Phil Ivey’s disappearance from the tournament circuit this past year or so has been as much of a mystery as Tom Dwan’s similar situation a couple of years ago, but this week saw him give an interview which may have clarified a few things, with Ivey looking set to return to competitive play next year.
SoMuchPoker, a site is dedicated to poker players living in the Asia-Pacific region, caught up with Ivey in Beijing – on a visit which PokerTube reported a couple of weeks ago where he was helping to launch the Zhi Zou poker app which wealthy Chinese entrepreneur Sun Ji Jun, the brains behind the new app, hopes will challenge for top spot in the Far East market.
Ivey, never the most forthcoming of men in interviews, was guarded about what games he was currently playing, although he was quite clear they weren’t on mainland China: “No, no, it’s illegal”, he stated bluntly.
Claiming that “personal/family issues” were behind his non-appearance at the biggest events in 2017 – Ivey missing the World Series of Poker although he was able to play some cash games at Bobby’s Room in the Bellagio when the show was in town.
His dual court cases relating to his huge baccarat wins in the now-infamous edge-sorting ‘scandal’ have also taken up much of his time and energy – and no doubt money as well, although reputed to be worth $100million it’s doubtful Ivey is feeling the pinch just yet.
Now living in Hong Kong, Ivey confirmed he was still playing the big games in both Macau and in the Philippines’ capital Manila, although when asked to comment on the details he replied:
“No, I cannot”.
Ivey did open up when asked about when or if he planned to play again.
“I’m still interested in live tournaments… I love tournaments, I’ll always play tournaments,” but explained that with his “personal/family problems” he just “didn’t want to be part of the media at that moment, so I just decided to take some time off, but next year I’m going to start playing again.”
Great news for fans of the game, Ivey still being pone of the most popular and successful players of the modern era.