Tag Archives: phil ivey

It’s Phil Ivey A Fish?

Phil Ivey is considered by many the best all-around poker player in the world, however, lately when he sits at an online high stakes table in Full Tilt Poker there is a growing number of players willing to play against him. And, perhaps counterintuitively, he will generally finish his session in the same fashion that your drunken neighbor’s night, at the weekly homegame, inevitably ends: with heavy loses.

In fact since poker’s own Black Friday Ivey has dropped a whopping 6.4 million dollars in 194,847 hands played over a span of less than three years, he is amazingly the big fish in this games only surpassed by “The Great Dane” Gus Hansen who is down a cool 17.5 million dollars since Black Friday. Maybe just “The Dane” will be more fitting?

So has Ivey suddenly become terrible at poker? of course not. He is just facing the same problem that many poker players suffer in casinos and poker sites all over the world: bad table election. Simply explained, if you sit the ninth best poker player in a game where the other eight best players happen to be seated, he is bound to lose his shirt.

Easily the biggest factor that comes in play at bad table selection is a poker player’s ego, and we’re not talking your regular nobody can beat me at “whatever silly sporty thing”, no, poker player’s ego is in a league by itself. It’s such a psychological conundrum that should need teams of doctors devoted to it, if not entire universities, just to get a shot at solving it.

So, next time you visit your local casino and find a hundred regular looking poker players, you can be quite sure you just found one hundred persons who feel sorry for the other ninety nine poor souls that are about to be torn apart by their superior poker skills. It’s easy to see then, why this poker masterminds can’t be bothered to take a minute to walk around the poker room looking for the most lucrative tables. But you should. Because in poker success is measured very easily: how much you win.

Of course there are benefits to sitting in a game with a bunch of players better than you. You’ll stand lo learn a lot of useful lessons on how to beat yourself, and all this for the mere prize of the contents of your wallet. Is it worth it? Phil Ivey thinks it is. Or is he just another fish?


The 5 best scenes from the 5 worst poker movies

Poker in movies is cool, intense, and dangerous – unless you know anything about the game. Then it’s cringeworthy and laughable.

NOTE: it’s difficult to pick a “best” scene from bad movies, but if you take “best” to mean “provides most amusement to poker geeks” then it actually becomes pretty easy.

5. Deal (2008): scene

This film has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 3%, which is really difficult to get even if you’re trying to make a ridiculously bad film (Snakes on a Plane has 68%). Even Burt Reynolds couldn’t save this one.

About the movie

With cameos from a myriad of famous poker faces, this film follows online poker hotshot Alex Stillman as he tries to conquer the live poker arena – specifically the World Poker Tour. Oh, and he also has to find love because Hollywood can’t produce a film without a love story.

The best scene

Alex’s first foray into the big leagues sees him at a final table with Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari, and not-Jennifer-Tilly who evidently decided she’d rather be an actor than a poker player for this movie.

In this clip he runs top two pair into a set and everyone treats him like a contemptible piece of shit for going all-in and losing thiscooler. At least they set up sympathy for the protagonist early on… but he is a bit of a cocky douche, don’t worry.

4. Casino Royale (2006): the slowroll showdown and “tip”

While not strictly a poker movie,  a significant amount of time in the film is spent at the poker table (Bond runs into more cold decks than he does beautiful women and henchmen). It’s not actually a terrible film in my eyes, but from the perspective of a poker fan it’s pretty awful.

About the movie

Bond, James Bond, is picked by the British Secret Service to compete in a high-stakes poker game in a bid to win terror-funding money. Oddly, the CIA have done the same thing but sent Felix Leiter instead of Phil Ivey to try and win it for them.

The best scene

It has to be the final hand – not only do a flush draw, two sets, and a straight flush manage to checkthrough the turn, every last player slowrolls – especially Bond, who waits for all his opponents to reveal their hands before flipping the nuts. Then again, this is a man who even slowrolls his own name when he introduces himself.

My favourite moment, unfortunately not shown in the video, is when Bond tips the dealer with a worthless tournament chip.

3. Lucky You (2007): least subtle collusion ever

In this film, The Not-So-Incredible Hulk (Eric Bana) and ET’s girlfriend (Drew Barrymore) find love in Las Vegas. There’s also some poker involved, and for some reason both Robert Duvall and Robert Downey, Jr. are there.

About the movie

Lucky You is the story of a man with a dream, who via grit and determination makes it to the final table of the World Series of Poker.

