Showing posts with label holdem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holdem. Show all posts

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Perfect Heads-Up Limit Hold' Em Strategy part 2


At the highest level of excellence.  There is two obvious reasons that push you to excel in an particular activity. OBSESSION and/or PROFESSION.  So what is the fuel behind the success and the excellence of our four champions?

PROFESSION - Phil Ivey plays for a living.
OBSESSION - Andy Beal was obsessed with facing the bests to be the best.
OBSESSION - Polaris was created to beat the best pro players.
PROFESSION - Texas Hold' Em Heads Up Poker machine was manufactured to legally take the maximum amounts of money out of patrons's pockets.

As you can see in the four above examples.  Those who are mainly fueled by OBSESSION wants to be THE best in the world.  And those doing it as a PROFESSION are mainly interested in the money. 

Now that we know they main motivation.  Let's analyze their playing style and do a mix of it all to create The Ultimate Heads-Up Hold' Em Winning Strategy.

First of all, as I see it. 
All four are hyper aggressive.
All but Ivey are specialized and exclusively play Heads Up Limit Hold' Em.  Phil Ivey is excellent in any form of poker.

All four take on all comers.
All four want to be the best in the world.
All four want to face the bests of the world.
No table selection and bum hunting here! 

Phil Ivey learned the game by playing it.
Andy Beal learned the game by studying it.
And Polaris and "The Brain"...  Well?  Are both robots.

Phil Ivey's style is purely exploitative.
Andy Beal is a machine.  Purely GTO (Game Theory Optimal), probabilities and mathematics.
Polaris, despite using the Nash Equilibrium as his default strategy, is exploitative.  Since his playing style is all about adaptation.
"The Brain" can't be exploitative so it is GTO defensive.  All about preventing itself to be exploited.

What is the main strength of each player / robot?  Just one word to describe each player/bot's main secret to win and be so excellent at HULHE.
Phil Ivey = his reads
Andy Beal = mathematics
Polaris = adaptation
"The Brain" = defense


We don't know much about Phil Ivey and Andy Beal unpredictibility and different play modes.  This isn't the case with Polaris and "The Brain"

Polaris changes gear to adapt.
"The Brain" changes gear for defense.

Polaris have 5 strategies
"The Brain" have 3 "tag team fighters"

Polaris 5 different strategies
1- Polaris default strategy is Nash Equilibrium.  
2- Exploitative Counter Strategy
3- A compromise between the first 2???
4- A team of all strategies to learn which one to use during the game???

"The Brain" 3 tag-team fighters
1- Neutral net with optimal number of bluff.
2- A slightly different style.
3- To finish off a short-stacked opponent.  I like this one!
Aggression level might change randomly.


So, if we can do a melting of those four winning strategies.  What it would be like? 

I will call it the P.I.B.B. in hommage of our four HULHE gods.
P.I.B.B. stands for... 

or  if you prefer

Now let's look at the

HULHE P.I.B.B. Winning Strategy aka P.I.B.B. Strategy


  • Play nearly every hands

BUTTON (in position): 

  • Raise almost 100% of the time

BIG BLIND (out of position): 

  • Raise called button 75% of the time.
  • Always raise (3-Betting) with Ax, Kx, Q3s+, Q6+, J8+, T7s+, T9+, 98s+, 22+. 

Or you can use the Polaris's 3-Betting strategy from the BB.


  • Continuation Bet 100% of the time.


  • Continuation Bet 100% of the time.
  • 8-bet the turn with two pairs


  • Check-call all the way down the river with any Ace-high hand.
  • Call with K-high unless the board is scary.

Extreme Aggression
Be The Aggressor

Tag team fighters / different strategies (P.I.B.B.)

