Phil Ivey used to win poker tournaments more frequently than Mel Gibson gets behind the wheel under the influence. These days, he enters a poker tournament about once every time the sun revolves around the earth.
But on Sunday, the great one shipped the Triton Super High Roller Short-Deck (Big Blind Ante) in Montenegro, beating out 61 of the game’s best players to win $604,992, which is like winning $10 to the rest of us.
You won’t find any short deck hold’em games in Las Vegas, but it’s the perfect kind of game for a hardcore gambler like Ivey. Short-deck poker, also referred to as “Six-Plus Poker,” is a variant of Texas hold’em where the 2,3,4, and 5, are removed from the deck.
Players who spend time learning the game have a huge edge over inexperienced players because most newbs will overvalue standard NLH hands and simply don’t understand the odds in short-deck poker.
Over in Macau, where Ivey spends most of his time, the game is often spread at the high-stakes tables.
“Short-deck poker suits a gambling style of player.”- Phil Ivey
It’s About Time
Ivey used to make winning poker tournaments seem like it was going out of style. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner hadn’t won a tournament since he shipped the $250,000 Challenge at the 2015 Aussie Millions ($1.7 million).
He got a bit lucky, as does everyone who wins a poker tournament at some point, during his heads-up battle on Sunday against Dan “Jungleman” Cates.
Hoping to win a sizable pot and retake the lead, Jungleman attempted a bluff into Ivey’s turned straight. That didn’t work out well as his opponent made the call and won the hand to finish off the tournament. Cates admitted he “punted” the match at the end. At least he’s honest.
Will He Win a WSOP Bracelet in 2018?
The World Series of Poker is better when Phil Ivey competes. He’s one of the most interesting and dominant players in the game. But he’s been mostly non-existent from the summer series the past few years, and I hope that changes next month.
Last year, for the first time in 15 years, didn’t enter a single WSOP event, not even the Main Event. In 2017, the only tournament he competed in was the Main Event. His last bracelet was in 2013.
Despite a lack of participation in recent years, Ivey is still tied for second all-time in WSOP titles (10). I hope his recent win felt great and encourages him to head to Vegas this summer to crush the World Series of Poker.