Wait, no – replace “dream” with “serious gamblingproblem” and “grit and determination” with “sheer dumb luck” and that’s bang on the money.

The best scene

The first scene, in which the protagonist is desperately trying to get money from a pawn shop, pretty much sets the tone for the entire film. However, the best scene is definitely the least-subtle collusion ever in which Eric Bana mucks the best hand on the riveragainst his father to ship him the pot.

OK, fine – do what you gotta do to resolve your daddy issues. But when it’s at the (televised) World Series of Poker final table… people are going to notice.

2. In Time (2011): a four-outer for your life

Between this and Runner Runner, Justin Timberlake has a knack for appearing in terrible poker scenes. Like Casino Royale above, this is by no means a poker movie. However, this scene is so laughable that it merits inclusion.

About the movie

This is a film where time is currency (literally, the amount of time you have left to live). This naturally would lead to some pretty intense gambling.

The best scene

Without a doubt this is one of the more ridiculous plays made on film, especially because Justin Timberlake isn’t betting his net worth – he’s betting his entire existence. Having recently acquired a lot of years, he immediately heads to a casino and bets over half of it on a gutshot – and binks the river to take the pot worth over a millennium. He didn’t even have the nut straight!

Of course there’s still time for a slowroll even when you only have 30 seconds left to live.

1. All-In (2006): the whole damn thing

This film is so bad that I’d forgotten what it was called (perhaps I’d repressed the memory like a traumatic childhood experience) and actually found it simply by Googling “worst poker movie ever”.

About the movie

In retrospect, the word “poker” is a redundant term in that search – it is actually simply one of the worst films I have ever seen in general, let alone poker-related films. It simply has no redeeming features whatsoever*.

I don’t know how deeply in debt Michael Madsen was [erm, that’s a joke – PS.com lawyers] to take a part in this but both he and Dominique Swain of Lolita fame star in this monstrosity.

There’s a sub-plot about evil doctors, as broke medical studentsraise money through poker – a bit like if Scrubs developed agambling addiction and a drinking problem.

The best scene

I really can’t narrow this down. It’s either the overly-evil corrupt doctor teaching at the hospital, or Ace (yes that’s the main character’s name) proving her skills by getting her money in with queens against aces and hitting a set on the river.

Just watch the trailer, it says more than I ever could.

Did we miss any terrible poker scenes in any movies you can think of? How about some surprisingly good ones? 

Did Phil Ivey cheat?

English: 2009 WSOP Seat 3 - Phil Ivey - 9,765,000
English: 2009 WSOP Seat 3 – Phil Ivey – 9,765,000 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barry Carter looks at the legal battle between Phil Ivey and Crockfords Casino and asks whether what he did could be considered cheating, as they have alleged.

Despite being universally considered the best player in the world as well as being a key figure in the story of the Full Tiltscandal, Phil Ivey has garnered perhaps the most mainstream media attention for a non poker related story.

That is his alleged cheating at Crockfords Casino in London playing Punto Banco. Ivey had his £7.5 million winnings confiscated and is now taking the casino to court to reclaim them.

More than likely this will get settled out of court. Money aside, both parties stand to lose a lot in the form of bad publicity for their future endeavors if this gets dragged through the legal process.

But either way, was what Ivey did cheating?

Edge sorting

The argument being made is that the cards being used had small design flaws, which made it possible to identify what card it was from the pattern on the back. Ivey is alleged to have brought an associate who was adept at spotting these design flaws, which gave him an edge.

Ivey and his associate would then request the decks be changed, until a deck with design flaws on the back was used, which he then requested would remain in play.

Casino error
The casino has argued that Ivey “acted to defeat the essential premise of the game” but Phil himself has said that it was the casino’s error and he was an advantage player, who played within the rules of the game.

This technique is much the same as card counting in Blackjack, which, although it will get you banned from a casino, is not technically a form of cheating. Although Ivey did influence the decks that were in play, he never influenced the way in which the cards were dealt. He simply observed and made decisions based on his observations.

The casino was well within their rights to change the deck at any time, but they wanted to keep Phil happy and playing.


The big question is how can a casino, which is prepared to host high stakes games as big as these, make such a fundamental mistake of using a deck of cards with design flaws on the back?

One would argue this was incompetence. If I were a cynic I might suggest that it was because they are fully aware of these design flaws and would want to use them to their own advantage.

So was it cheating? I don’t think it was, not even close.

