It's not very often that Phil Ivey has the time or wants to sit down for a "proper interview". In fact, it took about 3 years until WSOP's Nollan Dalla was invited over to Ivey's private trailer in the parking lot aside the mammoth tournament area at the Rio for a seocnd one-on-one interview with the world's best poker player.
In the interview, Phil said that he's happy to have made it to 5 final tables in two weeks at the 2012 WSOP but that he's never satisfied with coming second in a tournament.
No, I don't get any satisfaction from second place at all. It's all about winning.
Phil took a break from last year's WSOP due to Black Friday, but he doesn't think it has helped him with his comeback this year...
No, I don't think it helped or hurt it. I've been playing poker my whole life around the clock. I would say, if anything, it hurt it a little bit. Because when you're playing poker, you have to be in stroke, especially when you're playing against really good players. So, when you first come back and you play against players that have been practicing over the last year and have been playing all the time, you have to make some adjustments, figure out what they're thinking, what they're doing. Constantly, the game of poker is changing. Players are constantly adjusting and playing better and better so you have to keep up with the curve.
The most expensive tournament in poker history, The Big One for One Drop, was played at this year's WSOP. Phil was one of the brave (and rich) players who entered the $1 million buy-in tournament and became a part of history.
It's amazing. It's unbelievable. They call you out. It's a big entrance into the tournament. There's a bunch of great players, businessmen, everybody puts in a million dollars. It's like so much excitement. Then when you sit down there's just so much intensity from the beginning. Everyone's trying their hearts out. It's an unbelievable tournament to be a part of and the One Drop charity is such a good cause.
Phil usually don't follow the action when he gets knocked out of a tournament, but he made an exception when he was elimnated in the $1,000,000 buy-in tourament...
I'm watching the Big One, because I just got eliminated yesterday, and it's on TV. It's kind of affecting how I'm playing too. I'm seeing the guys at the final table, and I'm like ‘Man I really wish I was there.' It's kind of like a sick feeling watching these guys play because I'm just wishing so badly that I was there playing. I would say overall I don't really follow poker on my downtime because there's a lot of other things I'd rather be doing.
Even though Phil lives and breaths poker as good as every day he still has days when he can think about other things than poker.
There's times that I'm not thinking about poker, like when I'm playing golf, playing sports, watching movies or spending time with family and friends, there's those times. But most of the time I am thinking about poker -- different ways to play hands, people's expressions when I'm in pots against them, things like that.
Phil about being famous and having lots of fans all over the globe...
It's amazing. When I started playing poker, I started playing in pizzerias and people's houses. Then all of a sudden you put it on TV and now people recognize me on the street. I'm just appreciative of any fan that I have. When I get stopped, I try to be friendly and giving of my time to meet fans. It's nice to have fans.
However, it's only at the World Series of Poker that some fans mob him...
It's only like that here at the World Series of Poker. If I'm in a mall, if I'm walking down the street, I never really get that. People that play poker, they recognize me and they say, 'Hey how you doing.' I get it somewhat, but it's not really like I'm Tom Cruise.