Phil Ivey posts first live poker cash in over two years

There was a Phil Ivey sighting over the weekend as the poker legend recorded his first live-tournament poker cash since January 2016.

Ivey turned up to play in the Triton Super High Roller Series at the Maestral Resort & Casino in Budva, Montenegro. His cash came in the HK$250,000 No-Limit Hold’em Short Deck Ante Only tournament. In Ivey fashion, he didn’t just cash in the tournament – he won it.

You may be a little confused about No-Limit Hold’em Short Deck. Also commonly referred to as six-plus hold’em, the game uses only 36 cards in the deck. This is achieved by removing the twos, threes, fours and fives from the deck. The ace plays as the top end of an ace-high straight (10 to ace), and also plays as the five in a low-end straight to the nine. The smaller deck makes straights more likely to occur, while flushes become less common. Because of this, the game is often played with a flush beating a full house.

Ivey bound for World Series of Poker?

To post his first cash since 2016, Ivey had to outlast a 61-player field in the short deck tournament. It came down to Ivey and Daniel Cates heads-up for the tournament title. When heads-up play began, Ivey was trailing, as Cates had a near 4-to-1 chip lead.

Ivey battled back and it didn’t take long for him to take over the chip lead. After the lead changed hands, it was over pretty quickly. On the final hand of the tournament, Ivey made a pre-flop raise and Cates made the call. The flop showed Kd-Js-10d. Both players checked to the turn – the 9s. Ivey came out betting and Cates pushed all-in. Ivey made a quick call and showed Qc-Jc for a king-high straight. Cates has Ad-7d and was looking for a queen or a diamond on the river to win the hand. Cates did not hit any of his outs as the river card was the 6c, eliminating him.

For the win, Ivey cashed HK$4,749,200, which was just over $617,000 US. That bumped his lifetime live-tournament cashes to over $24 million. Cates received HK$3,199,000, or roughly $415,000 US.

This may not be the last we see of Ivey on the poker scene in 2018. According to an interview he gave in Montenegro, he will be playing in this year’s World Series of Poker. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner hasn’t won at the WSOP since 2014.