Ivey didn’t influence the outcome of the cards one bit and was privy to the same information the casino was. I’m not saying it wasn’t calculated or even a little bit shady on Phil’s part, but any blame has to go to the casino for allowing such a vulnerability in the first place.

For me, Ivey acted within the rules of the game and Crockfords had ample opportunity to influence the action that took place to ensure Phil did not have an edge. It is sour grapes and incompetence on their part, and they should…..

What A Billion Poker Hands Can Tell Us About Luck

What A Billion Poker Hands Can Tell Us About Luck

Remember the final table of the 2009 World Series of Poker’s Main Event? Phil Ivey, the consensus best player in poker, put his tournament on the line with Ace-King. His opponent—Darvin Moon, the consensus best logger in the Western Maryland panhandle—held a dominated Ace-Queen. Ivey was the overwhelming favorite. And then … luck happened.

The poker gods granted Moon his Queen (a 3:1 long shot), and the most dangerous player at the table was out in seventh place.

With five players remaining, Joe Cada risked his tournament with pocket Threes against Jeff Shulman’s pocket Jacks, and managed to find the third Three (a 4:1 long shot). With three players remaining, Cada risked his tournament again—this time with pocket Twos against Antoine Saout’s pocket Queens—and again found a way to win (another 4:1 long shot).

The last two players standing? Moon and Cada.

Advanced metrics in baseball, basketball, and football are now an expected part of ESPN’s broadcast. But for more than 10 years, poker has lacked the measurements to answer viewers’ most basic questions: Who’s playing the best? Who’s gotten lucky?

To understand luck and skill, the yin and yang forces of poker, you need to understand their foundational metric: the Situation Score. A Situation Score captures the amount that a player in a given situation usually ends up winning (or losing) in the hand.

To generate a Situation Score, you take the situation you’re interested in, find a gaggle of similarly situated players in a relevant historical database, and calculate their average end-of-hand outcome. Here are some soft intuition-builders:

  • If a player is dealt pocket Aces at the same time an opponent is dealt pocket Kings, his Situation Score will be large and positive. In other words, he is really lucky. If his opponent is dealt pocket Queens instead, his Situation Score will still be positive, but not quite as large.
  • If a player flops middle set at the same time an opponent flops top set, his Situation Score will be hugely negative, i.e., he is really unlucky to find his good hand edged by a marginally better one. If instead he flops middle pair, his Situation Score will be slightly negative.

Think of the Situation Score as a baseline, “replacement level” in the parlance of sports analytics.

As far as using Situation Scores, the most natural application is to measure luck. The basic idea is to see how much the dealing of the cards changes a player’s Situation Score. Slightly more formally, a Luck Score is the difference between a player’s Situation Score immediately before some cards are dealt, and immediately after. Since the only event separating those two calculations was the dealing of some cards, the difference can only be attributable to luck.

Take those hands from that 2009 final table. We applied a database of over a billion hands of online poker played mostly in early 2011—and collected for a project I work on called One Billion Hands—to generate Situation Scores and measure luck. (The hands were thoroughly anonymized before they ever reached us, and the suits, and flop- and hole-card order have been randomized.)

Let’s return to Darvin Moon busting Phil Ivey in 2009. Ivey was the short stack at the table with about 6.5 million in chips remaining—and about to be hit with a round of blinds that would take nearly a tenth of his remaining stack. First to act, he went all in with his Ace-King. The table folded to Moon, and he called Ivey.

Because there’s a new luck score every time cards come out, we know that here at the start Darvin Moon and his A-Q had a luck score of -3.17. This represents the bad luck of being dealt a dominated A-Q when an A-K is in the hand. However, when the flop came out Q-6-6, this represented a massive stroke of luck: +13.45 for the flop. The turn and river returned luck scores of +2.23 and +2.02, respectively, for Moon, which represents the luck of Ivey not spiking his King on either street.

You’ll see bigger spikes for unlikelier hands, like Joe Cada squeezing out flops worth +53.55 and +27.33 against Antoine Saout and Jeff Shulman. Or you’ll see them swing back and forth on absolute cooler hands, like Jennifer Harman losing a hand in 2005 in which her opponent flopped a straight, she turned a full house, and he rivered a straight flush.

Hand by hand, this might not seem so different from the percentages you’ll see on televised poker. You would have seen, for example, that Ivey was a 75 percent favorite to win the hand pre-flop, but fell to just a 14 percent chance to win after the flop, then 7 percent after the turn. But luck scores show a much fuller picture than that.

