Tournament coverage Poker

Ivey makes his mark … again

Written by Ben Blaschke

We’ve spoken before about great feats in poker, from Johnny Chan coming within a whisker of three consecutive WSOP Main Event victories between 1987 and 1989 to Mark Newhouse reaching back to back final tables against massive fields in 2013 and 2014.

The latest to throw his hat into the ring is none other than Phil Ivey. Already considered one of the best, if not the best, poker player in the world, Ivey added to his legacy earlier this week when he won the LK Boutique $250,000 Challenge at the Aussie Millions for around AU$2.2 million.

What makes Ivey’s achievement so impressive is that he also won this event 12 months ago. And two years before that as well. Now established as the world’s biggest buy-in tournament to be held annually, it has been run five times since debuting at the 2011 Aussie Millions with Ivey winning three of them. In 2012 he topped a field of 16 starters, last year outlasted an impressive 46 players and this year emerged victorious against a field of 25.

While the enormous buy-in means the size of the fields are limited, there are two factors that make this feat particularly impressive. One is the incredible strength of mind it takes to play your A-game when so much money is at stake. Ivey may be renowned for his ability to rationalize at the poker table but even the most successful players will feel it if they run bad for too long at this level.

And second, the fields may be small but the quality of player is as good as it gets. In fact, even the handful of rich Asian businessman who take part are no longer the easy-beats they were when the big Macau cash games took off a few years back. Ivey noted as much when he sat down for a wide ranging interview with WGM last year, which you can read here.

They say the cream will always rise to the top in the long run and Ivey’s latest accomplishment is a reminder of his standing as the very best in the game.