Phil Ivey has rolled through more high stakes tourneys than most players even dream of playing. He has won and lost fortunes, logging a long record of above-board play. Over the past ten years, Ivey has won 8 World Series of Poker(WSOP) bracelets, and sat at the final World Poker Tour table nine times – once winning the title.
Widely considered to be among the best active international poker players, Ivey has left his winning mark on a number of games, including Omaha and 7-Card Stud. And to some, there is no question that Phil Ivey is the very best poker player in the world. He has a reputation for playing fair and genuinely loving the game. The high roller has also been a regular player in the “Big Game” at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Despite a decade-long career as a legitimate poker pro, the thirty-five year old Ivey finds himself in the middle of a made for the movies James Bond type drama.
In August, Ivey and an Asian female stunner entered a prestigious casino in London to play a game called Punto Banco. The game is similar to baccarat, and is described by some as a game of chance, rather than great skill.
The stakes were high for Ivey, who initially lost; before turning things around over the course of two-days playing, to win more than $11 million. Crockfords, which is the oldest gambling club in London, left the American poker star with the impression that the money was on the way, and would be deposited in Ivey’s bank account. To date, the cash has not made an appearance, expect for the million bucks that stood as Ivey’s original stake in the game.
Apparently the gambling club is vetting the win with additional video scrutiny of Ivey’s playing during about seven hours of his run there. Ivey’s companion, it seems, previously drew unfavorable attention from a different gambling club; causing some to speculate that Crockfords double-check of Ivey stems from suspicions related to her.
Why Not Pay?
No wrongdoing has been uncovered during the extensive review of Ivey’s time at the tables, nor is there any fundamental reason to think any has occurred. Explanations for the casino’s behavior are not immediately forthcoming, causing a slight buzz as to their motives. The amount of Ivey’s prize is extraordinary, so perhaps a heightened level of scrutiny is justifiable under the circumstances.
And it may simply be that Phil Ivey wore out his welcome at Crockfords. Stalling the inevitable payment might serve to sour Ivey on having another go at the gambling club. Questioning the integrity of Ivey’s play also sends a message to other would-be London gamblers, who know now that big-time wins have the potential to cast them as cheaters.