Phil Ivey is a professional American poker player that rose to prominence in the early to mid 2000s, in the "Poker Boom" period, in the United States.
Ivey was born in Riverside, California but moved to Roselle, New Jersey shortly after he was born. He quickly caught the gambling bug as he played cards with his grandfather as a child. He told his family he would become a professional gambler at age 16.
Phil enjoyed local games around New Jersey playing against his father's friends and employees from work. He was quite profitable at these games but yearned for a tougher challenge. At the ripe age of 18, Phil secured a fake ID and headed to Atlantic City. At first, Phil was unsuccessful in his forays into live poker. However, after putting in many long nights, he turned into a profitable player. The fake ID he was using had the name "Jerome Graham" and since Ivey seemingly never left the casino, other players quickly coined the nickname "No Home Jerome" for the young Ivey.
Ivey is one of the few poker players in the world who can beat large field tournaments and the biggest cash games in the world. Some regard him as the most talented poker player of this generation, a statement that is hard to argue.
His tournament resume speaks for itself. He is an eight-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and has over 115 live tournament cashes. He has won one World Poker Tour event, the 2008 LA Poker Classic for a prize of just under $1.6 million. His total live tournament winnings are just over $15.7 million. He has cashed in not only Texas Hold'em events but an assortment of different games, including Seven Card Stud and Pot Limit Omaha.
Phil also plays in the world's biggest cash games, and is a regular player at the Bellagio's Big Game and other high stakes cash games across the world. He was also a regular on the now cancelled GSN show, "High Stakes Poker" a show that focused on high stakes cash games. Ivey famously played Texas Billionaire Andy Beal, as part of the "The Corporation" a group of poker players who pooled bankroll to take on the Texas billionaire. Ivey had the most success against Beal, winning $16 million over three days of heads-up play.
Ivey was also one of the best professional online players. During his stint with Full Tilt, Ivey amassed over $15 million in cash and tournament wins from 2007 to 2010. He famously sat out the entire 2011 World Series of Poker tournament schedule after Full Tilt Poker's Black Friday seizures. He felt that it was not fair for him to compete while others could not due to Full Tilt's payout delays.
In addition to poker, Ivey has donated to a number of charitable causes. He created the Budding Ivey Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children and feeding the homeless.
Ivey resides in Las Vegas and could still be considered a young man in the poker world at age 37. As one of the most dedicated and greatest players in game, one might wonder what his winnings portfolio may look like 10 to 20 years from now.