"Tiger is the best at his game. I'm not there, yet."
Phil Ivey commenting on his nickname "The Tiger Woods of poker."
To have won five bracelets before turning 30 is a truly amazing achievement. And Phil Ivey managed three of these in a three-week run in April/May 2002 at the age of 26. And he not only won three tournaments – he won in Seven-Card Stud one week, Stud Hi/Lo the week after and SHOE the final week. No wonder many see him as the future of poker.
His career in poker started when he played adults as a 16 year old, winning consistently. Using a fake ID Ivey then started playing in Atlantic City at the age of 18. This was to be a learning period and he actually lost money the first couple of years. “There were times when I was three months late on my rent and there was no hot water. The electricity was turned off, no cable. Everything was a complete wreck.” (Interview with All In Magazine)
Playing poker, losing money and learning from your own mistakes was Iveys way to improve. He got a lot of experience playing different types of poker. And he played 12 – 15 hours a day five days a week during this period. When it comes to poker literature Ivey willingly admits that he has only ever “skimmed” a few poker books. He did it his own way. And he obviously did learn a lot those years. Phil Ivey has indeed used those skills in a very profitable way ever since.
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