The analysis of Phil Ivey poker playing style
"I'm a firm believer in learning the game by playing the game."
-- Phil Ivey
Phil Ivey is rightfully considered as the most dangerous, most feared, and the best poker player in the world. Phil Ivey is universally recognized as the absolute best all-around poker player in the world. No Limit Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, 7 Card Stud, 2-7 Draw Lowball, mixed games, H.O.R.S.E., ring games, heads-up, cash games, tournaments, online or live... Phil Ivey is a master of all crafts.
|Phil Ivey has won 10 World Series Of Poker bracelets, |
1 World Poker Tour title
and appeared at 9 World Poker Tour final tables.
|2000||$2,500 Pot Limit Omaha||$195,000|
|2002||$2,500 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo||$118,440|
|2002||$1,500 7 Card Stud||$132,000|
|2005||$5,000 Pot Limit Omaha||$635,603|
|2009||$2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball||$96,367|
|2009||$2,500 Omaha Hi/Lo / 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo||$220,538|
|2013A||A$2,200 Mixed Event||A$51,840|
|2014||$1,500 Eight Game Mix||$166,986|
An "A" following a year denotes bracelet(s) won at the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific
|2008||$10,000 L.A. Poker Classic||$1,596,100|
Phil Ivey is also the best Fixed Limit Hold' Em poker player alive.
- Phil Ivey won $16,600,000 from billionaire banker and heads-up limit hold'em expert Andy Beal in 2006.
- He won over two million dollars from Hoss_TBF, who many pros think is the best FL player.
- After facing Phil Ivey in a serie of FL heads-up matches, the German nosebleed high stakes online Limit Hold'Em specialist 'IHateJuice' Kagome Kagome declared: "Phil Ivey is the final boss in Fixed Limit heads-up"
|IHateJuice: "Phil Ivey is the final boss in Fixed Limit heads-up"|
So analyzing the playing style of Phil Ivey is a necessity here, on the only serious website entirely dedicated to Heads-Up Fixed Limit Texas Hold' Em Poker.
Here are a few points to resume and explain the poker playing style of Phil Ivey.
Tilt Control / reverse hit-and-run
A maniac with tilt control. Yes it is highly possible to be an hyper aggressive maniac and have tilt control. Phil Ivey's aggression is , just as any successful aggros. You can't be that successful just by being a raising lunatic.
This may surprise those who do not know it, but Phil Ivey is the king of “stop losses” online. Ivey refuses to play after losing a certain number of buy-ins which can be as low as two. This commitment to only playing when winning is a big part of why Ivey has been the number one earner in online poker history despite playing about 10% as much as players such as Dwan, Galfond, and CTS. Ivey does not succumb to tilt, he merely turns off the computer and comes back at a different time when he is more focused.
When asked about the "hit and run" strategy, Phil Ivey said: The only time I think this strategy makes sense, is in the “reverse hit and run” Phil Ivey frequently used at the super high stakes heads up games at Full Tilt Poker. Whenever he would lose one buy-in, he would immediately sit out and end the session. Whenever he would win, he would keep playing for an entire session unless he ever ended up -1 buy in again. This let him book very large wins, but never large losses. He didn’t always stick to this plan though and I can point out a few obvious faults, but it sounds like a good way to avoid large tilt losses against the best players in the world at the highest stakes.
The important thing to note is Ivey leaves fairly quickly when he is having a losing session. On the other hand, when hes winning, the opponent ends up playing a lot longer. But most impressive thing about Ivey is, not only is he very good, he also has restraint to leave when he is losing. Especially since he has the biggest bankroll and therefore, it would be so much easier for him to continue playing.
|Zero tilt factor for Ivey|
On the flip side, Phil Ivey will ride out a winning session until he's too exhausted to continue.
Phil Ivey's maxim is that if he's winning he won't leave the table until he has all of the chips or he is too exhausted to play any further.
Money / Bankroll
As said on forums, playing any form of heads up against Phil Ivey is suicidal. He is like a casino in that he will never run out of money.
He got the bankroll advantage over everybody.
