Phil Ivey: Player Profile

Phil Ivey is a true poker pro who really needs no introduction. Even casual fans of poker know exactly who Phil Ivey is. He is regarded by numerous poker contemporaries as the best all-around poker player in the world. When you take a look at his track record – tournaments and cash games – you will know exactly why. This guy has consistently dominated at the poker table, and has the winnings and awards to back it up.

Background and Beginnings in Poker

Phil Ivey was born in Riverside, California on February 1, 1976. When he was only three months old, his family moved to New Jersey. It was in New Jersey that Ivey grew up and learned how to play poker and all about the world of betting.

Ivey was first introduced to betting by his grandfather. When Ivey was eight-years-old, his grandfather showed him a deck of cards and taught him how to play five card stud. Grandfather and grandson would play for pennies a hand. Ivey was instantly hooked, and soon he would learn how to play with wads of cash. He was addicted to the game’s unique characteristics, and saw each and every session as an opportunity to exploit his grandfather’s tendencies. When asked by his family members and teachers what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would answer “a professional gambler”.

By the time Ivey was 16-years-old, he was a regular at poker games hosted by his friend’s dad. Ivey was better than all of his opponents at the table, and soon hungered for greater challenges. Ivey set his eyes on Atlantic City. When he was 18, Ivey bought himself a fake ID for US$50 so he could make his regular trips to Atlantic City. He started traveling two hours per day, by bus in order to play at the casinos there. At first he lost a lot of money. He was considered a mediocre player in those days. Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu who knew him then used to call him a “sucker” around the poker table. But slowly he gained more skills that would, in time, prove to be deadly on the poker table.

The name on his fake ID read “Jerome Graham”. This is where his nickname “No Home Jerome” came from. The “No Home” part came from the fact that he never seemed to leave the tables. After putting in many hours at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, Ivey eventually became a profitable player with a strong foundation for a professional poker career.

At 24, he felt he was ready to enter his first live tournament, which was the Jack Binion World Poker in 2000, held in Tunica. He won a limit Hold’em for US$500 buy-in and won over US$53,000. After that, he started to take on events of the World Series of Poker. He ended up in 12th place in his very first WSOP event with a seven card stud.

Professional Poker Success

Over the past two decades, Ivey has built an impressive record for tournament and cash game play. He is best known for his ten World Series of Poker bracelets. He once remarked that his goal was 30 bracelets, and with his record, he might just reach his goal.

Aside from the World Series of Poker, Ivey also has great success in the World Poker Tour events. In 2008, he took down his first WPT event at the LA Poker Classic. He cashed in a total of $1,596,100 in this event.

Ivey has played at final tables of the European Poker Tour Barcelona Open, No Limit Hold’em Full Tilt Poker and Poker After Dark. He also plays professionals at online poker sites.

According to Barry Greenstein – known to the poker world as “The Robin Hood of Poker” – Ivey is the best tournament poker player in the world, and the only one to successfully transition from tournament poker to beating the “Big Game”. He is also known as one of the top cash game players in the world.

Phil Ivey Trivia

Here are some things that you might not know about this poker pro:

  • Phil Ivey won five out of his ten WSOP bracelets before the age of 30.
  • Ivey won three of his ten WSOP bracelets in one year, back in 2002. He has tied with Phil Hellmuth, Ted Forrest and Puggy Pearson for most of the WSOP bracelets won in a single year.
  • He is the face of Ivey League – a poker coaching business for aspiring poker players. Through Ivey League, students learn how to play poker online or live under the some of the most successful and well-known poker pros.
  • Ivey loves high stakes action. He is known to risk large amounts of money betting on sports events.
  • Aside from “No Home Jerome”, Phil Ivey’s other nicknames are “The Phenom” and “The Tiger Woods of Poker”.
  • Ivey has a number of friends outside the poker world, including Irv Gotti and Ja Rule.
  • Ivey is part of the design team for Full Tilt Poker. He can be found playing at poker sites like at Full Tilt. He usually plays high-stakes cash games up to US$500 to US$1,000 no-limit and US$2,000 to US$4,000 limit.


Ivey is involved in a number of charities. After winning his WPT title in 2008, he donated US$50,000 to Empowered 2 Excel. Empowered 2 Excel is a Christian Academy based in Las Vegas that is focused on encouraging academic excellence, social growth and healthy lifestyles for children.

Ivey also created the Budding Ivey Foundation to honor the wishes of his deceased grandfather, Leonard "Bud" Simmons. This foundation was designed to advocate for the less fortunate children in America. The foundation offers financial and educational support, as well as other circumstantial needs.

The Budding Ivey Foundation also supplies scholarships for students who need money to fund their higher education. Spread the Word – Nevada's Story Book Gala – is supported heavily by the Budding Ivey foundation, to help ensure that children everywhere can have access to a variety of books, new and old.

Style of Play

Ivey is known for being nearly unreadable at the poker table, to the point that he’s been described as having ice water in his veins. He is incredibly in control of his emotions and outward behavior that he exhibits no tells. Ivey is keenly intelligent and perceptive, which allows him to read his opponents well.

When it comes to poker hands, his best game overall is a seven card stud. He dominates in cash games where he takes home enormous winds. His fearlessness allows him to excel at No Limit games as well. If you look at his overall percentage of cash wins in tournaments, Ivey has a success rate that places him at the top of the ladder.

Phil Ivey Net Worth and Rankings

When it comes to Phil Ivey net worth and rankings, this poker player is one of the players on top. According to the latest figures in The Hendon Mob Poker Database, Ivey’s total live tournament winnings total at around US$23,856,034. This record puts him at 5th place in the current All Time Money List. He was in 1st place of that list at one point.

Phil Ivey total winnings from the Americas amount to US$11,723,853. From events in Europe he was won US$2,520,654, and in Oceania he has won US$8,132,084.

