Phil Ivey was born in New Jersey in 1976 and began playing poker in his teens. Being underage never stopped him though; he told his parents at age 16 he would play professional poker and bought a fake ID so he could enter the casinos in Atlantic City in his native state of NJ. The ID, which had no birth place on it, earnt him the name “No Home Jerome”.
Ivey is one of the most famous card players in the world, and arguably the best all round on the planet, he possesses a fearless and aggressive playing style. It has served him well, having won one WPT title (appearing in nine finals) and an impressing ten Gold Bracelets from the WSOP circuit. Amongst his nicknames are “The Phenom” and “The Tiger Woods of Poker”, the former he acquired after winning his third WSOP in 2002.
London Withheld Winnings Case
Ivey found himself in the middle of several court cases in the early part of this decade. The most high profile case was at the exclusive Crockfords Casino in London’s Mayfair. In October 2014, a High Court case in London ruled that Genting Casinos UK (the owner of Crockfords) did not have to pay Ivey the £7.7m winnings he’d claimed following a successful game of Punto Banco.
After discovering that Ivey had employed edge sorting, the casino refused to pay out. This led to a lawsuit in London. Though the High Court eventually ruled that Ivey had not cheated, the case was upheld because edge sorting was against the house rules. A year later, Borgata Casino in his native New Jersey sued Ivey for a similar case, claiming he had used card flaws to his advantage. The case is ongoing at August 2015 and it was noted that both Borgata and Crockfords had used the same card type.
Ivey was married to Luciaetta until December 2009; they had been married for 7 years. In 2013, his former wife went back to court, claiming she had been mistreated in the divorce settlement and had received less spousal support than she should have received – including the accusation of a compromised judge. The court ruled against her later that year.
As well as being a professional gambler, Ivey is a celebrated philanthropist, having given money to many charitable causes, particularly for deprived and disadvantaged children, for literacy projects and in helping the homeless.