Phil Ivey did it again. The now eight-time WSOP bracelet winner made an unbelievable comeback in HORSE to secure his newest bracelet and tie Erik Seidel for fifth on the all-time list. We've said it for a while now in "The Nuts," ESPN.com's poker rankings: Phil Ivey is the best player in the world. He has won bracelets in HORSE, lowball, split Omaha and seven-card stud, pot-limit Omaha, SHOE, seven-card stud high-low and seven-card stud. Despite the lack of a hold 'em bracelet, Ivey has proved that the game simply doesn't matter: He's the best.
After his win Tuesday morning the poker world began to chime in with its thoughts on Twitter:
• Doyle Brunson: "#8 for Ivey? Wow! I'm pretty hard headed about players being great but I finally have to admit he is the best all around player."
• Daniel Negreanu: "Phil Ivey is the best male poker player in the world in my opinion. Pretty impressive."
• Erik Seidel: "Congrats to Phil Ivey, The Magic Man on #8. He continues to leave no doubt who the best player in the world is. Truly amazing!"
• Phil Hellmuth: "Amazing win Phil Ivey: bracelet no 8, congrats!"
There was one man who, while I'm sure he enjoyed seeing Ivey win the bracelet, absolutely hated it at the same time. His tweet was simple: "... gulp"
Howard Lederer has always been an Ivey teammate, supporter and prop-better. Pokerati reported today that the bet these two have on the table right now is a big one and Ivey is already halfway to victory. The site reports that the bet is for $5 million and Ivey needs to win two bracelets from 2010 to 2012. It also says that if one of the bracelets is at WSOPE, the bet is considered a push. Those are some high stakes to be on the line and this bet by itself would explain Ivey's motivation to play in every event, but ... we know better. We know that Ivey has a lot more than just this action in progress and we also know that he'll be back at the Rio for Tuesday's events.
Ivey deserves our congratulations, but now it's time to look forward as we turn to his quest for his ninth bracelet and beyond. We posted a poll on the poker page asking who will reach 13 bracelets first: Phil Hellmuth or Phil Ivey? Initially the discussion started this morning over e-mail about No. 12, not 13. Personally, I think Hellmuth will get to 12 well before Ivey, but at Ivey's pace and determination to get 30 in his career (no, I'm not kidding), it really will be a race to get to 13. Hellmuth's task is tougher as his expertise in hold 'em will mean that he's going to face larger fields if he's going to win. While both players play everything and anything, Ivey clearly has the edge in all non-hold 'em games and will have to make his way through only a couple hundred players instead of a couple thousand to earn more WSOP gold.
Speaking to Chops from WickedChopsPoker.com (sorry for the non-link, fellas), he had some great points to argue on both sides, but still felt that Hellmuth would reach the goal first.
"I still think it's Phil Hellmuth," he said. "Ivey is clearly on a roll right now, focused and playing his best. But Hellmuth is going deep in many events, has had a good 2010 in hold 'em tournaments, and should be able to close out two more bracelets before Ivey. However, I do think it'll be close, and wouldn't be surprised at all if by the time Hellmuth gets to 13, Ivey has 11 or 12."
One key item that Chops mentioned was that while Hellmuth plays conservatively and goes deep in numerous events, he doesn't have the opportunity to play in as many events as Ivey, which could turn the tables in Ivey's favor. What do you think? Vote on the poker page and post in the comments. Pick a side! I'm sticking with Hellmuth.
Here's a look at the events in progress and coming up at the WSOP on Tuesday and yes, Phil Ivey has already registered for the first event of the day, Event 41: pot-limit Omaha split eight-or-better:
Event 36, $1,000 no-limit hold 'em: The fourth $1,000 event of the WSOP kicked off its Day 3 on Tuesday with 38 out of the initial 3,102 left in action. Three quick eliminations started play and left Timothy Beeman in control of the chip lead edging out Jonathan Clancy for that honor. Remaining notables include Ryan "g0lfa" D'Angelo, Peter Traply, Brent Roberts and Danny Fuhs. First place in this tournament pays $481,760.
Event 38, $10,000 pot-limit hold 'em: The pot-limit hold 'em world championship event is down to its final 25 players including short-stack Allen Kessler, who could take over the player of the year lead with a win. My eyes are on the two players who started the day in fourth and fifth: Tom Marchese and Sam Stein. The two battled throughout the North American Poker Tour stop at the Venetian, where Marchese came from out of nowhere to win. Now, the two of them have the potential to face off again with a much bigger prize on the line. Also in contention for the bracelet and $617,214 are Dani Stern, Amit Makhija, Blair Rodman, Amnon Filippi, Vitaly Lunkin and more. A great final table is most definitely on the horizon of this event.
Event 39, $1,500 no-limit hold 'em shooutout: Day 1 wrapped up on Monday and 140 players advanced into the money by defeating their first table. Day 2 will feature another table and all the winners will face off in a 14-player freezeout on Wednesday to crown a champion. Notables in action at their second table include Annette Obrestad, Dan Kelly, Ylon Schwartz, Mclean Karr, J.C. Tran, Chau Giang and Adam Levy. My table to watch on Tuesday is simple: the battle of the chess experts, Ylon Schwartz and Jeff Sarwer, at Table 376.
Event 40, $2,500 razz: The most painful game for many players is razz as the only time they want to make the worst hand, it never happens. Only 40 of the original 365 will make the money in the event and with more than 140 players left, the field has a long way to go. Among the chip leaders heading into Day 2 are David Chiu, Hasan Habib and Joseph Hachem. If you're the player who successfully makes the worst hand time and time again, you would be taking home $214,085 as the champion of this event.
The only event starting Tuesday is the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha split eight-or-better. Ivey's quest for a double-bracelet begins there.
Final thought: Don't forget to watch ESPN3.com's live coverage of the final table of five WSOP events starting this Saturday with Event 44. If you haven't seen the schedule yet, you can find links to each event on the WSOP Schedule.