Phil Ivey overcame a surging Brandon Wong to lock up his ninth gold bracelet at the WSOP APAC in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Ivey made an astounding five final tables last summer at the WSOP in Las Vegas but was unable to close out any of them.
The New Jersey native narrowly averted disaster when Wong seized the chip lead four-handed at the final table of APAC Event 3 $2,200 Mixed. Instead Ivey made a furious comeback and had Wong all-in twice before finally busting the California-based pro.
Despite only beating an 81-player field and picking up a relatively small $51,840 for winning, Ivey said it was one of the most important victories of his career.
“This ranks up there,” said Ivey after winning. “The last five or six final tables I made, I didn’t win and I was getting very frustrated. They took a lot out of me. I was very happy to win this tournament.”
Fellow poker pro Daniel Negreanu hit the rail in fourth place.
With the victory Ivey moved into a tie with old school Johnny Moss for fourth on the all-time bracelets winners lists. He still trails Doyle Brunson , Johnny Chan  and Phil Hellmuth .
Ivey, who is widely considered the best poker player in the world, admitted that he’s starting to give some thought about his legacy in the game.
“As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to think about my history in poker and where I’m going to stand so it’s important to win these bracelets,” he said.
“I’m trying to catch Phil [Hellmuth]. It’s tough. I mean he keeps winning them."
Here are the complete final-table payouts:
1. Phil Ivey - $51,840
2. Brandon Wong - $32,039
3. Graeme Putt - $22,427
4. Daniel Negreanu - $16,336
5. Rob Campbell - $12,020
6. Kevin Song - $8,978
Phil Ivey Greatest Poker Player of All Time?
Check out the video for a rare interview with Ivey himself, plus supporting material from runner-up Brandon Wong, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel and WSOP.com Managing Editor Jessica Welman.
Negreanu Crashes Out Early in Fourth Place
While poker fans were salivating at the possibility of a Negreanu/Ivey heads-up match, the Canadian pro’s dream of a fifth WSOP bracelet was dashed relatively early.
While Kevin Song and Rob Campbell were the first players to bust, Negreanu didn’t last much longer.
Brandon Wong hit top two-pair on an A-T-4 flop but Negreanu was on a massive draw with straight and flush draws. Wong moved all-in and Negreanu made a quick call.
Negreanu didn’t get any help on the turn or the river and that led to his elimination from the tournament in fourth place. Negreanu picked up $16,336 for his efforts in the contest.
New Zealand’s Graeme Putt was the next player to go as he busted to Brandon Wong in a round of Seven-Card Stud.
Wong entered heads-up against Ivey with a slight chip lead but it proved to be a long drawn-out affair that lasted more than three hours.
Phil Hellmuth should take notice as Ivey is already thinking about the 2013 WSOP in Las Vegas.
“I’m looking forward to this summer,” said a smiling Ivey as he left the building.
Arthur has been involved
exclusively with the poker industry since the 2006 World Series of Poker
where he still claims to have captured the first interview with a
then-unknown player named Jamie Gold on one of the days leading up to the
Main Event final table. Since then Arthur has been working full-time for
PokerListings.com writing news stories, covering poker tournaments,
interviewing players and capturing it all with his trusty Canon camera.
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