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Event #25, $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better, Final Results
Omaha High-Low Split / Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split
Number of Entries: 376
Total Net Prize Pool: $864,800
Number of Places Paid: 40
First Place Prize: $220,538
June 11-13, 2009
According to the official records, Ivey now has 7 wins, 19 final table appearances, and 33 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
Ivey currently has $3,439,386 in WSOP winnings.
Ivey won three of his WSOP gold bracelets at the 2002 WSOP.
Ivey has never won a WSOP gold bracelet in Hold’em.
Previously Posted Biographical Material on Phil Ivey
Ivey is one of the world’s best-known and most-respected poker players. He is one of the rare few players who excels at both tournaments and cash games.
Ivey is 32-years old. He is married to wife Luciaetta.
Ivey has become a near mythological figure in the poker world and is unquestionably one of the game’s most enigmatic personalities. Considered by many to be the most publicity-shy poker star in the world, he rarely gives out interviews or reveals much about his private life. Yet the further Ivey runs away from the spotlight, the more it seems to shine upon him. Ivey’s numerous wagering exploits – many unfathomable to the average person -- have become part of the popular modern folklore, making it difficult at time to separate fact from fiction.
Ivey routinely makes stratospheric-sized prop and sports bets. He reportedly bet $1 million on last year’s Super Bowl. He won.
Ivey was born in California, and moved to New Jersey at a very young age. He began playing Seven-Card Stud daily in Atlantic City casinos. By the time Ivey was in his early 20s, he was already acknowledged as one of the East Coast’s best cash game players. At the time, opponents used the words “prodigy” and “savant” to describe Ivey.
Ivey’s “poker office” was the Trump Taj Mahal until the age of 24, when he moved to Las Vegas. He then started playing tournament poker and gradually attained superstar status. In his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet victory in 2000 and perhaps emblematic of poker’s generational and cultural shift, Ivey defeated legend “Amarillo Slim” Preston in heads-up play. That marked Ivey’s first-ever final table appearance, and Slim’s last.
In a previous post-tournament interview after winning WSOP gold bracelet number five (2005), Ivey stated: “I think I can win thirty (gold bracelets). Tournaments are much tougher to win now because the fields are (so big). I don’t play as many tournaments for that reason, but I still think I can get to 30.”
To get to 30 gold bracelets, based on the average life expectancy of a healthy American male aged 32-years old (according to actuarial tables), he would have to win a WSOP event about once every 1.5 years.
Ivey insists that he does not want to be famous. He has no desire to be a celebrity. Ivey has told those who know him best that what he enjoys most is competing and winning. He is driven by a fierce obsession to win and succeed in everything he does. Ivey’s other pursuits include golf. He started out playing only a few years ago and is reportedly close to be a scratch golfer.
Verbatim interview conducted at 12:20 am with Phil Ivey, about 15 minutes after winning his seventh WSOP gold bracelet:
Question: The first question you were asked last time was, ‘How does it feel to win gold bracelet number six?’ You answered, ‘Well, it’s one closer to number seven.’ Now, you’ve got number seven….
Ivey: Now, it’s one closer to Erik.
Question: Is there some personal wager going between you and Erik Seidel?
Ivey: No, there’s nothing personal between me and him. It’s nice to catch people. This is poker history, as you like to say. And so, to have the chance to catch someone like Erik who is (fifth) in the bracelets, to get into his category would be nice.
Question: Many people may not understand the culture that you run around in, with all the stars and wagers that go on between you. Are there rivalries that take place between all of you for bracelets?
Ivey: Well, before last year I pretty skipped a couple of years at the World Series. I didn’t play in as many tournaments as I used to because I figured, it’s doesn’t really make much difference, you know. But then, as I started getting older I started to realize this does matter. Winning bracelets, it does matter. Just having the chance to put myself in poker history and I know I have the chance to win and be the all-time bracelet leader if I can continue at this pace. So, I’m looking forward to the opportunity.
Question: How cool would it be to get to number 12 before Phil Hellmuth makes it?
Ivey: That’s a long way away. That’s a long way from now, so we’ll worry about that when the time comes.
Question: Last year, I think most poker fans were aware you had side action going on how well you would perform. But it was not a year up to Phil Ivey standards. By contrast, this is turning into a pretty good Series for you. Did you do anything different this year, either preparation wise or mentally?
Ivey: I think (last year) I really wasn’t into it. I don’t know, I am just feeling good right now. I think last year I had a lot of distractions, especially in my personal life. And there were a lot of things going on outside of poker. I wasn’t able to focus as well. Also, I think I am a better tournament player now than I was a year ago.
Question: How can you say that?
Ivey: I think I am a little more patient. I take my time. I’m trying in every pot. I’m trying to stay focused and recognize that every pot does matter. I think (before) I was making major mistakes than ended up costing me the tournament. It would cost me chips in a tournament. This year I am not making as many mistakes.
