This weekend, Phil Ivey took to a televised poker table for the first time since the world went into lockdown. It wasn’t at the 2021 World Series, where another Phil (Hellmuth, naturally) has been the winner and Ivey hasn’t even turned up.

Ivey played at the weekend on the live stream of Hustler Casino Live, where he battled in the $200/$400 cash game against high stakes regulars such as Garrett Adelstein and Matt Berkey. But how did Ivey do? Let’s look back at two sessions and like a poker reg approaching the coffee bar, give you the skinny.

Friday Night Blues for the ‘GOAT’

Amid positive feedback from Adelstein, Ivey took to the felt on Friday but initially got to a bad start, and at the end of his first day back on a live-streamed poker table, was down $147,000. Not that it’s likely to matter to Ivey, who plays for stakes a lot higher than those on offer in Los Angeles. In Macau cash games, Ivey has cleaned up for years, and while the exact amount he is ahead is unknown, we have it on good authority from a player in some of Ivey’s games that he is up millions if not tens of millions in the big games out East.

In L.A. on Friday night, it was no longer the City of Angels, but the table of edges, and no matter how much Ivey pressed his, he couldn’t get ahead. The biggest winner on the night was Solve for Why creator Matt Berkey, who ended play up $262,000, with Adelstein banking a respectable uptick of $30,000. Elsewhere, Gal Yifrach bagged a profit of $84,400.

Ivey Stabilizes on Saturday

He may not have the best of Friday nights, but Ivey took plenty of lessons, and to an extent made players pay on Saturday. In fact, by the close of the action, Ivey was only up a measly $1,000. But some of his reads were great and he made a number of very solid plays across the board.

Don’t take out word for it. Patrick Leonard, popular poker pro and staker, took this screenshot of the action as he said of Ivey’s play: “Ivey looking at Garrett the second he takes his eyes off him, so good. What a legend!”

Ivey Eyes Garrett
Phil Ivey eyes Garrett Adelstein at the felt during Hustler Casino Live (pic: Patrick Leonard on Twitter)

The biggest winner on the second night of action was none other than Tom Dwan, who banked an impressive $274,000, but it was Berkey who topped the lot with $139,000 profit after the second day’s play and a superb $401,000 profit overall. Garrett Adelstein didn’t follow up his steady first day with anything like as good a Saturday, shipping a loss of $197,000 to end up a loser for $167,000 overall.

After the weekend, Matt Berkey tweeted about how good one particular opponent played, saying: “Can’t emphasize enough how well [Garrett Adelstein] handled getting manhandled by the deck. So many brutal spots in a wild game [with a] way above average distribution of starting hands. Lots of disciplined folds I rarely make when roles are reversed.”

Adelstein was appreciative of the compliment and gave as good as he got to his fellow pro.

“Such a kind text Matt, means more than you know,” he said. “You are always such a breath of fresh air to be around and chat with. Genuinely really glad to see you run decent and play above the rim all weekend.”

Will Ivey Finally Head to the Rio?

It’s the question on everyone’s lips, with the Rio likely to be hosting the World Series of Poker for the final time. Will Ivey arrive a play a number of tournaments? It’s hard to see Ivey missing out on the Main Event, with the sheer value for a player of his level being impossible to measure, but where else could Ivey turn up?

A deep run in the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship is another possibility. It’s a tournament that we know Ivey likes, purely because he did so well in the event in recent years. Ivey more than most has a real mastery of mixed games and would be a favorite to outperform most in the hottest ticket tournament of all, the one that players want to win.

Phil Ivey would be a big miss should he not arrive at the Rio before the end of the WSOP, but if he does, then surely a bracelet would cement plenty more seats in the even bigger cash games the world over rather than any live-streamed cash game. It would be great to see Ivey go a clear second in the list of World Series bracelet winners.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virginia and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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