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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009 | The Works

Day 9 Of The WSOP: Ivey Is The Topic Of The Day

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While there was a lot going on today at the 9th day of the World Series of Poker, there is no doubt what the hot topic at the end of the day was. For all his successes, Phil Ivey hasn't had the best of WSOP's of late. In fact, I'd noted last year that he seemed more interested in watching the basketball game than in playing poker. Tonight was a completely different story (and yes there was a basketball game going on during the final table) as a focused and determined Ivey showed the world what he is capable of when he is playing at his best. This was the Phil Ivey I'd watched 5 years ago and thought to myself there's no one better. This was the Phil Ivey that left player after player shaking their head, thinking that he was Stu Ungar reincarnated. If Ivey continues with this kind of tenacity, watch out poker world, he's going to pass Hellmuth's 11 bracelets in no time.

A common prop bet that is often made is a bracelet bet where players are given odds on whether they will win a bracelet or not. Ivey's famous for making these kinds of bets and it wouldn't surprise me at all if winning his 6th bracelet was worth a lot more to him than the 96K he won in the event. The 10K mixed event was filled with big name pro's, most of them talking about Ivey's accomplishment. The amazing thing was that moments after winning his bracelet, Ivey wasn't celebrating... he was back playing poker and going for another bracelet. I think I might have taken the rest of the night off. Then again, I might not if I was running good.

I ran into the Simpsons creator Sam Simon today. He's a diehard poker player who makes the trip out to Vegas every year. He didn't have a very good day, but knowing Sam he'll laugh it off and try again. Speaking of celebrities playing poker, hip hop star Nelly has been playing in a lot of events (and not well I might add). You can always tell where Nelly is because he has two hulking bodyguards nearby watching the action.

Last night after he won his bracelet, old timer Freddie Ellis broke down when he started talking about his wife who had passed away two years ago and how he wishes she would have been here to see this. Today, I watched Ellis walking in, a suitcase behind him and a cane in front. He was talking with another guy and as they parted ways Freddie said softly, “it was good talking with you.” When Ellis was given his bracelet from Jeffrey Pollack and the room applauded for him, you could see how proud he was. As Pollack said, “it's never too late to win a bracelet.” Ellis is living proof of that.

Today was easily the deadest rail I've ever seen in my five years of coming to the World Series of Poker. There were perhaps 20 people in the entire room watching the action and it was very quiet. I could actually hear myself thinking for a change. Even at Ivey's final table there weren't that many railbirds. At least not initially. Once word got out that Ivey was heads up, people started gathering to watch the moment and by the end the final table area was packed with pro's, media, and fans.

A kind of funny moment happened when the lights above the media area turned on. It's kind of dark up here, so it was a bit of a culture shock but the media members seemed pleased. Of course when the lights were turned off ten minutes later, it was greeted by a rousing boo from the press area. I kind of wish they would leave the lights on because there's this one media member who sits alone in this dark corner almost underneath the press area. It's kind of creepy. I'd take a picture but I'm afraid he might kill me. Kidding. Kinda.

There were a lot of big names sitting in the 10K mixed event but two players that weren't among them were Negreanu and Hellmuth. Negreanu was in the money in the 2.5K PLHE/PLO tournament. He busted out a couple hours after the 10K started and rushed over to join in on the fun. Hellmuth in the meantime decided he probably had a better shot in a NLHE event and was playing in the 2K NLHE. Good choice Phil.

One thing I wonder and I know I've read people talking about it before is why the hell Kathy Liebert doesn't have a sponsorship deal? How can players like Tiffany Michelle, Liv Boeree, and Evelyn Ng have sponsorship deals when they can't hold a candle to the poker skills of Liebert. It's a shame that it takes a pretty face to get a sponsorship deal as a female because Liebert clearly deserves one. Kathy has over 5 million in tournament winnings and is fresh off a 2nd place finish at the WPT Shooting Star event. Last year she took 3rd in a WPT event and a WSOP event. Yet she's only given a patch when the site knows she is going to get television coverage. There's just something wrong about that picture in my opinion.

Two final tables are on tap for tomorrow as well as two day 2's and the beginning of two events. This will for the most part be the routine for the remainder of the Series until the Main Event. I'll be here tomorrow to see what's going on. Until then...

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