1- Extreme Aggression (default strategy) 
    Push or Fold when villain (or you) are 4BB
    (Ax, Kx, Qx, Jx, T8, T7s, 98s, 22+)


  • You are the aggressor
  • Leave after losing one buy-in
  • Keep playing when winning
  • Obsession with preventing tells

Now, after studying the playing style of my four heads up limit hold em icons, heros and idols.  I have enough information to devise my own strategy.  The Perfect Heads-Up Fixed Limit Hold' Em Strategy.   This will be the third part of this highly instructive guide.


For an analysis of the respective playing style of Polaris. Ivey. Beal. Brain. you have to see

The bio, profile, in-dept playing style of each of our four marvels read the following.

Stay tuned for the 3rd and last part of this article. Where I will devise a more usable, realistic, and adaptative strategy. Everything you need to know to be a $ucce$$ful poker player from playing style to money management. 


Optimal Heads-Up (Preflop) Limit Hold' Em

The Game has changed. As said in The Evolution of Poker: from Super System to math PhD reading Doyle Brunson's SUPER SYSTEM is not enough anymore to give you an edge.  The 2003 Chris Moneymaker's Effect changed all that. Now the common man has the opportunity to play thousands of hands and read all kind of poker books about game theory and exploitative plays. Todays fishes are way more skilled than their counterparts of 20 years ago.

Let me give the highlights of the Optimal Game Theory as ellaborated by highly lucrative online poker pros and some math wizards. These below were particularly devised for Heads-Up Fixed Limit Hold' Em Poker (HUHU / HULHE). HULHE is the simplest form of poker from a programming and mathematical standpoint. Just like chess computer Deep Blue defeated undisputed world chess champion Garry Kasparov. The best bots like Polaris and casino slot machine named "Texas Hold'em Heads Up Poker" AKA "The Brain" routinely beat world-class pro poker players. To this point, HULHE is similar to chess. While it is possible for Artificial Intelligence to play near optimal strategy to beat the best players. Both chess and Heads-Up Limit Hold' Em aren't solved games. 

Exploitative Players were information seekers to keep an edge over their opponents. They are the old guard.
Game Theory Optimal (GTO, optimal) players the highest limits of online plays. They don't much care what their opponent does. They seek to play a strategy designed in the long run to beat any other strategy in the long run.

An optimal player seeks to find the optimal strategy. For any game, there exists at least one optimal strategy. Any GTO poker pro dedicates his time and effort to get as close as possible to the Optimal Strategy. 

However you need to prioritize the practical over the theoretical at all times.

Game Theoretical Optimum strategy

Button (Small Blind)
rarely fold in the SB (10/169)
23o-28o and 34o-38o

SB never fold to a raise
SB never raise his worst hands

Big Blind (Out Of Position)
NEVER fold in the BB

BB has the edge (act second and is live)
BB never fold to a raise
BB never re-raise with worst hands

Button & BB
R3 - Raise, reraise and re-re-raise if raised back only with AA

Playing different hands in the same way
However, Optimal Strategy dictates to vary strategy randomly in order to be deceptive.

The Two Rules

If Villain bet or raise, you should CALL (usually)

If you bet one street and Villain calls, you should BET again on the next card. (usually)

Some of the people who applied professional level mathematics to real world poker. 

Nick Christenson
Alex Selby 
Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky
Matthew Janda
Dr. Darse Billings
Bill Chen
Jerrod Ankenman
Chris Fergusson

Tobey Maguire > Dan Bilzerian in High Stakes Underground Poker Games

Who is the King of the Ultra High Stakes Underground Poker Games with a strict 'no pro' policy?

Tobey Maguire
Nit + psychological warfare
$30-40 Millions in 3 years
Buy-in of up to $100,000
"approaches the elite level of the players who win bracelets at the World Series." 
2007 World Series of Poker Main Event 
(292nd place, won $39,445) 


Dan Bilzerian
LAG + adrenaline seaker
$50 Million in 2014
Buy-ins $1 Millions, as high as $5 Millions.
As big as $5,000/$10,000 No Limit. The biggest was $10,000/$25,000 No Limit
"I am not nearly as good as all these online guys. I am not even close to one of the best players... But it’s like a minor league baseball player going against a bunch of high school guys."
2009 World Series of Poker Main Event 
80th place, won $36,626)

Now let's compare our two High-Stakes Underground Poker contenders for the crown of the King of the Ultra High Stakes Underground Poker Games.