Question: In both of your wins this year, you were in third place at one point-during three-handed play. Many players might have given up in those spots. How were you able to overcome those kinds of disadvantages?
Ivey: Really, when you get down to the end and the blinds and antes are so high, most of the hands play themselves. I was fortunate in a couple of spots where I made full houses and got paid off because (Lee) had a flush or a straight. That’s just the way poker goes.
Question: There are still 32 more events to go at this year’s WSOP. What’s the Over/Under on your next victory.
The Final Table
The final table contained three former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Phil Ivey (6 wins at start), Carlos Mortensen (2 wins), and Russ “Dutch” Boyd (1 win).
The runner up was Ming Lee, from Natick, MA. Lee has been an avid gamesman and poker player for twenty years. This was his second WSOP final table appearance.
The third-place finisher was Juan Carlos Mortensen, from Las Vegas, NV (and Madrid, Spain). “The Matador” held the chip lead when play was three-handed, but went card dead late. For Mortensen, the 2001 WSOP Main Event champion, this was his best WSOP finish in three years.
The fourth-place finisher was Dutch Boyd, from Columbia, MO. Boyd won the Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em title in 2006, when he defeated Joe Hachem in heads-up play.
The fifth-place finisher was Jon Turner, from Henderson, NV. He now has eight WSOP cashes, this being highest finish to date.
The sixth-place finisher was Eric Buchman, from Hewlett, NY. Buchman was the runner up in the $1,500 Limit Hold’em tournament at the 2006 WSOP.
The seventh-place finisher was Thomas Koral, from Skokie, IL. This was Koral’s second final table appearance this year. He finished seventh in the $10,000 Omaha High-Low Split world championship.
The eighth-place finisher was Peter Gelencser, from Budapest, Hungary. He previously won the 2008 European Poker Challenge. This is believed to be the highest WSOP finish ever by a Hungarian player.
The ninth-place finisher was Steve Wang, from Newcastle, UK.
The defending champion from 2008 was Farzad “Freddy” Rouhani, from Gaithersburg, MD. He entered this event, but did not cash.
Odds and Ends
Attendance for this tournament has held steady for three consecutive years. In 2007, there were 327 entries. In 2008, a record turnout of 388 players participated. In 2009, the number of entries was slightly lower, at 376.
This event has only been a part of the WSOP schedule since 2007. The event is designed for High-Low specialists. There are Mixed Games events and HORSE tournaments which include these two games, but this is the only High-Low Split game combination on the WSOP menu.
Due to the intense media and public interest in this event (due largely to Ivey’s presence), for the first time ever Bluff Media used a remote camera to telecast the closing moments of the final table, in what turned out to be a doubleheader broadcast which had only planned to feature the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em championship. Fifteen more events are scheduled, which are split between ESPN 360 and Bluff Media. For a complete broadcast schedule of all events, go to:
The tournament was played over three consecutive days. On Day Three, the final table was dealt out on ESPN’s secondary table.
This final table generated the biggest crowd of spectators yet, even more than the Champions Invitational played the first week of this year’s Series. The finale was played on the more intimate secondary stage, which created an intense experience for both players and spectators. Fans stood ten deep around the rail following Ivey’s historic victory.
The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.
The $2,500 Omaha High-Low Split / Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split attracted 376 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $864,800. The top 40 finishers collected prize money.
The chip leader after Day One was Can Kim Hua, from Las Vegas, NV. He did not cash.
The chip leader at the start of the final table was Jon Turner. He ended up as the fifth-place finisher.
Phil Ivey was ranked seventh out of eight in chips at the start of the final table. He seized the chip lead when play became five-handed. When Dutch Boyd was eliminated fourth, Ivey had more than half of the total chips in play. But Ivey went cold for a spell and was actually third in chips to Mortensen and Lee when play was three-handed. Ivey remained patient and regained the advantage and eventually polished off both of his opponents one by one.
When play was three-handed, Ming Lee was the relative unknown player in comparison to two bona fide poker superstars, Ivey and Mortensen. Yet Lee had his own cheering section, made up of BARGE colleagues (a poker group). In his corner was J.P. Massar, the mastermind of the M.I.T. blackjack teams of the 1990s (he was played by actor Kevin Spacey in the movie “21”).
The final table lasted about six hours.
When heads-up play began, Ivey enjoyed nearly a 2 to 1 chip lead over Lee. Ivey never appeared to be in serious danger of losing his chip lead, although the final duel lasted nearly an hour.
In both his WSOP victories this year, Ivey was ranked third in chips (at one point) when play was at three-handed. He came back to win both times.
The final hand of the tournament came when playing Stud-Eight. Ivey made trip queens (high) with Q-Q-3-5-8-7-Q (no low). Lee made a pair of jacks (high) with J-6-7-Q-J-5-K (no low).
The tournament officially began on Thursday, June 11th, at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Sunday, June 14th, at 12:02 am.