Ivey is in 4th place for the United States All Time Money List and 1st in the New Jersey, USA All Time Money List. One thing that cannot be doubted is the Ivey has a strong following. He is currently at 2nd place in Popularity Ranking, following Daniel Negreanu.

Tournament Rewards

World Series of Poker Bracelets

As mentioned earlier, Phil Ivey boasts a total of ten WSOP bracelets. Ivey won his first bracelet in Pot Limit Omaha in 2000. He was the first person to beat Amarillo Slim heads-up at the WSOP final table. From 2002 to 2005, he won four bracelets. In 2009, he won two bracelets from the $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Event (where he beat 147 players) and the $2,500 1/2 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo 1/2 Omaha Hi/Lo event (where he beat a field of 376 players).

With ten WSOP bracelets, Ivey is currently tied with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan for the second most all-time. No other player has accumulated bracelets more quickly than Ivey. Ivey took 14 years to win 10 bracelets. The closest to this record it Phil Hellmuth who took 17 years.

Ivey is also the all-time record holder for most WSOP bracelets won in non-Hold’em events, with all ten of his victories coming in non-Hold’em events.

Year Tournament Prize (in USD and AUD)
2000 $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha
2002 $2,500 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
2002 $2,000 S.H.O.E.
2002 $1,500 7 Card Stud
2005 $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha
2009 $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball
2009 $2,500 Omaha Hi/Lo / 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
2010 $3,000 H.O.R.S.E.
2013 A$2,200 Mixed Event
2014 $1,500 Eight Game Mix

World Poker Tour Titles

Ivey has only one first place WPT win to his name, but he has reached nine final tables of the WPT. It was in the sixth season of the WPT that Ivey made the final table to beat out Phil Hellmuth and Nam Le for the US$1,596,100 first prize.

Year Tournament Prize (in USD)
2008 $10,000 L.A. Poker Classic

Other Achievements

Ivey has really proven to be someone who can play poker and win real money. In 2005, Ivey won the first prize of the Monte Carlo Millions tournament to the tune of US$1,000,000. The following day, he took home another US$600,000 from finishing first place at the “The FullTiltPoker.Net Invitational Live from Monte Carlo”. He beat out Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, Chris Ferguson, Dave Ulliott, and John Juanda for the win. As you can see, Ivey is more than capable to take on the big names in the world of competitive poker.

When it comes to Phil Ivey biggest winnings, some of his greatest prizes came from the Land Down Under. In 2012, he won the Aussie Millions A$250,000 High-roller event, beating Patrik Antonius heads-up for a prize of AU$2,000,000. Two years later, he won the 2014 Aussie Millions LK Boutique $250,000 Challenge for AU$4,000,000. This was the largest single cash-in of his career. In 2015, he won the Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge again, this time for AU$2,205,000. This made Ivey the only player in the history of the Aussie Millions that won two consecutive championships for a total of three championship titles in four years.

Ivey was also recognized as the All In Magazine Poker Player of the Year in 2005 and 2009.

Ivey’s Notable Career Highlights

Date Place or Rank Winnings (in USD) Event
Feb 10, 2014
1 $3,573,600
AUD$250K No-Limit Hold'em (2014 APPT 8 - Aussie Millions)
Jan 27, 2012
1 $2,058,948
Event 20 - No-Limit Hold'em $250,000 Challenge (2012 Aussie Millions)
Feb 02, 2015
1 $1,713,285
AUD$250,000 No-Limit Hold'em (2015 Aussie Millions)
Feb 28, 2008
1 $1,596,100
No-Limit Hold'em Championship Event 29 (2008 L.A. Poker Classic WPT)
Nov 10, 2009
7 $1,404,002
$10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event (2009 40th Annual World Series of Poker)
Nov 23, 2005
1 $1,000,000
No-Limit Hold'em (2005 Monte Carlo Millions)
Aug 31, 2012
8 $822,941
2012 Macau High Stakes Challenge Super High Roller (2012 HK$2,000,000 Macau High Stakes Challenge)
Jan 04, 2016
5 $656,500
$200,000 No-Limit Hold'em (2016 WPT National - Philippines)
Jun 28, 2005
1 $635,603
Pot-Limit Omaha (2005 36th Annual World Series of Poker)
Jul 15, 2006
3 $617,760
Event 20 - H.O.R.S.E. (2006 37th Annual World Series of Poker)
Nov 25, 2005
1 $600,000
$120,000 No-Limit Hold'em (2005 Full Tilt Poker Invitational)
Jan 25, 2010
2 $600,000
Event 8 - $100,000 Challenge (2010 Aussie Millions)
Jul 14, 2004
1 $500,000
No-Limit Hold'em Chip Count (2004 Championship Poker at Turning Stone)
Sep 16, 2006
2 $470,072
EPT Championship Event - Event 2 (2006 EPT Barcelona - Season III)
Feb 09, 2005
3 $400,000
No-Limit Hold'em Main Event (2005 Poker Superstars Invitational)
Jul 16, 2010
3 $363,650
WPT Championship (2010 Bellagio Cup VI)
Jun 21, 2010
1 $329,840
Event 37 - $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. (2010 41st Annual World Series of Poker)
Jul 15, 2005
20 $304,680
No-Limit Hold'em Championship (2005 36th Annual World Series of Poker)
May 11, 2005
2 $299,360
ESPN The WSOP Circuit Championship No-Limit Hold'em (2005 WSOP Circuit Event - Lake Tahoe)
Jan 31, 2003
2 $290,130
No Limit Hold'em Championship - WPT (The Fourth Annual Jack Binion World Poker Open WPT)
Jun 10, 2012
2 $275,559
Event 17 - $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em (2012 43rd Annual World Series of Poker)