand baccarat, to Ivey Poker parties dominated by ladies “all eights or better”, in addition to recounting Ivey ascension to the pinnacle of poker, Kaplan details a more personal side of Ivey than we’re used to seeing and, just as you’d think, it’s extremely fascinating.
Money, he decided a long time ago, is a thing to be deployed, not savored when it’s won or mourned when it’s gone. The summer he was 23, Ivey says, he started with a $200,000 cushion of poker winnings. “It was the largest bankroll I’d ever had up until that point. By the end of the summer, though, I’d lost all of it playing poker.” Told that he must have been devastated, Ivey looks uncomprehending. “I didn’t view it as money lost,” he says. “I saw it as money used to play bigger games. I thought it was worth playing in those games. Now I see money as what gets me into the biggest game in the world. Wherever the biggest game is, that’s where I want to be.”
More than just tales of Ivey’s sicko thirst for action and his otherworldly prowess at poker, we see Ivey hitting on women after his divorce, his “black cat” superstitious nature, his ability to summon private trainers to move to Las Vegas and that, apparently, Ivey know how to throw a pretty great party.