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Ivey Confirms High Stakes Games Leaving Las Vegas
From Binion's Horseshoe to The Mirage, Bobby's Room at Bellagio and even Ivey's at Aria, Las Vegas has always been home to poker's biggest games.
But with more and more of the nosebleed action moving online and the high-stakes sharks whale hunting Asian businessmen in places like Macau, China, it appears Las Vegas' days as the home for high-stakes poker may be numbered.
In fact, just two days ago, the same Malaysian businessmen that had players like Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, John Juanda and Chau Giang travelling to China to take their action, chose Australia and the Aussie Millions to make their TV cash game debut - not the town that Bugsy Siegel built.
Doyle Brunson has seen the writing on the wall.
In a blog post earlier this month, the big game Godfather said Las Vegas has become an undesirable place for a poker pro to live, that there simply aren't very many high-limit games around and that he was considering moving to California where there's at least a few mid-level games played regularly.
Now, Phil Ivey tells PokerListings Brunson may be right.
"Once Chip Reese died it was pretty much over," he said. "He was pretty much the backbone of the high-stakes games and now, there's really no big game (in Las Vegas) anymore, except for during the World Series or when a tournament is in town or something like that.
"So yeah, there's no real reason to be there."
The action has not dried up completely, but Ivey says it's certainly not as regular as it once was, when Bobby's Room was filled with some of the greatest names in poker playing $4,000/$8,000 mixed games.
"There's still games in Vegas," he said. "Just not as many as there used to be.
"Four or five years ago you could count on there being a game four or five nights a week. Now there's probably a game one or two nights."
Originally from Riverside, California and having had his first real taste of high-stakes in games at Larry Flynt's Hustler Casino in Los Angeles after learning poker back East in Atlantic City, Ivey said he wouldn't be opposed to playing big games in the Golden State again.
"I do love California, so if they start playing big out there, that's where I'll be," he said.
But for Ivey, who has already proven he's willing to fly worlds away from his Las Vegas home for a little high-stakes action, the same could be said for just about anywhere.
"Wherever it's at is where I'll be," he laughed. "I guess there's always going to be a time for change, and I don't know what lies ahead in the future. We'll have to see."