Phil Ivey earned over $13,800,000 in live tournaments which helped him build his mammoth poker bankroll. Some people have estimated that Phil Ivey is currently worth around 100 million $ with around 25-35 million dollars belonging to his poker bankroll. Phil Ivey have so much money that he once forgot he has 750000 dollars in chips stashed away in a casino. This guy can’t be short of money. $$$$$$$$$$$$$
|Phil Ivey net worth = 100 Million bucks|
Dedication / obsession = "10,000 hour principle"
Like any highly successful individual, Phil Ivey's success come with a price. Read the following:
Phil first showed interest in poker at 8 years old when his grandfather used to play card games with him. His grandfather would cheat a lot to show the 8 year old Phillip the risks of the game and to discourage him from gambling.
However, it had the opposite effect on Phil Ivey: he got more and more interested in the game of poker, and when he was in his early teens he had already decided that he would become a professional poker player.
He started playing for cash in home games when he was 16. Two years later, despite the fact that he lived outside Atlantic City, he managed to get hold of a fake ID with the name Jerome Graham so that he could play in the casinos in Atlantic City. He was known as 'No Home Jerome' because he was frequently staying there and rarely went out. These were the times when he often lost a lot of money. Eventually, he improved his game and started getting better.
He has been a professional since he was in his early 20's, and won a bracelet in early 20's. So now he's been a pro for over a decade...
Plays at the Bellagio, for up to 24 hours straight, against the world's best players.
On top of that, he says he thinks about the game relentlessly, he thinks about the game before he goes to sleep, and when he wakes up in the morning.
He has always played a very loose style of play, so it gives him a lot of experience, since he knows almost every situation.
He still says that to this day, he is learning a lot about poker, and learned 5 new things during this years wsop main event, that has made him an even better player. He also says he spends time analyzing past hands.
But on top of that, he says that he can think well, and put himself in other people's position well. He knows how to play the situation and the people, and can successfully play a wide range of hands. He can accurately assess what other people are thinking, how they think they way they do, why they think that way etc.
He is an expert at all types of poker, from limit 7-card stud, to no limit holdem, so he certainly brings skills from one form of poker to the other (actually, none of his bracelets are in holdem).
HE said during an interview that he played practically everyday, 12 hrs a day for 5 yrs.
You can resume this point in one sentence.
The "10,000 hour principle" = raw experience and pure volume of play.
The "10,000 hour principle" is explained in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
Phil Ivey wasn't always the best player in the world. "The Tiger Wood of Poker" encontered hard beginning. In fact, I know it seem unbelievable but Phil Ivey was a fish in his early poker days in Atlantic City. He says in his interview(s) that he (and later with his wife Luciaetta) was so broke that his electricity was turned off at times because there where months he couldn't pay his bills.
Never forget this word. Perseverance.
Someone (Joey2714) on the twoplustwo forum resumed the greatness and superiority of Ivey in a few words.
Zero tilt factor, incredible concentration and ability to pick up on and relentlessy punish opponents who show weakness.
On the same forum post: ...it's really about skill, with experience, with the ability to play loose aggressive, and be very accurate with his reads and betting patterns recognition. Controlling the situation, and knowing what to do in most situations. Fearlessness, and the willingness to risk his chips on bluffs if he can sense weakness. With all of his knowledge from all forms of poker, he has a lot of knowledge and experience to draw from.
Plus, he's probably very much a natural.
Ivey gets MAXIMUM value out his his hands, and has an extraordinary ablility to put his opponent on a hand. Saving one big bet, or earning one extra big bet.
He seems to be paying attention to everything, absorbing every bit of information that the other players give him.
Once voted "most feared player" by readers of a national poker magazine. The reason Phil Ivey is the scariest poker player in the world is because when he’s reading you, it seems like he’s looking into your soul. Not only is he looking into your soul, but he’s opening it up and observing and calculating every detail. You can’t bluff him or win big pots off him. It’s just not going to happen; he knows what you’re doing.
Why is Phil Ivey so good?
Some people on online poker forum resumed his style as following.
Phil Ivey's HUHU strategy:
Step 1. Raise preflop in position
Step 2. C-bet on the flop 100%
Step 3. ???????
Step 4. Profit
Phil Ivey's HUHU FL HE strategy:
Step 1. Raise pre-flop in position
Raise pre-flop in the big blind with (1:1)
Ax, Kx, Q3s, Q6, J8, T7s, T9, 98s, 33+
Step 2. Continuation bet on the flop and turn 100% of the time
Step 3. Leaving after losing one buy-in
Keep playing when winning
Why is Phil Ivey so good?
When you face Phil Ivey in Heads-Up Fixed Limit Hold' Em poker...
You going down!