There are really three types of bad luck in poker. There is getting your money in the the best hand, only to see the cards screw you (a bad beat); getting your money in with the worst hand because your hand was so strong you couldn’t possibly fold (a cooler); and when the texture of a board changes in a way that you can no longer extract value (An action-freezer. Example: you have the K-high flush, and I have the A-high flush, and I’m one betting round away from stacking you, then the river pairs the board. I might slow down because I’m newly scared of a full house, and lose the opportunity to take the rest of your stack.)

The ESPN percentages only give you a picture of the first type of luck, the backwards-looking kind. But luck scores can account for the future outcomes of the bad luck you just encountered—the money you’re now forced to dump into a pot, or the action you can’t draw out of your opponent because of a board thrown into chaos. You can be 100 percent to win or lose a hand, and still hit an unlucky card that will cost you money. That’s what luck score gets across.

Another, broader, use of a the scores is the accumulation of good or bad luck—the ability to tell the story of how lucky a player got over the course of entire levels, sessions, tournaments, or final tables. It’s one thing to know that Phil Ivey got unlucky on the hand that knocked him out; it’s another to know if a player rode an overwhelming and unrelenting wave of luck to a tournament win (Cada), or if a player ground out good results with bad cards.

Those stories have always been told through hand-by-hand anecdotes or through observers’ intuition. But with luck scores, we can say, for example, that 2013 Main Event winner Ryan Riess had a positive luck score on every single level of the final table, and was the luckiest on all but one. That’s the kind of story you can tell when you have a firmer grasp on what luck looks like over the long view.

Although luck played a larger-than-usual role in the 2009 final table, it’s not uncommon for it to be the dominant factor. The team at 1BH dug into the numbers, and found that it commonly takes over 1,000 hands before player performance (as opposed to luck) has the dominant effect on outcomes.

At this year’s final table, new skill and luck measurements found their way into poker broadcasts (~2:43). These measurements are taken straight from the advanced metrics playbook: start with some fresh perspective, apply cutting-edge algorithms to a boatload of data, and voila—new numbers that capture the essence of the game.

From the Moneymaker boom through the Black Friday bust, we’ve been treated to a decade of semi-ubiquitous televised poker. But now, with metrics exposing poker’s foundational yin (skill) and yang (luck), we have the opportunity to see that decade for what it was: prelude.

What A Billion Poker Hands Can Tell Us About Luck

The team behind OneBillionHands.com is using its billion-hand database to bring Moneyball to poker.

High Stakes Railbird: Disaster for Benefield, Hansen Continues to Rise, & Urindanger Wins Big

The action at the Full Tilt Poker high-stakes tables was in full swing this weekend, beginning with the continuation of the “durrrr Challenge”between Daniel “jungleman12” Cates and Tom “durrrr” Dwan.

In other action, Di “Urindanger” Dang emerged as the weekend’s big winner with $655,122 in the black over the course of 27 sessions and 2,993 hands. “IHateJuice” also had a good weekend playing only three sessions and 641 hands but taking down $345,850 in profit. At the other end of the spectrum, David Benefield took a beating and became the weekend’s biggest loser, dropping $716,970.

Bad Saturday for Benefield

David Benefield had a terrible day on Saturday; he just couldn’t gain traction and lost $386,000 playing $500/$1000 pot-limit Omaha againstPatrik Antonius. To make matters worse, he went on to lose almost $240,000 in the $200/$400 PLO cap game against numerous other players.

In one of Benefield’s worst hands, he was sitting with $158,393 when Antonius ($241,525) raised to $3,000 on the button. Benefield reraised to $9,000 and Antonius made the call as the flop came down {8-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}. Benefield, first to act, led out for $12,000, which Antonius called.

The turn was the {5-Diamonds} and once again Benefield led out, this time to the tune of $32,000. Antonius called and the {3-Clubs} appeared on the river. Benefield moved all-in for a little over $105,000, and Antonius quickly called. Benefield turned over {Q-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{J-Hearts} for two pair while Antonius showed {6-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{K-Spades}{A-Diamonds} for a full house. With that, Antonius took down the $317k pot and added to Benefield’s weekend woes.

