Ivey headlines November Nine

Phil Ivey

To the delight of the entire poker world the consensus best player in the game made the final table of the biggest tournament on the planet Wednesday night.

Already fourth on poker's all-time leading money winners list with over $10 million in earnings and a total of seven World Series of Poker bracelets, including two this summer, Full Tilt's Phil Ivey is widely regarded as one of poker's best and brightest minds.

But despite all he's accomplished in the game, Ivey said earning a spot in the November Nine at the 2009 WSOP Main Event is his biggest to date.

"So far I've just made the final table, but this tops the list," he said. "It's definitely up there."

Ivey, who was weened on the game in Atlantic City casinos playing with fake ID before he was old enough to get past security, has been close to Main Event glory three times before.

He finished 23rd in 2002, 10th in 2003 and 20th in 2005, and had a little trouble putting into words just how much he wanted this.

"You have no idea," he said.

Railing him almost the entire way, fellow Full Tilt pro Mike Matusow said Ivey making the final table should be a huge boost for the game of poker itself.

"It's absolutely ridiculous how big this is for poker and it'll be even bigger if he wins," Matusow said. "Ivey making the final table is as big as if (deceased Main Event champ) Stu Ungar made the final table these days."

Mike Matusow
'This guy is the greatest.'

Matusow believes a player of Ivey's stature making the November Nine could even help change online poker's legal status in the United States and overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

"If the best player in the world wins the biggest tournament in the world, it'll be tremendous for the argument that poker is a game of skill," he said "And Phil Ivey is the best player in the world.

"Phil Hellmuth talks like he's the greatest, this guy is the greatest. He doesn't need to talk; he lets his poker do the talking."

The rest of the November Nine consists of a spectrum of professional players, online qualifiers and home-game amateurs.

Ivey will come back for the final November 7 sitting seventh in chips with just French Everest Poker qualifier Antoine Saout and British "Hit Squad" pro James Akenhead behind him.

The current chip leader is Maryland local casino qualifier Darvin Moon, with young yet seasoned pro Eric Buchman sitting second, American home-game pool winner Steven Begleiter third and CardPlayer Magazine editor Jeff Shulman fourth in chips.

Rounding out the final nine are online pro Joseph Cada, who had two cashes at the Series this summer, and Floridian Kevin Schaffel, whose biggest cash to date came in the 1994 WSOP Main Event where he finished 42nd for $60k.

But even the chip leading Moon feels Ivey is the man to beat.

Darvin Moon
'If he even looks at me, I'm mucking.'

"I'll stay away from him," he 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."

Partly to help take advantage of his image, Ivey said he would have rather played out the final nine now instead of taking the planned three-month break.

"I'm really in a groove right now playing against some of these guys," he said. "I'd love to just finish this thing right now."

Without revealing many details about how he will adjust his strategy, Ivey did say he would watch a few of the hands on TV in the months leading up to the final.

"I'm a little short," Ivey said. "I'm just going to do my best and trust my reads."

Already one of Poker's biggest superstars, Ivey claims the tremendous media attention that comes with being a part of the November Nine won't change much for him.

"I'm just going to change my cell phone number and leave the country," he said. "I'm serious too."

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Claudiu-Cristian Dobre 2009-10-10 12:15:00

I just had a chat with Roy Winston on Full Tilt and he said about Mike Matusow "he's a good guy" and "he taught me a lot of poker".
Anyway, Mike Matusow is one of my favorite players, but then again I also love watching Phil Hellmuth play - but of course I can understand how insulting his remarks can get and I'd probably feel pretty mad myself if somebody (other than Phil Hellmuth) did that to me at the table...

Alex 2009-10-10 07:04:00

I also think Ivey is among the very few who are the best. Matusow also surprises me. He can be such horse's behind but yet continually shows he's a decent guy. I even saw him on a blind date with Kathy Griffin - how the heck did that happen. Since another Phil's name was mentioned I have to comment. Hellmuth...maybe he is a good poker player BUT what he is not, is a decent man. He has proven himself time and again of being obnoxious and having no real character. He's pompous and how he acts toward people whom he "thinks" are donkeys or whatever reveals his true character. I don't know the man personally but from what he shows on TV (and boy does he like to be on TV) He's an embarrassment to the game and to anyone who thinks of himself as a decent man.

asdkf 2009-07-20 02:55:00

"i'm just going to change my phone number and leave the country" LOL

Mr. 2009-07-17 03:29:00

Phil Fu***ng Ivey IMO

PokerCompetitor22 2009-07-16 19:43:00

I'm a big Phil Ivey fan. Although I try not to take it to far, his accomplishments are amazing. Sifting through 6500 players this year (with a target on your front and back) is incredible. But I followed the tournament yesterday (Day 8), and he may have played his best to get to the final nine. Talk about grinding...he wasn't as fortunate with cards, and he picked and chose his spots to be aggressive. Great job PI. Please continue to be great for the game. As for Mr. Matusow: You always surprise me. You are one of the 10 best players in the world, and like most people, I HATE some of the things you say and do. But some of your actions really show what a class act you can be...good job on this one.

kamikaze 2009-07-16 17:44:00

Matusow is right though, a good tv tournament will create the kind of poker action there was a few years ago.

Congratulations to Mr. Ivey. Just outstanding.

victoryv111 2009-07-16 17:00:00

congrats to all THE Nov Nine...asa long time Phl Ivey fan,
i believe if Phil, win the Main Event, (with at present a low chip count)
he as to be considered as the best poker pro of the 21st century to date...but all the best to all of em anywayz,,,1day it could be 'u'
lol
gg
nh
wtf
lmao
from
victoryv111
@Full Tilt
London UK

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