“Tobey Maguire was the worst tipper, the best player, and the absolute worst loser.”
- Molly Bloom 

  • Born June 27, 1975 in Santa Monica, California.
  • Occupation: Hollywood A-List actor
  • Net worth: $40-50 Million
  • Famous for: Spiderman
  • Started tournament poker in 2004.
  • Been tutored by one of the best poker pros in the world Daniel Negreanu.
  • Finished in the money in several events.
  • Can be seen on ESPN's coverage of the 2005, 2006, and 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship.
  • Played in the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event. He survived days 1a, 2a, and 3 but was eliminated in 292nd place on the fourth day, taking $39,445 in prize money.
  • During a 2007 episode of Poker After Dark, Phil Hellmuth said Tobey has made millions of dollars by playing poker in Hollywood poker games, with some estimates as high as $10 million

'I used to call Tobey "Hannibal Lecter" because he could just talk someone off of a good hand,'  Molly Bloom told 20/20.

The poker playing of A-Lister actor Tobey Maguire (Spiderman) has been described as: 

"He’s in a different league from other actors who can play some cards. While often mentioned in the same breath with other excellent playing actors like Jennifer Tilly and Ben Affleck, according to one of the sources, Mr. Maguire plays at a level that far surpasses “good for an actor” and approaches the elite level of the players who win bracelets at the World Series." reported that Maguire had been winning around $1 million every month for three years in these games. They then estimated that Maguire may have won anywhere from $30 to $40 million playing high stakes poker. And while this number is completely unverifiable, assuming it was accurate, the Spiderman actor could possibly be the biggest poker winner of all-time!

Molly Bloom who organized high stakes underground poker games for the rich and famous described Tobey Maguire as the best player, a sore loser and the worse tipper. There is nothing worse than a good loser! A good loser is usually just a loser. Winning is everything. Particularly in Poker.

Molly Bloom also used to call him "Hannibal Lecter" because he could just talk someone off of a good hand.

His contender, the outspoken Dan Bilzerian called him a "nit", a "jerk-off", and "cheap"He ousted Tobey Maguire for slow play, claiming “he was taking forever in a real big game, he took 15 minutes to chop a little pot”. His bold remarks about the former Superman star continued, “The guy is supposed to be worth $40 or $50 million and he’s quivering over $4,000. It was annoying, he was cheap”.  “He’s cheap as fuck and plays like a cheap bitch – a guy who’s worth all that money playing as if he’s broke. Come on, dude." I personally admire Maguire's obvious and lucrative nittiness. No matter the size of the pot, just like Maguire did, you should always play to win. And that's the only thing you should be thinking about: WINNING!

Tobey Maguire is known to frequently leaves a game after winning an enormous pot which is a breach of poker etiquette. But who give a fuck about poker etiquette. Poker is all about WINNING the most MONEY you can.


Dan Bilzerian

  • Born December 7, 1980, Tampa, Florida.
  • Occupation: Trust fund baby, semi-professional poker player, internet celebrity.
  • Net worth: $100 Million
  • Famous for: Millionaire Playboy lifestyle
  • Goes broke in college playing online poker.
  • Once turned $750 into $10,000 in one event, as he claimed.
  • Playing for a living since 2007
  • Played in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event. For which he appeared of six episodes of televised show. He finished in 180th place and won $36,626.
  • By September 2014, he claimed that he earned $50 Million in the last 12 to 14 months playing in High Stakes Private Poker Games.
  • Claimed that he once lost a coin-flip for about $2,3 million pile of chips.
  • Said he won $10.8 Million playing cards one night at $5,000-$10,000 no-limit

The poker skills of Dan Bilzerian has been self-described by Dan Bilzerian himself as:

The best way to describe my poker skills is that I’m not the best poker player in the world. But it’s like a minor league baseball player going against a bunch of high school guys.
I mean; I am alright. I am not nearly as good as all these online guys. I play in private games with business guys and celebrities. They are playing for fun. I don’t play with pros. I am not even close to one of the best players.

