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Putting the Record Straight

By Ram Vaswani, 19/04/2007

I want it known that Phil Ivey has been more than a little economical with the truth and has acted it a way that I personally never would towards someone that I call a friend. On top of this he is more than happy to let his so called friend Daniel Negreanu put his name up to some of these inaccurate stories and some blatant lies.

As I will explain most of these stories are totally irrelevant anyway for there is only one main point, which is that when Phil was called to do the handicaps in our game in Australia he knowingly lied giving false information which resulted in a game which should never have happened as it was effectively a blatant con.

This was a game totally based on trust between friends which is the only way it could ever have happened. Phil openly agrees that before this match our relationship was one of friendship.

This is how it starts in Australia:
I explain I would be playing a lot worse than any of our previous games due to the fact that I hadn’t been playing since the end of the English summer and that I didn’t have my clubs. So I ask for 4 shots. Phil then replies that he hasn’t been playing either so we should be playing off the same handicaps as before further implying that he would be playing worse as well. At this point not only is he taking away the shots that I should be getting but he is also hiding the fact of how many shots he had improved since last April.

Phil also forgets to mention something that no one has talked about so far which is that that his partner and coach had obviously been playing a lot and had improved a few shots.

Note:
When Phil came to London the first thing I said before we started playing was that I had been playing quite regularly and improved a bit. Therefore I volunteered to come down a few shots.

All of these things taken into account I later worked out I was losing over 20 shots per round which just shows this for exactly what it is. To be playing 5 shots out would be bad enough but that is blatantly ridiculous.

The first point that I want to talk about is my past games with Phil. In April I played about 10 rounds of golf with Phil and lost $52,000 total. When we played a few months later in England I won $70,000 over about 6 or 7 rounds. Just to set the record straight I also won $16,000 off him two years ago. It doesn’t matter how much was won or lost I could have won or lost a million dollars but what relevance has this to do with the main point which is how I was conned in our game in Australia?

The only reason I talk about these figures is to show how far out and ridiculous some of the stories are that are going around and how close the games were between Phil and I when the handicaps were done fairly. So, over all those rounds I finished up roughly thirty four thousand ahead which at the stakes we played equates to a couple of holes. In other words there was nothing in it.

There are many things that have been posted and said and by example in Daniels blog he says:

"It's true, that the last time we played I beat him for $300,000 and he paid me the next day"

That is just one example of how misleading and distorted Phil, through his friends can get.

My second point is regarding raising the stakes. At the start I wanted to play $10,000 a hole and Phil wanted to play bigger. We agreed to play $20,000 a hole singles and doubles. By the end of the first round we were playing for $25,000 a hole. This carried on to near the end of the second day. When it looked like Mark had had enough I offered to take his side of the remaining bet and put it on to the singles. Phil wanted to play both bets for $50,000 so he was the one who actually wanted to raise the stakes. We ended up playing $50,000 on the singles for another two holes before Mark walked off and then I took his doubles bet for the remaining 4 or 5 holes. The truth is it doesn’t matter how much money we were playing for. Gamblers are always raising the stakes in the middle of a game. We could have been doubling up every single hole, but that’s totally irrelevant if you are playing off a fair handicap. They are trying to make a point about this but there isn’t one and the only reason I’m talking about it is to show how different their doubling up story is to what actually happened.

Daniel says:
‘…playing for double or nothing each and every time.’
and
“…continued to press, and press, and press, their bets hoping to get even… You played for days, and days, and days, continued to raise the stake unprovoked...”

These are just more examples of the lies being told.

By the way Phil constantly talked how by the stakes being raised I was free-rolling. He uses the word free-roll like it’s a big ‘no no’ and that it should never be allowed. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. I agree totally that if you cant win why should you be able to lose. The whole game was a free-roll for him. Had it been played off a fair handicap then whatever the stakes it was never a free-roll for me, I was always paying if I lost.

Thirdly I’d like to answer the question that people have asked as to why I didn’t stop playing. Even my wife asked me this question and there is a simple answer. After the first day I was losing $200,000. I hadn’t played too well and my opponents had – well it looked like they had compared to the handicap. I haven’t got a problem with losing money to anyone if they are playing well to their proper handicap. I remember telling Mark that hopefully they wouldn’t play as good the next day. Coming to the end of the first round on day two it turns out they weren’t playing well at all on the first day they were playing bad because now we were seeing gradual and major improvement. Basically we were seeing their true standard of play. True, maybe I could have stopped at this point but this is when I was getting very suspicious which is the point at which I asked Phil how he was playing with Erik Lindgren. There have been lots of posts and people saying that this was asked at the beginning of the match, even Mark says that. That’s not what happened. Phil replied that he was getting 10 shots basically the same that he was getting in April which was a reason for me to continue the round as I believed him to be telling me the truth. I have only used this as an example and have not based Phil’s handicap on this. When I saw Erik after his game with Phil he did tell me that he played off scratch but that he hadn’t been playing and that he didn’t have his clubs. Basically the same position that I was in. In other words this was an example I used of Phil having a ten shot swing.

