Born in Riverside, CA, Phil Ivey moved to Roselle, New Jersey when he was just three months old. Phil was introduced to poker by his grandfather, who'd deal out hands of penny-ante Five-Card Stud to his eight-year-old grandson. His grandfather would cheat, grabbing cards from the bottom of the deck in an attempt to teach the young Phil a lesson about the dangers of gambling.
Instead, the introduction to poker ignited a passion within Phil. From the time he was a teenager, he told teachers and family that he was going to be a professional gambler. When he was 16, he sat in on an adult's poker game that was hosted by a friend's father. He soundly beat the game and started looking for opportunities to play more frequently.
At 18, he scored a fake ID and started frequenting the poker rooms in Atlantic City casinos. He lost more than he won in the first few years. But he was learning from his mistakes, developing a mastery of all poker games: Limit, No-Limit, Stud, Omaha, and tournaments. When he turned 20, he made Atlantic City his full-time residence.
Soon after turning 21, he set to prove himself to the greater poker world. In 2000, he played in the World Series of Poker, where he made two final tables and won his first WSOP bracelet, in a $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event. At that final table, he outlasted a star-studded field, besting "Amarillo Slim" Preston, David "Devilfish" Ulliott, and Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
Soon after, he began playing in high-stakes cash games in Las Vegas and quickly became one of the game's most feared players. Then, in 2002, after moving west to Long Beach, CA, Ivey had a breakthrough year, winning three WSOP bracelets. His wins came in three different games: Seven-Card Stud, Stud Hi/Lo, and SHOE (a rotation of Stud, Hold 'em, Omaha, and Stud Hi/Lo), proving Ivey's all-around mastery.
Recently, Ivey moved to Las Vegas where he is now a fixture in the high-limit area at the Bellagio, regularly sharing a table with Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, and Jennifer Harman. He is a consistent winner in the $4,000/$8,000 mixed game. His skills have impressed all opponents. Howard Lederer says that before his career is over, Ivey may well be considered the best player in poker's history. Erik Seidel describes Ivey as possessing a "searing intelligence."
In 2005, while playing a sparse tournament schedule, Ivey made two final tables in World Poker Tour events and two in WSOP Circuit events. Then in June, he won his fifth WSOP bracelet in a $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event. After the win, Ivey was asked if he felt he could overtake Brunson and Chan, who have 10 bracelets each. Ever confident, Ivey said, "I want to win 30." Most recently, Phil won two back-to-back tournaments in Monte Carlo - the Monte Carlo Millions tournament and the "The FullTiltPoker.Net Invitational Live from Monte Carlo."
Official Site - PhilIvey.com