He’s one of the biggest cash game players in the world. His games are so big that Bilzerian avoids tournaments all together. I’ve been playing such high stakes lately that a lot of times the first-place prize is less than what these guys are buying in for at the cash games, Bilzerian said. It’s hard to take it seriously.

Plays in games with buy-ins as high as $5 Millions.

It gets as big as $5,000/$10,000 No Limit. The biggest game I ever played in was $10,000/$25,000 No Limit, Bilzerian added. “The thing about the game is now the games are playing so big that there’s not as many people that can play that big."

"Tons of celebrities, athletes, etcetera, play poker. It has blown up. They just play private games though, and they don’t go into casinos. It is a very small group of these people who play the stakes that I like to play, though. It’s rare and there aren’t many celebrities who are willing to put $1 million down at a table and shoot it off. I think I know everyone who plays those stakes."

All the above statements are just his own claims.

The Verdict: Tobey Maguire poker skills seems to be superior to those of Dan Bilzerian. At least we know from sure source (Molly Bloom) that Maguire is the absolute best player in Hollywood High Stakes Poker Games. 

Is Tobey Maguire's better than other very good poker playing actors (Ben Affleck, Jennifer Tilly). Yeah! But is Tobey Maguire's as good as 13 WSOP bracelets winner Phil Hellmuth. Not so sure! 

Meanwhile the only person who talk about Dan Bilzerian poker greatness is Dan Bilzerian himself!?!

However Dan Bilzerian seems to be honest about his poker skills by saying that he can outplay non-pro poker whales but he just avoid playing against the pros because he is not at their level. Why risking your money facing the best while you can squeeze money out of the rest. In Poker you have to be selective if you wanna be lucrative.

Tobey Maguire playing antics and bad attitude at the poker tables are all described in this book.

Get inside Molly Game: Where the Big Boys Plays Million Dollar Underground Poker Games. Every details is in the book below.

NASH EQUILIBRIUM Game Theory for Fixed Limit Heads-Up Hold' Em

Transition from No-Limit to Fixed-Limit
Adapting the Nash Equilibrium for Heads-Up LIMIT Hold' Em

Since our concern here isn't Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold' Em but Heads-Up Fixed Limit Hold' Em the number of effective BB (Big Blinds) will be different.

On PokerStar the minimum required stack to play
HU FL HE     5 BB

According to this, we need 8 TIMES less money to play Limit Holdem than we need to play No Limit.

So the 20+ BB mentioned above would be reduced to 2.5 + BB in a Fixed Limit game.  Well... ???? I'm not so sure about the correlation between the two.

A more realistic and representative stack is 100 BB in no limit vs. 20 BB in fixed limit as suggested on Pokerstars.

With that being said: 
HU NL HE  20 BB = HU FL HE  4 BB

I have to admit that I feel pretty naked at 4-5 BB.

The following is copy-and-paste general information about the HeadsUp Push/Fold charts and their usage for Heads-Up No-Limit Hold' Em. For the original source, I encourage you to click the links of the source at the end of the explanations. 

Keep in mind that the explanations below were deviced for HU NL HE. So divide the numbers by 5 to give you an idea of what it could be in Heads-Up LIMIT Hold' Em.

General Information

The charts show the Nash Equilibrium solution of the heads-up push-or-fold game. This is a simplified game where the SB is only allowed to go all-in or fold, and the BB can either call or fold when facing a shove.
It is important to keep in mind that this is not the solution for the full game where limps and smaller raises are also available. The push-or-fold solution is generally assumed to be very close to the solution of the full game up to around 8bb. In practice the strategy can likely be used at least until 10bb without being too exploitable.


