June 22, 2022

Is Phil Ivey the best poker player of all time?

Jon sofen

Phil hellmuth won his 16th WSOP Sunday Bracelet, triggering the GOAT debate, but there are arguments to be made that Phil Ivey deserves this title (or, maybe, someone else?).

Hellmuth has six more gold bracelets than anyone, including Ivey who has 10 (tied for second with Doyle Brunson and Johnny chan). Few would say that he is the most successful in history at the World Series of Poker.

There’s even reason to say he’s the best tournament player overall, not just at the WSOP. And he’s even a better heads-up player than most believe, especially since he’s 7-1 on PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel show and won the 2005 NBC Heads-Up National Championship. And that’s where the “but” comes in.

Phil Ivey does it all

Although Hellmuth is the best in WSOP history, there is more to poker than just winning bracelets. Poker Brat’s online poker accomplishments are minimal and he has not had a reputation for crushing gambling in recent years. Ivey, on the other hand, is a star across the board.

On Full Tilt Poker before the Black Friday scandal, Ivey’s account almost had $ 20 million in profit on 319,000 hands, an online poker record. Its reputation as a cash game is also higher than that of Hellmuth.

The tournament results between poker legends are pretty similar overall, with Hellmuth getting the green light in WSOP events. Both members of the Poker Hall of Fame have impressive resumes in this area. Hellmuth has all 16 bracelets for $ 25.5 million in live tournament winnings, while Ivey has 10 bracelets and $ 32.3 million in winnings.

This weekend, Ivey will also be making his “Hustler Casino Live” debut, which you can read here.

Phil Ivey wins WSOP bracelet

Year Phil Ivey’s WSOP titles Earnings
2000 Event # 14: $ 2,500 Po-Limit Seven Omaha $ 195,000
2002 Event # 5: $ 1,500 Limit Seven Card Stud $ 132,000
2002 Event # 16: $ 2,500 Limit Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo $ 118,440
2002 Event # 8: $ 2,000 limited SHOE $ 107,540
2005 Event # 27: $ 5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha $ 635,603
2009 Event # 8: $ 2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw $ 96,367
2009 Event # 25: $ 2,000 Omaha / Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo $ 220,538
2010 Event # 37: $ 3,000 HORSE $ 329,840
2013 Event # 3: A $ 2,200 Mixed Event (8 game) $ 51,840 A
2014 Event # 50: $ 1,500 Mix 8-Game $ 166,986

Where Ivey shines ahead of Hellmuth as a tournament crusher Poker World Tour (WPT) events. Ivey’s two WPT titles and his 11 final table appearances are far superior to Hellmuth winning zero titles and reaching a final table five times.

Ivey and Hellmuth aren’t the only ones in the conversation

Doyle Brunson

Is Hellmuth the greatest poker player of all time? Yes. Maybe not. Is Ivey the greatest poker player of all time? Yes. Maybe not. The point is, this is a subjective question.

Some would say the WSOP is so important that Hellmuth’s dominance in this annual series automatically makes him the GOAT. Other poker fans believe that the GOAT title should only go to someone who crushes it in more than one area. Therefore, why Ivey is often considered the best poker player of all time.

Many people reading this article will say that neither Ivey nor Hellmuth deserves GOAT status and a reasonable grip. This is because there are others who belong at least to the conversation, if not to the top of the mountain.

Brunson, for example, won 10 WSOP bracelets and continues to compete in the highest stakes games in Las Vegas in his 80s and dominated the game in the pre-Moneymaker era. The end Stu ungar won three WSOP Main Event titles and was arguably the most feared no-limit hold’em player of all time. Erik Seidel, Chip Reese, and Daniel Negreanu are certainly not chopped liver either.

Challenges in selecting a goat

Unlike sports, there is no way to keep track of the main statistic that matters most in poker: profit. The Hendon Mob Database compiles the results of most live poker tournaments around the world, but only records the amount a player cashes in. Unless players keep accurate records and publish them, we have no way of knowing how much they are winning or losing.

The same problem arises in judging cash game prowess. Players do not disclose gambling results publicly, and our only glimpse of these pros comes from live broadcasts and televised poker shows, which makes determining a GOAT all the more subjective.

Phil Ivey is scheduled to play on Hustler Casino Live this weekend!