The biggest mistake the rest of the November Nine can make is to put Ivey on a pedestal. Once they fool themselves into thinking of Ivey as a poker god who can't be beat, he will gain a huge edge.
Kevin Schaffel, who's going into the final table sixth in chips, has his head in the right place.
"I fear anybody that can knock me out at the time I'm in a hand with them," he said in an interview with PokerListings shortly after making the final table. "But I don't really fear anybody in particular right now."
On the other end of the spectrum is the chip leader Darvin Moon, who said in a similar interview he's unwilling to play against Ivey if he can at all prevent it.
"I'll stay away from him," Moon said. "I'll hide in a corner when I'm against him. I'm concerned about all of them, but if Phil Ivey is on my left, if he even looks at me, I'm mucking."
To beat a player as strong as Ivey, you need to first embrace the fact that he's just another poker player. Just because he might be the best doesn't mean he can't be beat. This is a lesson the players need to take to heart if they want to have a fighting chance at the final table.
Considering his experience, it's doubtful anyone will be as prepared to play his "A" game as Ivey. Not only does he understand what it takes to win such an event, he truly wants it more than anyone.
Ivey sees this one final table as his chance to define himself as the greatest poker player of all time. A player as determined as this is a force almost none of us will ever have the honor of competing against.
Even though Ivey will be an intimidating poker giant stepping onto the battlefield, it's a big mistake to fear his presence at the table.
When asked if he fears Ivey at the table, Schaffel replied "Fear is not having any money and not knowing where your next dollar is coming from, so fear is not the right word."
Perhaps the word that best describes how to treat Ivey is respect. Respect him, and more importantly respect his game. In the end there's no need to fear him; he's just another guy playing the same game as you.
A flush will always beat a straight, regardless of who's holding the cards.
Ivey may be the most experienced player at the table, but as long as the other players don't accept defeat before they even take their seats, it's still anyone's bracelet.