The tables show the highest effective stack size in big blinds where a hand can be pushed or called. Values bigger than 20 are only displayed as 20+, which means the hand can be played for any stack size of 20bb or less. (Playing push-or-fold is typically only recommended up to around 10bb, depending on the situation. Using push-or-fold for >20bb is almost certainly a bad idea.)
Some hands have gaps in their pushing strategies, they are marked with * and the details are displayed below the charts. For example 63s is included in the pushing strategy for stack sizes between 7.1 and 5.1bb, and stacks below 2.3bb.


SB (9.0bb): T3s
BB (6.0bb): Q2o

The effective stack size is the smaller of the two, before posting any blinds. So the relevant stack size for both players in this hand is 6.0 big blinds.
To find the strategy for SBs T3s, check the green area (suited hands) of the "Pusher" chart. The value for T3s is 7.7bb, and since that is larger than the current effective stacks the hand is a push in the Nash Equilibrium strategy.
To determine if the BB should call with his Q2o, check the orange area (offsuit hands) of the "Caller" chart and locate Q2o. The value there is 5.6bb. The effective stacks in the current hand are larger than the value for Q2o, so this hand is a fold in the Nash Equilibrium strategy.

I have included the following chart analyzing the game play of Hyperborean and the legendary Polaris.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Phil Ivey poker book

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,
World Poker Tour title
and appeared at 9 World Poker Tour final tables. 

World Series of Poker bracelets
YearTournamentPrize (US$/A$)
2000$2,500 Pot Limit Omaha$195,000
2002$2,500 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo$118,440
2002$2,000 S.H.O.E.$107,540
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
2010$3,000 H.O.R.S.E.$329,840
2013AA$2,200 Mixed EventA$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

World Poker Tour Titles
YearTournamentPrize (US$)
2008$10,000 L.A. Poker Classic$1,596,100

Phil Ivey is also the best Fixed Limit Hold' Em poker player alive.

Further proofs: 

- 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.

Hyper-aggressive maniac

Phil Ivey playing style have been labelled as maniac by poker expert.  His style is hyper aggressive.  

Some criticizing his HULHE style. Read the following criticisms about his playing style that I've found all over the web: 

He makes a big fundamental mistake against them: he reraises quite a lot pre-flop out of position, from the big blind. Since his style is based on continuation bets automatically on the flop and turn, no matter what hits.... 
The German specialist never reraise the big blind pre-flop and always play position...
But he should practically never reraise against those dudes pre-flop, check the flop automatically, and reraise post flop if he likes the board / his cards, exactly like he plays HU Omaha 8 in the last few days (masterfully I might add). He will also get more value when he hits something. You rarely hit well in HU limit holdem, so it's basically a game of position.

Raising in the big blind with shitty hands like K4, Q9, A6, etc ? it will bring him nowhere, even if usually he has more than 50% pre-flop, never reraise pre-flop out of position...  Once he corrects this fault, his edge (over anyone) in feeling strength and weakness and value betting will allow him to beat them more often than not.

That is probably a profitable strategy against most players that are scared to create big pots all the time with marginal hands.

Phil Ivey is $100 Million rich off poker exclusively. So, he must do something good!

I will certainly not criticize the best poker player in the world. Nonetheless. it is always interesting to see what some "experts" have to see about him. By the way, reading their analysis was a good way for me to learn more about Phil Ivey's playing style.

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:'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?

a) strong work ethic and competitiveness
b) tons of experience (which naturally breeds skill)
c) doesn't tilt
d) doesn't fear losing money
e) his reputation induces fear into weaker players

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?

a) hyper aggressive
b) incredible focus and concentration
c) Phil's reads. Uncanny ability to detect and exploit opponents's weaknesses and betting patterns
d) zero tilt factor
e) intimidating and fearsome

f) unlimited bankroll

When you face Phil Ivey in Heads-Up Fixed Limit Hold' Em poker...
You going down!