And we all thought that he had achieved all he could achieve when he appeared on the cover of Cigar Aficionado this Spring.  But no, Phil Ivey wasn’t close to his peak yet.
Tuesday morning, the Full Tilt Poker pro took another step towards what appears to be his inevitable poker immortality by winning the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  It was his third WSOP bracelet in two years and his amazing eighth overall.  He is now tied with fellow Full Tilter Erik Seidel for fifth place on the all-time bracelet list, behind only legends Phil Hellmuth (eleven), Doyle Brunson (ten), Johnny Chan (ten), and Johnny Moss (nine).
Ivey has no plans to stop there, though.  Back in 2005, after winning his fifth WSOP title, he said that he believed he could win 30 bracelets by the time he was done.  He feels no different today.  After the tournament, Ivey told WSOP officials, “It’s within reach as long as people keep betting me on these bracelet bets.  I’m sure I can reach it one day if I keep playing and stay healthy.  I think I can reach it.”
About those bracelet bets.  While the exact dollar figures will only be known to the parties involved, it is widely acknowledged that many of the big name pros have side bets with each other over who will win or not win bracelets this year.  Ivey is believed to be one of the heaviest bettors – on himself, of course.  One bracelet bet that has the poker community buzzing is one that Ivey has with Howard Lederer.  As reported by Poker Listings in April, Ivey bet Lederer $5 million that he (Ivey) would win at least two WSOP bracelets in 2010 and 2011 combined.  After Ivey won this week to get halfway towards winning that wager, Ledered Tweeted simply, “gulp.”
In fact, it seems as though the top pros are not even that concerned with the prize money that comes from winning the tournaments because they can earn more money via bracelet bets.  After his victory, Ivey asked an onlooker, “How much did first place pay?”
Well, it paid $329,840, but it seems like that pales in comparison to what Ivey is hauling in from his fellow pros.
As for the actual poker, it was an extremely strong final table, with five bracelet winners, four of whom who had won more than one WSOP event.  Interestingly, those five players – Ivey, Bill Chen, John Juanda, Ken Aldridge, and Jeffrey Lisandro — took the top five spots in the tournament.
After going into the top sixteen as by far the shortest stack in the field, Ivey stormed back to go into the final table of eight players in second position.  But it was math maven Bill Chen who had the chip lead, increasing it to a 3-to-1 margin by the time heads-up play started.  Ivey, never discouraged, made his way back and the lead began to switch back and forth during the two hour heads-up competition.
In the end, Ivey garnered all of the chips in a hand of Razz.  Once fifth street was dealt, Chen was all-in with a very strong hand – a made 7-6 – but Ivey had an even stronger one – a made 6-5.  Chen still had some chances to win, but nothing came to fruition and Ivey grabbed his eighth World Series of Poker bracelet.
2010 World Series of Poker – Event #37 $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. Final Table Standings
1.    Phil Ivey – $329,840
2.    Bill Chen – $203,802
3.    John Juanda – $129,553
4.    Kenneth Aldridge – $93,418
5.    Jeffrey Lisandro – $68,417
6.    Dave Baker – $50,871
7.    Albert Hahn – $38,391
8.    Chad Brown – $29,406

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