Phil Ivey is loving Russia. And the best part, the IRS won't have access to his winnings in the Motherland! Ivey is the GOAT. We all know it. But his poker career got sidetracked by his proclivity to shoot angles in baccarat with a mysterious Chinese woman (coming soon to a theatre near you starring Awkwafina) and the tidal wave of blowback since the incidents.
Just when you think Ivey was knocked down, he got up again and he's crushing the tables in Russia. Ivey flew out to the resort town of Sochi in Russia to throw down at what might be one of the last major poker tournament series for an indefinite time.
The latest stop on the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Super High Roller Series touched down in Sochi featuring the usual high roller crowd, Vegas sharks, Russian oligarchs slinging cards in chips in the face of a global pandemic. A lot more than money was at stake at the time, but that's the beauty of high stakes poker players. Dangerous times? No problemo. Deal me in. Heck, we're all going to die some day, might as well going down while playing cards!
At least seven SHR events have completed in Sochi and Phil Ivey almost won two of them. The other day he rallied for a second-place finish in Event #5 and then Ivey went the distance in Event #7.
Event #5 had a $50,000 buy-in for a Short Deck NL affair. Only 50 players took a shot at the $50K and just the top 8 places were paid out of the $2.5 million prize pool. Among those who cashed in Event #5 included Paul Phua, Seth Davies, Mikhail Rudoy, Aaron Van Blacrum, Cary Catz, Sam Greenwood, Ivey, and Yong.
Malaysia's Wai Kin Yong outlasted a tough final table and defeated Phil Ivey heads up for the victory in Event #5. Yong earned a first-place payout with $800K. Ivey banked $525,000 for second place. Not too shabby, eh?
Event #7, also a $50K Short Deck NL affair, attracted 58 runners and a prize pool worth $2.75 million. Among the eight lucky souls who cashed were Dmitry Kuzmin, Thai Ha, Sam Greenwood, Sergi Reixach, Seth Davies Wai Kiat Lee, Mike Soyza, and Ivey.
Davies went deep but busted in fourth place. When Lee hit the bricks in third place, it set up the heads-up battle between Michael Soyza and Ivey.
Soyza was no slouch with over $7.5 million in tournament winnings according to Hendon Mob. He's now in the Top 6 all time money for Malaysia, but still trails the Godfather of Malaysian Poker -- Paul Phua's $18+ million in winnings.
Ivey did not miss a second chance to win when it got heads up. He put away Soyza for the victory.
Michael Soyza busted in second place, which paid out $561,780. Not too shabby, eh?
Ivey banked $856,050 for the win, which marked his first major tournament victory in over two years.
The score in Sochi thrust Ivey over $30 million in career winnings. He's currently 11th and just behind Mango Man aka Steve O'Dwyer in tenth place. Ivey finally passed the 30M barrier. Only three players have 40M plus (Kid Poker, Zee Justin, and Bryn Kenney) and Kenney is the sole pro to pass 50M (with $56.4 million and counting).