The Ivey Room, a private poker room that poker players have known for nine years where some of the biggest nosebleed cash games occur, is no more, at least in name.
The Ivey Room, a high-stakes poker room in Aria named after legendary yet controversial Phil Ivey that opened in May 2010, has now been renamed to simply "Table 1". This comes amidst his recent legal battle after Atlantic City's Borgata casino was given the go signal by a federal court to chase after him and take the $10.1 million he owed them for the edge-sorting case.
Last week, the Aria casino removed a plaque on its wall that says "The Ivey Room" and replaced it with a new one that simply says "Table 1." For poker vlogger Joey Ingram, this name change is somewhat uninspiring.
The Ivey Room
At the time the room was first opened in May 2010, Phil Ivey was aged 33 and deemed by many as one of the best poker players worldwide. The high-stakes private poker room was born just after a few months when posh Aria resort and casino opened its doors, and it came with a million-dollar freeroll for VIP casino gamblers.
Ivey was flattered and pleased when ARIA president and COO Bill McBeath asked him if he could lend his name to one of their exclusive high roller poker rooms, "I am honored that Bill and the entire team at ARIA have decided to place my name on their one-table high-limit room. With its recent opening in December, ARIA has established itself as a leader in the gaming industry and I look forward to playing at ARIA's Poker Room soon."
This move of Aria to have Phil Ivey's name in one of their poker rooms is an attempt to directly compete with the "The Big Game" in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio. While The Big Game has always moved throughout years (the Mirage, the Horseshoe, Sam's Town, and the Four Queens), it finally settled at the Bellagio when it opened in 1998. Named after 1978 WSOP Main Event winner and former MGM executive Bobby Baldwin, Bobby's Room opened in 2004 after the expansion of the Bellagio poker room. High-stakes cash games worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been played inside its walls, with Phil Ivey landing some sweet pots in there as he worked his way from a cash game grinder to a living poker legend.
The Ivey Room provided high rollers a direct access to the cashier's cage, a 42-inch flat-screen TV for sportsbetting wagers on the side while they play cards, and 24-hour table-side dining perks. The cage has 480 safe deposit boxes so your bankroll and wins will always be safe and secure.
For a span of nine years, the place has been witness to some of the most expensive cash games in town.
It was also a place where one big poker controversy happened - the drunken poker game that resulted to a $3-million court case between King's Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik and poker pro Matt Kirk.
While his style of play and prowess at the tables still hold true, his name however has been tainted with scandal following his legal feud with two casinos, Crockfords casino in London (which he lost) and Borgata casino in Atlantic City (the judge ordered Borgata casino to docket $10.1 million they lost from him), concerning his edge-sorting tactic with the help of his colleague Cheung Yin Sun.
The Ivey Room was also a popular place for high profile poker players to hang out, especially during the World Series of Poker season.
Time to Burn a Bridge?
Thanks to the years-long legal battle concerning Ivey's edge-sorting scheme, perhaps the only way MGM could move on was to burn bridges between them.
Even though Phil Ivey was an impressive high-stakes customer who frequented their doors, MGM took out his name and just renamed it with a generic number, a move that they really mean business.
Aria is semi-owned by MGM Resorts, which owns the Borgata casino. Is MGM therefore sending Phil Ivey a subtle message by removing his name from said poker room? From the looks of it, it's a resounding yes.