Earlier this week two famous poker professionals Barry Greenstein and Phil Ivey met for a conversation. The latter was invited by an old school pro to his home for an interview. Ivey still considered to be the best player of all times. What happened out of it?
Nowadays, ten-times WSOP winner may be struggling in online HU games in NL for example. However, live in famous Bobby's Room - where they play mixed games - he is still out of reach. There are many aspects of his success and you will learn about them in this interview. From the very beginning players started talking about how 43-year-old manages to keep fit:
You are in great physical shape! But what about your mental health?
"In the past 18 months I've made a huge progress in terms of my mental state. I didn't care too much about it before but now I am much more conscious. The litigation with Bograda casino took a lot of money and effort. Meditation, yoga, prayers - all of it makes me feel better. In addition I also began to think about how I can benefit other people."
Macau is your second home. What do you think of playing in Asia and how is it different from other countries?
"First two decades of my career were dedicated to making money. It was a lot of fun but I regret nothing. I still spend a lot of time in Macau playing live games mostly and a little online.
Asian games run much longer because, on average, the local people have no problem staying awake for a long time. Let's take a 6-max format as an example: 5 of them will have no problem playing for three days in a row and they will all look decent."
Tell me about collaboration with Poker King. How's it going for you?
"I've played with the owners of this room. It is run by two guys who love poker and - even though they are big businessmen - they can play hours away. This type of attitude is very important for me because I have a lot of ideas in stock that I would like to implement in the future.
I also had a conversation with the head of Poker King security with whom we discussed ways to protect the integrity of the game. It's cool to be a part of such a promising team. The team of professionals already include Tom Dwan and Jean-Robert Bellande which is also great."
You started talking about security, where do you think the probability of fraud is higher: offline or online?
"He was tricked many times in live games. Moreover, once he participated in a closed game where he had to play with a gun pointed at him. So I think online poker is much more safe since the chances of being cheated are much lower. There is a hand history, you can monitor other player and more. Poker King staff monitors the game process 24/7 and take appropriate actions if necessary."
What helps you stay young?
"Meditation and yoga help me a lot. I feel much more aware now than ever before in my life. And it's not only about your physical health but mental too, you have to constantly work on yourself.
When I am into something I have to exercise a lot of self-discipline in order to not allow this activity to completely take over me. This is a kind of "perversion", but this trait of character is also what led me to great achievements in poker.
Another important part of my success was constant tension. It is rare to find people who take their efforts to the same extreme as I do. But now a lot has changes, take for example my new ability to celebrate victories. Over the years all I have experienced is the relief that it's finally over. Now I can share the joy with my friends/family and get so much more out of the game."
Other interview highlights and return to USA
When towards the end Greenstein asked what Ivey would say to his younger self, he said "You can't waste your time" on which most of the people over 40 would agree. You can watch the whole interview of two poker legends, we provide the link in the end of the article. Also we timestamped the key topics of the interview:
0:11 – last Ivey and Greenstein met;
1:03 – Ivey about his mental health;
1:52 – Balance between making money and mental health;
2:45 – live poker vs online;
3:26 – differences between poker in Asia and other parts of the world;
4:14 – Poker King partnership;
5:15 – is online poker safer than live;
6:11 – what motivates Phil Ivey;
6:52 – how to stay fit with age.
And finally about the topic that worries many people in poker community - Ivey's comeback to USA. In the video itself there's no mention of Phil's return to States to play poker. The last time Ivey was seen in the US at the poker table in Las Vegas, he made the final table of WSOP 2019.
However, his winnings of $124,410 were confiscated at the time by Bograta Casino to partially cover the court ruling of New Jersey's "card ruling and edge sorting" against him.
Despite this, Ivey was playing World Series of Poker Europe 2019 in King's Casino in Rozvadov (earning over $1.6 million) and did well at the PartyPoker LIVE tournament in the Bahamas in November 2019 (approximately $500,000 more). Last time he made money in official poker tournaments was in Sochi. It happened in March 2020 during the PartyPoker MILLIONS Sochi Super High Roller Series.
But nowhere in discussion with Greenstein Ivey gives even a slightest hint about wanting to return to US with poker perspectives. Perhaps this topic will be covered in the next installment of videos for Poker King. In any case, there are still many mysteries around Phil Ivey's persona and he seems in no hurry to solve them for us.