Friday, May 17, 2013

Who Really is Phil Ivey? Poker Phenom, Casino Cheat...or Both?

Hatching Poker Cheat Scam? 
I, for one, think it's time to take a good look at Phil Ivey, and try to answer these questions. First of all, I want to remind everyone how I tried to expose the vast cheating that goes on in the professional poker world, especially in tournament play including the World Series of Poker. I wrote about this extensively in my   2006 book "Dirty Poker," and was severely criticized for it. In the book I wrote about huge and powerful poker tournament syndicates that were controlled by Men Nguyen and other highly visible and successful poker pros.

Which leads us to two questions: 1) Was or Is Phil Ivey a leader or member of one of these tournament syndicates that specialize in touornament collusion play, chip-dumping, slow-playing, chip-passing and other dirty tactics to bully their ways to final tables? And 2: Did Phil Ivey actually plan and design the huge baccarat cheat coup that he carried out at Crockfords Casino in London?

Let's start with  the second question. It is highly probable in my mind that Ivey saw a huge chance to capitalize on his celebrity to take this free shot at Crockfords without any risk of actually getting busted or charged with a crime (and to boot the UK goes very light on even convicted casino cheats). He also figured that even if Crockfords was suspicious after the cheating play went down, they would have a tough time trying to renege payment to Phil Ivey. On that point he clearly miscalculated the Brits' hatred of being conned.

So what could've happened? How did the defective cards make their way into Crockfords? Did Ivey approach someone who knew someone working for the card-supplier or manufacturer? Did someone working there know someone who knew Ivey? All this is tough to speculate, but I can tell you this: I get hundreds of emails each year from people who want to get me involved in lots of poker cheat and casino cheat scams, and some of them are so good they're even tempting! So Ivey probably found this irresistible if it was indeed brought to him by someone else.

However, I gotta believe that Ivey knew some key people with connections to the card-supplier (probably someone who used defective cards from the same company before in other casino scams) and laid it all down himself.

Now, back to question 1. Was Phil Ivey involved in active poker cheating? Now, I have absolutely nothing against Phil Ivey the way I do against Daniel Negreanu, but I have to say that it is highly likely that Ivey, if cheating casinos, was also cheating poker tournaments...and then who knows what happened in some of his legendary high-stakes poker games where he took millions off billionaires? And then there is his participation in High Stakes Poker and other TV high stakes poker-game shows. I always believed that these shows were bullshit and nothing more than a con to get the participating stars more money and publicity, that all the huge pots were fake and that all monies won and lost were returned to the players at the end.

And remember that huge huge hundred-million dollar freeze-out that Ivey and seven other players were supposed to play under some dome in Las Vegas back in 2006? I can't remember the name of it, but I do remember clearly that soon after I badmouthed it, it fell apart and nevre came off.

So, final thought...Phil Ivey may be almost as vile as   Russ Hamilton, the ex WSOP champ who designed and carried out the Ultimate Bet online poker cheating scam. I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about Phil Ivey cheating at poker and cheating at casinos from people other than me!