It seems that these days nothing is impossible in poker: Chris "Jesus" Ferguson turned water into wine by amassing a $10,000 bankroll from scratch; an 18-year old girl won the Main Event at the World Series; pigs have flown and chips have been collected. So why is everybody talking about Phil Ivey’s bet that he can make $1,000,000?

It all started quite innocently during a radio show. On the latest ESPN Poker Edge webcast, Phil Gordon discussed bankroll management with Ferguson and Ivey. Ferguson started to explain how for 6 months he played freerolls almost exclusively, and Ivey started to poke fun at him – while Ivey was playing $1000/2000 stakes, Ferguson was playing freerolls with a top prize of $5. As the show continued, Ivey’s hilarity increased, and he declared he could never “ever” play in a freeroll for $40, but that his wife did.

Ferguson’s famous challenge took him 18 months to accomplish: 9 months to get up to $100 and 9 months to reach $10,000. Soon after hearing this, Ivey pitched in “I bet I can turn $1,000 into a million within a year if I get ten tries”, without using any of Ferguson’s bankroll management rules – in fact, with no rules at all. Gordon and Ferguson were not impressed: 10 buy-ins was the equivalent of starting with 10,000.Gordon proposed a compromise: “What about starting with $5,000 and if you go broke you lose?” Without hesitation, Ivey said “I'll do it.”

And now the buzz is on! Many poker news sites and blogs are already discussing the challenge and even making bets of their own. Can Phil Ivey turn $5,000 into $1,000,000 in a year without busting out? Interestingly, the main issue does not seem to be whether Ivey is able to win the money, but whether he’ll have the discipline to stick to the lower stakes without going broke or losing interest.

We expect amazing side bets from all sides and lots of ribbing as Ivey tackles this challenge. Will he be able to survive at the lower stakes? Stay tuned for updates!

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