It is not easy to determine the best poker player of all time. Several aspects come into play to be a great poker player. A player can excel at one game, but the best poker players have a versatile skill set.
A few people have claimed the title of greatest poker player of all time, but Phil Ivey has the edge over everyone. People have referred to Ivey as the “Tiger Woods of Poker”. That’s high praise considering Woods is one of the greatest golfers.
Why does Phil Ivey have the upper hand in the great GOAT debate?
Phil Ivey succeeded at a young age
Phil Ivey was born in Riverside, California, but honed his poker skills in New Jersey. He played against his colleagues before moving to Atlantic City casinos.
Ivey used a fake ID to gamble in the casino as a teenager. Obviously it’s not the best precedent, but we’re talking about 20 years ago. Don’t hesitate to find out more about the beginnings of Phil Ivey.
His first official poker tournament took place months after his 21st birthday. Ivey won Trop’s Customer Appreciation Invitational tournament, winning $1,000. However, his poker career started to take off in the early 2000s.
- $500 + 40 Limit Hold’em ($53,297)
- $1,000 + 60 Seven Card Stud ($1,571)
- $1,000 + 60 Pot Limit Omaha ($4,777)
- $1,500 + 70 Pot Limit Omaha ($5,238)
All four events took place at the first annual Jack Binion World Poker Open. Ivey picked up his first major win at $500 + 40 Limit Hold’em. He won nearly $55,000 for the win.
He quickly became one of the best poker players. Ivey took a big step forward by winning his first bracelet at the 2000 World Series of Poker. He won Pot Limit Omaha at $2,500 + $80 to win $195,000.
Ivey closed out 2000 by winning over $40,000 at the United States Poker Championship. It was just the start of a legendary career.
Ivey has 10 World Series of Poker bracelets
There are a lot of top honors in poker, but I don’t believe there is anything more than winning a World Series of Poker bracelet. Many people consider it the highest honor in the poker world. Granted, you need to have many bracelets to be one of the greatest poker players of all time.
You can read more about bracelets in our World Series of Poker guide.
We talked about his first bracelet at the 2000 World Series of Poker. Two years later, he continued his march towards the title of greatest poker player in history by winning three bracelets.
Ivey won $1500 7 Card Stud, $2500 7 Card Hi/Lo Stud and $2000 SHOE Limit. He earned over $100,000 for each win and over $357,000 in total. It wasn’t a bracelet, but it also won $40,000 in the $10,000 championship event.
Phil Ivey is currently tied with Johnny Chan for 2nd place all-time @WSOP wristband list. After winning 10 bracelets, Ivey knows how to bring strategy to the annual World Series of Poker.
Check out some great advice from Phil Ivey here: https://t.co/ZdKdqejzcA pic.twitter.com/TC9vPQ1ldc
—PokerNews (@PokerNews) August 28, 2021
Ivey’s biggest bracelet win was at the 2005 World Series of Poker. He won Pot Limit Omaha $5,000 to win $600,000. Ivey didn’t capture another bracelet for four years, but he did clean up in 2009 and 2010.
He earned nearly $650,000 between the two years. His most recent World Series of Poker victory was in 2014. Ivey won the $1,500 Eight Game Mix for $166,986.
Ivey, Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan are among the poker players with ten bracelets. They are all behind Phil Hellmuth’s total of 16. Hellmuth has a case for the greatest poker player of all time, but we’ll see why Ivey has the edge.
That said, it’s not easy to win the WSOP. Check out the blog to find out just how difficult it is.
No one is better at live gambling
Many players excel at a game of poker, but the best poker player of all time has an elite skill set. Phil Ivey is in his own league when it comes to live gambling.
Ivey is no stranger to live gambling in Las Vegas. He regularly participated in the $4,000-$8,000 mixed cash game. Ivey won $16 million over a three-day period playing gambling in 2006. The stakes ranged from $25,000 to $100,000.
In 2021, Ivey made headlines by skipping the World Series of Poker to compete in gambling at Hustler Casino. Money was no problem, as the minimum buy-in for the event was $100,000.
Ivey’s best result in a live cash game was at the 2014 Aussie Millions Poker Championship. He made over $3.5 million after winning the A$250,000 No Limit Hold’em – $250,000 challenge.
