The poker world has come alive with the return and 52nd edition of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It’s one of the biggest tournaments in poker, so anyone who’s anyone enters in hopes of raking in the big pot. While non-players might be more familiar with participants like NBA alum Tony Parker, who has a decent track record in charity games, one name has a bigger buzz than most: Phil Ivey. If that doesn’t ring a bell, here’s a quick intro to pro poker player Phil Ivey, dubbed by many as the best.

5. He Has Humble Beginnings as a Poker Player

Now 44 years old, Ivey was introduced to the game at a young age. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s when he worked at a telemarketing company in New Jersey that he started picking up skills by playing against his co-workers. Like many other pros, this wasn’t a career path he had planned — but his talent for reading people and adapting his play style to suit made a career in poker very much on the cards for Ivey.

4. He Goes by Many Names

As an amateur, Ivey went by the name ‘No Home Jerome’ as he spent most of his time in casinos and poker rooms developing his strategy. The media also called him ‘The Phenom’ but one of the nicknames that stuck more is ‘The Tiger Woods of Poker’. Both turned pro when they were still the rookies of their respective sport and displayed admirable and, oftentimes, unbeatable skills.

3. He Supports Many Charities

Aside from participating in a number of charity events, Ivey is also a supporter of many causes. For one, he regularly donates to underprivileged communities and even created his own Budding Ivey Foundation. This organization uses poker to raise funds, which are donated to education and feeding programs.

2. He is an entrepreneur

Phil Ivey also likes to dabble in entrepreneurship. At one point, he created his own free poker app and a poker training website cleverly called Ivey League. Investing.com notes that he’s also promoting NFTs from a collaboration with blockchain platform Virtue Poker.

1. He Has Many Wins Under his Belt

Though nothing noteworthy came of his side ventures, his main career as a poker player has proven very lucrative for Ivey. In fact, he tops Poker.org’s list of the greatest ever poker players beating out other big names like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth. He has 10 WSOP bracelets to back the title up, as well as millions in winnings in live tournament cashes. He also participated in nine final tables on the World Poker Tour, another highly anticipated tournament, and won one title, which awarded him over $1.5 million in cash. Additionally, he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017.

Many consider Phil Ivey the GOAT in poker, including rivals like Negreanu, and it’s an opinion that’s hard to contest. More than two decades into playing poker professionally, Phil Ivey is still a master of the game and deserves wider recognition.

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