Anyway Mark couldn’t take it anymore and walked off after another couple of holes and I played on another 4 or 5. Again maybe I could have left at the same time as Mark but I finished the round with every intention of paying. At the end Phil wanted to carry on playing off scratch (I had been giving him 6 shots). I told him I didn’t even fancy playing him off scratch. There is no exact point when I should or shouldn’t have stopped. I thought something was wrong but wasn’t sure about it until later.

What are people trying to say anyway? That I knew that I was playing over 20 shots out of the handicap and that I still wanted to play for high stakes? That’s just ridiculous!

Seeing him play during that day there is no question that there was significant improvement but it’s difficult to say exactly how much. But afterwards, that same night, everything was confirmed to me. People were coming up to me and telling me how much he had been playing, some of the scores he had been hitting, how much he had improved and how I had been stitched up. I couldn’t believe it because most of these were American guys that I didn’t know that well but it was hardly like anything was being hidden. Everyone knew what was going on. A number of very high profile players and people in poker were telling me that I didn’t stand a chance even playing off levels and the only reason they were telling me was because they just didn’t like what was going on. It was a very well known fact as to just how much Phil had improved and he had lied to my face about it.

My assessment having watched him play and listen to everyone was that since April he had improved anywhere between 6 and 12 shots per round. I could give him the benefit of the doubt and say 8. Add this to the 4 shots that I think I should be getting and that’s 12 shots that I was losing on the singles game per round alone. That 12 also goes on the doubles game, add that to maybe the 4 shots that Danny (Phil’s partner) had improved and that’s 28 shots a round. That’s nearly 100 shots over the three and a half rounds that we played.

As far as I am concerned this is blatantly cheating and I therefore thought that once I have spoken to Phil I wouldn’t have to pay anything as there was no way that he couldn’t agree that the game should be completely void. We never got a chance to chat in Australia. I left him a message to meet up and he had disappeared back home to Vegas. When he phoned me a few weeks after I basically told him what I have just said and he denied the fact that the game had been played a ridiculous amount of shots out of the handicap. I found this absurd and said that it would make sense to get someone to arbitrate it as we couldn’t at this point, either of us, say what the handicaps should have been.

When we arrived in Monte Carlo and had our meeting to try and resolve this Phil walked in with his very own arbitrators, Barry Greenstein and Martin De Knijff, who were obviously on his side only having heard his side of the story. The four players were there as well as Richard Redmond who is a mutual friend and who also played with us on the second day. Of course it wasn’t long before it was agreed that the handicaps were more than a few shots out.

Then there was talk of finding the value of the missing shots in the handicap and taking it off the money that was won/lost but I didn’t agree that I should pay anything due to the fact that it was a total con. As far as I am concerned it’s a void game. There was a lot of heated argument but we ran out of time because we all had to play in the tournament. Because I was still in the tournament I didn’t get a chance to have another meeting with anyone and then Phil had to go and we agreed to talk to each other at the Bellagio in April.

There is one other thing that I wanted to mention that was said in this meeting. When discussing about how many shots I should have received for the fact that I hadn’t been playing Phil turned round and said I shouldn’t get any because it wasn’t his fault that I hadn’t been playing. Shame he never said that to me on the day we played because I could have told him where to go there and then.

In the meantime I have had to read a lot of bullshit and lies and I would have preferred this to remain a private matter.

I know it’s not for me to make a decision on this matter which is why I came up with the idea of arbitrators but whatever happens as far as I am concerned I shouldn’t have to pay a single dollar. But there have been a lot of lies going around and until they are taken away and apologised for I am not interested in having another meeting. I don’t care if someone is telling me that I am the liar people can work that out for themselves.

If Daniel or Phil have any questions then I am happy to reply on TheHendonMob forum.

Doyle Brunson quotes,’ "-------, did you put a gun to their head and force them to keep playing?"

Daniel played Patrick heads up pot limit omaha every day for a week. Patrick wins ten million dollars in the first six days and is paid. On the seventh day Daniel wins one million but Patrick hasn’t paid him yet. Then Patrick finds out that on the last day when he lost Daniel was actually playing each hand with 5 cards instead of 4 having dealt himself an extra card each time. Patrick finds out about this and says to Daniel ‘I’m not paying you, because I know you were cheating.’ Doyle then turns to Patrick and says “-------, did Daniel put a gun to your head and force you to keep playing?"

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