Return of Ivey

by , Jun 9, 2012 | 10:36 am

Phil Ivey quietly returned to the World Series of Poker this month after spending a year out of the limelight.

His comeback Friday night was anything but understated.

Ivey, who owns eight World Series of Poker individual event championship bracelets, was in position to win his ninth Friday night at the Rio, reaching the final table of the Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better event.

However, Ivey fell short, finishing seventh and earning $34,595.

Still, his return created a buzz at the Rio during the 43rd annual tournament.

Considered one of the best poker players on the planet, Ivey disappeared from the poker public following the April 2011 crackdown on Internet poker by U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors.

Ivey was closely associated with Full Tilt Poker, one of three websites that found their access to the American market blocked by the Justice Department. Full Tilt lost its European gaming license and has since gone out of business.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said several well-known poker players, including Howard Lederer and former World Series of Poker champion Chris Jesus Ferguson, were alleged to have unlawfully profited from the website.

Ivey was never charged, but his name was linked to Full Tilt’s troubles.

Last year, Ivey’s divorce became highly publicized in when he and his representatives were accused of making campaign contributions to the Las Vegas judge handling the case in exchange for favorable treatment. The Nevada Supreme Court scheduled the matter for a hearing this year.

After disappearing for a year Ivey resurfaced at the Rio earlier this month, absent his familiar Full Tilt Poker hats and shirts.

He cashed in the No-Limit Holdem Shootout event, but reaching the final table in the tournament’s 15th event (out of a scheduled 61) sent a stir through the Rio.

At the World Series of Poker, Ivey has 44 career individual event cashes and has earned more than $5.7 million. He finished seventh in the World Series of Pokers Main Event in 2010, earning $1.4 million.

Outside of the World Series of Poker, Ivey is known as one of poker’s best cash game players, winning and losing countless millions of dollars. The private poker room at Aria bears his name.

However, his ties to Full Tilt and the company’s financial downfall cost him legions of poker fans.

Time will tell if the 2012 World Series of Poker marks a new chapter in the story of Phil Ivey.

Copyright 2012 Stephens Media Interactive GamingWire. Copyright 2012 Las Vegas Review-Journal,
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