Commentary

Make it eight for Phil Ivey

Updated: June 27, 2010, 9:21 AM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

The lack of big names going deep had fans wondering what exactly was going on this year at the 2010 World Series of Poker. Daily chatters on ESPN.com asked: Is there something in the water at the Rio? Why hasn't Daniel Negreanu been able to break through? How could Phil Ivey not make a final table? Is Jason Mercier's amazing run finally over? Early Tuesday morning, one of those questions was removed from the list and answered in a big way, as Phil Ivey won his eighth career bracelet, in Event 37, $3,000 HORSE.

It's always something to watch when Ivey makes the final day of play. Even in a field of players like John Juanda, Jeffrey Lisandro, Chad Brown, Scott Seiver and David Singer, if Ivey is lurking, he can't be counted out. After a quiet start to the WSOP featuring 52nd and 53rd minimum cashes (roughly) in $1,500 events, Ivey made a deep run in Event 33, the $2,500 split pot-limit hold 'em/pot-limit Omaha event, finishing 12th. He said on PokerRoad that things were beginning to move in the right direction. Less than three days later, he sat behind all the chips, having made a great comeback during heads-up play to defeat Bill Chen. Ivey earned $329,840 for the victory and is now tied with Erik Seidel for fifth on the all-time bracelet list.

[+] EnlargeIvey
BJ Nemeth/Greasie WheelsPhil Ivey and Bill Chen reveal their cards on the final hand of the HORSE tournament. Ivey's 6-5 low would be enough to beat Chen's 7-6 low in razz.

In 2009, Ivey became the youngest player to win seven bracelets, and he's now the youngest to win eight. Since the debut of ESPN.com's "The Nuts" in December, Ivey has been ranked No. 1 every month. He is first on the all-time money list with over $14 million in tournament earnings, and that number doesn't include his tremendous cash game success at the highest stakes.

The 2009 November Niner has fans around the world, but during this final table, it wasn't the spectacle many believe winning an eighth bracelet could've been.

"The atmosphere was very, very subdued," said tournament reporter BJ Nemeth. "There wasn't even any announcing of the action until deep into the heads-up match. And since most of the games were stud, the cards didn't show up on the overhead monitor, and the audience had no clue what was happening.

"There was a decent-size crowd, but very few pros in attendance," he said. "Bill Chen's rail included Andy Bloch, Terrence Chan, Gavin Griffin and Sabyl Cohen-Landrum. Ivey's rail included all the fans."

Chen, the owner of two WSOP bracelets from victories in 2006, dominated the majority of the final table. With three players left, both Ivey and Juanda were looking for anything to use as momentum to grind back into the tournament. Ivey would eliminate Juanda and begin the tough task, but at one point, according to Nemeth, Ivey would be facing a 4.73-to-1 chip deficit. Ivey battled back during the early portions of the two-hour heads-up battle to take the lead and hold onto it. He would finally finish the job on what could be the biggest cooler of Chen's career: Ivey's 6-5 low (A-2-3-5-6) held against Chen's 7-6 low (A-2-5-7-6) in razz when all the chips went in after fifth street.

"I try to be very positive when I play," said Ivey. "I rid myself of thoughts (of being behind) and just try to take it one hand at a time. I think that helps me out a lot, especially in these situations. I never doubt myself when you play poker because you can't really think like that. It just adds negativity to it and when you start losing hands you get down on yourself. You have to think about that hand and move on. I think that helps me."

Ivey smiled after it was over, and WSOP.com reports he was overheard asking, "So how much is it for first place anyway?" The prize money from this tournament is no small sum, but as it has become common practice with Ivey, he was probably focusing on how much he's going to be collecting in terms of bracelet bets. The most intriguing reaction to his bracelet win came from Howard Lederer who is known to have been involved in Ivey's prop bet and posted on Twitter, "…gulp".

Despite his third-place finish, Juanda now leads in the 2010 WSOP Player of the Year race. This was his fourth cash and fourth final table of the Series.

Here's a look at Phil Ivey's performance at the final table:

Other notable finishers from Event 37 include Jeffrey Lisandro (fifth), Chad Brown (eighth) and David Benyamine (14th)

Below are the complete results of Event 37 at the 2010 World Series of Poker:

Event 37: HORSE
Buy-in: $3,000
Entries: 478
Prize pool: $1,319,280
Players in the money: 48

1. Phil Ivey ($329,840)
2. Bill Chen ($203,802)
3. John Juanda ($129,553)
4. Kenneth Aldridge ($93,418)
5. Jeffrey Lisandro ($68,417)
6. Dave Baker ($50,871)
7. Albert Hahn ($38,391)
8. Chad Brown ($29,406)
9. Ryan Hughes ($22,849)
10. Brent Wheeler ($22,849)
11. Dan Makowsky ($18,021)
12. Yuebin Guo ($18,021)
13. Ming Reslock ($14,406)
14. David Benyamine ($14,406)
15. Dan Heimiller ($11,675)
16. Scott Seiver ($11,675)
17. David Singer ($9,604)
18. Farzad Bonyadi ($9,604)
19. Jordan Siegel ($9,604)
20. Dale Phillips ($9,604)
21. Mitch Schock ($9,604)
22. Zachary Milchman ($9,604)
23. Mark Johns ($9,604)
24. Alexandre Luneau ($9,604)
25. George Trigeorgis ($8,008)
26. Andrew Goetsch ($8,008)
27. Konstantin Puchkov ($8,008)
28. Devin Hanneman ($8,008)
29. Clayton Mozdzen ($8,008)
30. Adam Hourani ($8,008)
31. Steve Sung ($8,008)
32. Loi Tran ($8,008)
33. Chris Reslock ($6,807)
34. Katja Thater ($6,807)
35. Bradley Helm ($6,807)
36. Mark Zajdner ($6,807)
37. Jason Young ($6,807)
38. Matt Savage ($6,807)
39. Terry Crowe ($6,807)
40. Martin Corpuz ($6,807)
41. Mojgan Stringham ($5,791)
42. David Harth ($5,791)
43. Pat Pezzin ($5,791)
44. Alan Myerson ($5,791)
45. Chris Klodnicki ($5,791)
46. Corey Nakasone ($5,791)
47. Max Pescatori ($5,791)
48. Owais Ahmed ($5,791)

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

ALSO SEE