Phil Ivey Poison to Internet Sportsbooks

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:

Internet sportsbooks that offered betting odds on the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event are quaking in their boots.

And they've got good reason. 

That's because one of the top names that the books offered betting odds on to win the WSOP Main Event made the Main Event final table of nine, which is to begin playing off next week, after a four-month hiatus.

And if that player goes on to win the Main Event, the sportsbooks will lose millions of dollars.

Before the 2009 WSOP Main Event began on July 3 in Las Vegas, one of the poker pros you could bet on to win the Main Event was Phil "Poison" Ivey, who at the time had won five WSOP championship gold bracelets in his career (he won two more at the '09 WSOP).

Costa Rica-based online sportsbook Bet U.S. (, for example, listed Ivey as one of four co-favorites to win the '09 Main Event, along with Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu, Gus "The Great Dane" Hansen and Tom Dwan.

Each co-favorite had betting odds of 150-1 to win the Main Event, meaning a $100 bet made on Ivey to win it all will earn $15,000 if he does so.

Many other Internet sportsbooks that took wagers on the WSOP installed Ivey, whose top skills make him poison to his opponents, as the favorite or co-favorite at high odds to win the Main Event.

And at books where he wasn't the fave or co-fave, he was listed at even higher odds.

But even if Ivey doesn't go on to win the 2009 WSOP Main Event, he has already caused the online sportsbooks some heavy damage.

Many books, including Bet U.S., offered betting odds not just on who would win the '09 WSOP Main Event, but who would make the '09 WSOP Main Event final table of nine players.

At Bet U.S., Ivey, along with Negreanu, Hansen and Dwan, were the co-favorites to make the final table, with each listed at 20-1 odds.

Bettors who wagered $100 that Ivey would make the final table earned $2,000.

By Tom Somach


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