Hansen Headed for the Black

Gus Hansen has been back to his winning ways in recent months and is looking to rectify his disastrous start to 2010. On Sunday, he made some progress by winning $281,000 in the $200/$400 and $500/$1,000 PLO cap games. It was in the $500/$1,000 game that Hansen played 231 hands against “DrugsOrMe,” winning $183,000 in the process.

In one particular hand against Di “Urindanger” Dang ($96,097.50), Hansen ($43,897.50) was on the button and raised to $3,000. Dang pushed back with a reraise to $9,000, and Hansen opted to make it $27,000 to go. Dang called and the pair created a pot worth $54,000 before the flop, which came down {Q-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{J-Hearts}. Dang led out for a bet of $16,000 and Hansen called, capping the pot in the process.

Hansen: {A-Hearts}{K-Hearts}{5-Spades}{K-Spades}
Dang: {6-Clubs}{9-Spades}{7-Clubs}{A-Clubs}

Both players agreed to run it twice and the {7-Spades} on the first run gave Dang two pair and the lead; however, the {Q-Spades} on the river counterfeited his two pair and gave Hansen the first half of the pot. On the second run, the turn was the {2-Spades} and the river the {Q-Hearts}, giving Hansen the same two pair. He managed to win both runs and scoop the $80,000 pot.

Urindanger Gets His Revenge

Although he lost the aforementioned hand to Gus Hansen, not everything went wrong for Di “Urindanger” Dang; he did end up the biggest winner over the weekend. In the following hand he not only managed to notch a win, but he also got some revenge against Hansen.

Hansen ($40,867) was on the button and raised to $3,000. Dang ($209,112.50) then reraised to $9,000, Hansen called, and the flop fell {4-Hearts}{J-Spades}{9-Spades}. Dang led out for $18,000, Hansen raised to $31,000, and Dang called to cap the pot.

Dang: {5-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{J-Clubs}{7-Hearts}
Hansen: {K-Spades}{7-Spades}{8-Hearts}{5-Spades}

Dang was ahead with his pair of jacks, but Hansen had picked up a flush draw. The pair agreed to run it twice and the first run came {J-Hearts},{J-Diamonds} to give Dang the first half of the pot with quads. On the second run, the turn was the {6-Diamonds}, giving both players straight draws, but the {Q-Diamonds} helped neither and Dang won again to scoop the $80,000 pot.

Who’s up? Who’s down?

This week’s biggest winners (11/26-11/29): Di “Urindanger” Dang (+$655,112), “IHateJuice” (+$345,850), Rami “Arbianight” Boukai(+$277,764), “DrugsOrMe” (+$231,035), “rumprammer” (+$216,326)

In the red: David Benefield (-$716,970), “davin77” (-$274,106), “GooGie MonA” (-$174,544), Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies (-$170,612)

Year to Date Winners: Daniel “jungleman12” Cates (+$4.63 million), Tom “durrrr” Dwan (+$4.02 million), Phil Ivey (+$3.02 million)

Year to Date Losers: Brian Townsend (-$2.53 million), Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies (-1.91 million), “Matatuk” (-1.53 million)

source: pokernews.com


Poker After Dark will feature Pot Limit Omaha in 2011

Poker After Dark is trying its hand at pot-limit Omaha, according to Brian Hastings’s blog on CardRunners (via PokerJunkie). From the sound of it, imho, could be another great step in the evolution of poker on TV …

We’ve previously contended that just because mixed games don’t play well on TV,there should be an exception for PLO. It’s easy-enough for any Texas Hold’em player to follow … same winning hands (essentially) … with enough crazy beats, dramatic suck-and resuck, and occasional nut-folding to make things exciting … while opening a new realm of poker thinking that should keep viewers coming back, especially if they play the game, too.

Supposedly this rare televised high-stakes PLO cash game, played a couple days ago in Ivey’s Room @AriaPoker and airing some time next year, was 300/600 with a $100k minimum buy-in. Pretty sexy line-up, too:

Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Brian Hastings, Phil Galfond,
Patrik Antonius, Sam Farha, Brandon Adams

While at least five of those names have inherent high-stakes appeal, and one of them is Durrrr, I particularly wanna tune in to see Farha. We always hear how Omaha is his game … but I dunno that I’ve ever seen him play PLO before with hole-card cams — and should be interesting to watch his old-school style match-up with the online generation in a game that isn’t Texas Hold’em.

Could be wrong, but If this episode plays well — which I think it will, relatively — don’t be surprised to see a little more PLO factor into other poker franchises’ TV decisions.

source: pokerati

Solo falta Isildur xD