Want to Play Poker Like Phil Ivey? It Might Not Be a Good Idea
Phil Ivey is arguably the greatest living poker player in the world right now. He has five World Series of Poker bracelets, reached a record eight World Poker Tour final tables and won two out of three of Full Tilt Poker's Million Dollar Cash game against the best in the world. He won over $16 million dollars from Texas billionaire Andy Beal. As of this writing his has made more money playing online than any other player this year. Like Phil Ivey, Tiger Woods is the best at what he does and you could become a very great golfer yourself if you simply copied him. But with Phil Ivey, if you want to be the best you're better off finding your own way.
Why? Phil Ivey is a maniac. As a matter of fact, of all the maniacs in poker he is the most maniacal. A maniac in poker is a very loose, very aggressive player both pre and post-flop. He plays a lot of hands and bluffs often. He is simultaneously the best and worst player to have at a table with you. When he has a big hand, he wins big time since nobody can get a good read on him. That's what you see on TV, when Phil Ivey rakes in a $400k pot. That's what everyone wants, but what you don't see is the bad side of a maniac. Since a maniac is so loose many of the pots he enters, he is behind. Sometimes he catches, sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes his bluffs work, sometimes they don't. Smart players can take advantage of loose starting requirements and simply wait until they get a big hand. The craziness of your play makes you predictable and in the end costs you money. You may start off the night up big, but it's very likely you could go home broke unless you change things up. You should always be paying attention to your table image, if people think you are a bluffer they won't respect you. Make them pay by waiting for a big hand.
"At the end of the day you have to trust your instincts and play your own game – not someone else's." -Phil Ivey
Phil Ivey is a unique talent. He combines his maniac style with excellent hand reading and scary timing. He's almost impossible to get a read on. If you want to be like Phil Ivey, don't be a maniac. Know your game, know your opponents and most importantly never show weakness. Phil Ivey may be a maniac, but in the end it's his opponents who go crazy trying to beat him.