Friday, February 29, 2008

Phil Ivey Wins L.A. Poker Classic

One Phil is considered by his peers to be the best poker tournament player in the world. The other Phil is the SELF PROCLAIMED best NL Texas Hold 'Em player in the world. Yet neither of them has ever won a World Poker Tour title. Check that. Neither of them had ever won a WPT title. That was, until a Mr. Phil Ivey out lasted not only, the poker brat, Phil Hellmuth, but a field consisting of some of the top professional poker players in the world. Achieving not only his first WPT title, but a cool 1.6 million dollar payday.

The annual Los Angeles Poker Classic, held at the Commerece Casino, draws some of the biggest names in the game, and this year was no exception. But as the field began to dwindle down and the final table was set, all eyes were on the Phils. And they didn’t disappoint.

The televised final table (6 players) action began with Phil Ivey as chip leader with 4.1 million in chips but he took an early hit, as Charles Moore moved all in on the very first hand for 1.5 million and after thinking it over for 5 minutes, Ivey made a questionable call with Ad 5c as he found himself dominated by Moore’s As Kh.

Ivey couldn’t improve and he now found himself with 30% less chips with only one hand into the action.

Meanwhile, the other Phil wasn’t faring much better early on as his stack was crippled when he moved all in on a board of Jd 6h 3d Kh with Jh 8c and Nam Le made the insta-call with Kc 3c good for two pair and a nice double up, while leaving Phil Hellmuth with less than 1 million in chips.

He would eventually be eliminated a few hands later as his short stack all in move with Ad 9s was ineffective against Moore’s Ah Qd. The board ran out for the poker brat and he was eliminated in 6th place earning himself $229,820.

Any poker player will tell you that to win a tournament, you have to get lucky a few times. And even a poker genius like Phil Ivey needs the help of lady luck once in a while. After Scott Montgomery was eliminated in 5th place, Phil Ivey and Nam Le found themselves all in, with Ivey’s pocket threes seemingly crushed by Le’s pocket aces. Things weren’t looking much better after a flop of 10s 6s 2d, but the turn brought the miracle 3d for Ivey giving him a set that held up on the river.

Only five hands later Ivey eliminated Moore when his two pair held up against an open ended straight draw.

And just like that, Phil found himself heads up for his first WPT title, and with a commanding chip lead of 10.82 million to Quinn Do’s 2.48 million.

Ivey's reputation as one of the most feared heads up players in the world was only more so proven as he made quick work of Do. Just two hands into heads up play, Ivey made a 700,000 bet on a flop of As 8s 6s. Do made the call, leaving himself with only 1.02 million in chips behind and when the Ac paired the board on the turn, Ivey put Do all in for his remaining chips. Four minutes later, Do made the call, only to realize he was drawing dead with his 9h 8h against Phil Ivey’s aces full of eights.

The win gave Phil Ivey his first WPT title, $1,596,100 and a $25,000 entry in to the WPT Championship. It also propelled Ivey’s career tournament winnings to just over $8.7 million dollars.

Congratulations to Phil Ivey, from the Crooked Straight.

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