This event brought him a lot of success in live gambling. He won $2 million in the same game in 2012. In 2015 he won just over $2 million in the A$245,000 + 5,000 #21 The LK Boutique Challenge.
Having a diverse background is essential to being a top poker player. Ivey’s gambling success only helps his GOAT claim. He continues to hone his skills and achieve success in live gambling.
You can do the same. Just head over to the best cash game poker sites to start honing your skills now.
Phil Ivey is the best at reading his opponents
Many poker players have the winnings and rewards to be in the discussion for the greatest poker player of all time. You must have certain traits and skills that do not appear on the stat sheet.
An important aspect of poker is reading your opponents. This way you can tell if your opponent has a winning hand or is bluffing. Well, there’s no better player to read his opponents than Phil Ivey.
Ivey has taken on the best poker players in the world and outplayed them. Ivey did it against players like Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk.
There are many instances where Ivey has outmaneuvered his opponents. We saw him do this against Polk in the 2015 Aussie Millions tournament.
Ivey was in good position with a 10 of spades and a nine of diamonds. Both players checked, with Ivey placing a $75,000 bet after the dealer revealed a two of hearts. Polk continued to increase the total, playing into Ivey’s hand.
In the end, Ivey won a bigger pot from Polk. He had a good hand, but his mind games and tactics helped him win more money. Sometimes it’s not about the hand but how you can read your opponents.
There’s no one better for that than Ivey. It is an important factor for him to be the best poker player of all time.
Ivey is much better at online poker than Phil Hellmuth
Who is the greatest poker player of all time? I believe it’s Phil Ivey, but you’ll hear the name Phil Hellmuth. Hellmuth has a strong claim due to his record 16 World Series of Poker bracelets. However, Ivey has the edge over Hellmuth due to his online poker success.
Ivey has been a popular player in online poker tournaments. According to PocketFives, these are his best winnings in online poker tournaments.
- Powerfest #08 – Knockout: Gtd $100,000 ($18,200)
- $109 Mini Thursday Thrills [Progressive KO]GTD$150,000 (10,793)
- $215 Sunday Million 16th Birthday, $10M Gtd, $1M on 1st! ($10,462)
I can’t imagine these represent all of his winnings, but it does show his success in online poker. He reportedly made over $850,000 in online poker.
Now would be a good time to show you Hellmuth’s online poker winnings, but there’s no data. I can’t imagine he never played, but his lack of numbers can’t be good.
Hellmuth has the edge in World Series of Poker bracelets, but Ivey isn’t far behind. However, it is a significant advantage in online poker. I use Hellmuth over other top poker players because he’s often in the GOAT discussion with Ivey.
I preached a versatile skill set for this debate. You can visit the best online poker sites to take on potentially the greatest poker player of all time.
Ivey has the support of her peers and her fans
It’s nice to have winnings and accolades, but respect is key in the debate over who is the greatest poker player of all time. Phil Ivey has the upper hand because many poker fans and players have voted him the best poker player.
I’ve mentioned several times how versatility and success in multiple games is a big selling point for Ivey. Well, Daniel Negreanu feels the same way.
“I think Stud, Omaha, Triple Draw, Short Deck, everything…and Phil Ivey plays them all…As far as I’m concerned, Phil Ivey is the goat.
Negreanu himself is one of the most famous poker players in the world. His name could appear in the GOAT debate, so to say that Ivey is the greatest poker player of all time carries a lot of weight.
Earlier this year, Doug Polk and UpSwingPoker had a long discussion about poker’s greatest player. They opened a poll for fans to vote after their discussion.
Ivey’s 4,691 votes were No. 1, with Doyle Brunson and Negreanu rounding out the top three. I should also add that Ivey was the most popular player in a World Series of Poker poll. Clearly he has a ton of support.
There’s a lot of respect for Ivey’s poker career. Many people recognize him as the greatest poker player of all time. Do you share the same sediment?
Who could challenge the greatest poker player of all time?
I’m convinced that Phil Ivey is the greatest poker player of all time, but we could see two people challenging him. I believe Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu have the best shot.
Hellmuth has the edge in the World Series of Poker, but he needs more success in other poker games. Negreanu has six bracelets, so he would need to earn at least four more to join the discussion.
Ivey’s success in different aspects of poker makes him the GOAT A lot of people would love to be like Ivey, but that only happens in the movies. You can definitely try, of course. A good place to start is to use the many Reddit poker tips.