Phil Ivey and the baccarat blues: has poker lost an icon?

Phil Ivey and the baccarat blues: has poker lost an icon?

After Flushdraw’s Haley Hintze points out that the Borgata’s legal team were waiting to pinch Phil Ivey’s World Series of Poker winnings we eulogise over an icon now almost certainly lost to our industry.

Phil Ivey and the baccarat blues: has poker lost an icon?In 1991, a Challenger tank controlled by the good guys destroyed an Iraqi tank after firing an armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarded-sabot round from 2.9 miles away. The Challenger has a deadly accurate 120mm gun and Chobham armour that makes Iron Man’s feel like glass. If Phil Ivey were a tank, a Challenger tank he would be.

Ivey was the Tiger Woods, Diego Maradona, and Hulk Hogan of poker. 10 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. $26.398.145 (gross) in live tournament earnings. $16m+ playing online cash games (net).

Then the Poker Hall of Famer met Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun. The Baccarat wars began, and we found out that even a Challenger tank isn’t impregnable.

The World Series of People waiting in the wings to take Ivey’s money.

At the end of Day 3 of the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship (PPC) at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), Ivey led with 13 players remaining. There was more than a $1m up top, but thanks to Haley Hintze, we know that had Ivey not crashed and burned in eighth, and gone on to win, he likely wouldn’t have touched a penny.

On the day that Ivey exited from the competition (June 27), the Borgata’s legal team served their Nevada writ of execution against Ivey to the WSOP. Documentary evidence obtained by Hintze showed that Ivey owes the Borgata $10,130,000 and $214,518 in interest.

The decision by the Borgata to go after Ivey’s WSOP winnings is terrible news for Ivey fans. We have rarely seen the Poker Hall of Famer since the edge-sorting madness began. Then in 2018, Ivey became an ambassador for Virtue Poker and turned up in Montenegro for the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series wearing a Virtue patch.

Ivey made two final tables in Montenegro, winning one, and banking more than $2.2m. His fans began shaking with excitement. Ivey was back. Then in the Triton follow-up in Jeju, Ivey bricked everything, and he hasn’t appeared on the tour since.

It seems the Borgata is determined to get its money, and if that means chasing Ivey in casinos around the world then that’s what they may do, which of course means, Ivey will stop appearing in public. If you’re Ivey, how do you find $10m? He might already have it, but if he doesn’t then you would expect, Masterclass aside, for him to get his head down, and grind it out, and if that’s the plan, then we won’t know about it, because if we do, then the Borgata do, and you don’t want that badass tank pointing it’s gun in your face. ​