He owns ten WSOP bracelets. He has won millions playing tournaments as well as cash games. And he’s considered by many the greatest poker player of all time.
Ivey is without a doubt one of the legends of poker. He learned a variation of the game — five card stud — when he was only eight, thanks to his grandfather. And since then, he fell in love with poker.
At the age of 17, he obtained a fake ID just so he could play poker in Atlantic City. He would play for hours upon hours, and become immersed in the game and experiment with different strategies.
At the age of 23, Ivey won his first bracelet, as well as $195,000, at an Omaha tournament at the World Series of Poker. And the rest is history.
Here are 22 of his best quotes about poker as well as life in general…
Phil Ivey quotes
I was very intense. I wanted to win so bad I would pay attention to every single detail of everything that was going on in the game.
If you want to get really, really good at something, there’s a certain part of you you have to give up, and you have to be selfish, and kind of self-centered, and put all your energy and attention into it.
If you enjoy winning, you have to kind of appreciate the fact that you are going to lose sometimes.
Poker is not the number one in my life anymore. My mental health, physical health, my family, things like that — I prioritize those things.
A lot of people have really gotten into a lot of trouble playing over their head, and playing for too much money, and putting themselves in some really bad spots financially, and it doesn’t need to be that way.
If you don’t go overboard, and you pace yourself, and you move up in stakes at the right times, it’ll be a much more enjoyable experience.
When I look back at my journey through poker and stuff like that, it’s really incredible. A lot of it was me at the right time in the right place.
In poker, you train yourself for so many years to cut off emotion. I don’t want to be too high up, and I don’t want to be too low, at the poker table. I want to stay emotionally leveled — especially when losing.
The more people told me I couldn’t do it, the more I just wanted to prove them wrong. It was almost like I had to do it.
A lot of people these days are too ambitious. Their sights are set too high at the start and they end up diving in too deep, quitting their day job too soon. They move to Vegas or wherever, make an all-or-nothing commitment before they’re ready, and burn out.
You’ve got to take some chances and know when you’re beat and know how to get certain advantages.
You have some regrets, but as you start to evolve you realize that everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to be, to get you to this moment now. I am just really, incredibly grateful for all the experiences that I had.
You get your chips your way, I’ll get my chips mine.
I grew up very modestly. I grew up with nothing, basically, and I made money my god. Once you acquire these things, and you get hold of a bunch of money, you realize that’s not the answer.
I would work on my game online and at casinos, build my bankroll, find good games, and try to put myself in a position to keep winning and earn a steady income.
Without the fans, poker would not be as big as it has gotten, so you have to be appreciative of every fan that there is.
The biggest thing when you’re playing live is that you’re sitting across from the player and can get a detailed impression of how they’re acting, and whether they’re expressing strength or weakness. Online, it’s much more about betting patterns, and you’re using a much narrower range of clues to what they’re holding and thinking.
I think my first real addiction to anything was poker. I used poker as an escape from reality, for many years. From the time I was 18 or 19 years old until about 32 I played every single day, almost.
I always loved gambling. That was, like, my first real love. I loved to gamble. I started gambling at a very young age, on the street, shooting dice. I’d go to little home casinos and go to little places and play poker.
When you’re guarded, and you don’t really talk very much, you make people uncomfortable. And if you make them uncomfortable, they play worse.
What matters the most when you’re playing against someone is the history that you have between each other. That’s why live play is so much different from tournaments, and online. You develop a history with the person — they’ve seen you play hands, you’ve seen them play hands, and you’re able to make adjustments based on what they’re seen from you and what you’ve seen from them.
In my experience, people want to be happy, and people want to be content, but a lot of times they don’t want to put in the word toward that.