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Phil Ivey is widely considered to be one of the greatest poker players of all time, with 10 World Series of Poker bracelets to his name and over $31 million in live tournament earnings. However, his success has been coupled with controversy, including financial and legal issues. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on Ivey’s life and career, as well as on the poker industry as a whole.

Section 1: Ivey’s Past Struggles

Despite his success on the felt, Ivey has faced several challenges off the felt. In 2011, he was involved in a lengthy legal battle with a London casino over disputed winnings totaling £7.7 million. In addition, Ivey has admitted to struggling with a gambling addiction, which is a common issue among professional poker players.

Section 2: The Pandemic and Ivey’s Break

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the poker industry was forced to shut down as casinos and card rooms closed their doors. Ivey, like many other players, was unable to continue playing live poker. However, he used this time to take a break from the game and focus on other areas of his life.

The pandemic also had a significant impact on the poker industry as a whole, forcing many players and operators to adapt to the new reality of online poker. Tournaments were moved online, and players had to adjust to playing without the usual live interactions and dynamics.

Section 3: Ivey’s Reflections on the Pandemic

In an interview, Ivey reflected on his time away from the game, saying that the pandemic actually helped him to gain a more balanced perspective on life. He stated that it allowed him to focus on his family and personal life, which he believes will ultimately help him in his career.

Additionally, taking a break from poker has allowed Ivey to approach the game with a clearer mindset. He has said that he has a renewed appreciation for the game and that he plans to approach it with a more deliberate and intentional mindset.

Section 4: Return to Poker and Future Plans

Recently, Ivey has made a return to the poker world, playing a number of online tournaments and live events. However, he has stated that he plans to approach the game differently in light of the pandemic. He now places more importance on his personal life and taking care of his physical and mental health, recognizing that this will ultimately help him in his poker career.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Phil Ivey’s life and career, forcing him to take a break from poker and focus on other areas of his life. However, Ivey has used this time to gain a new perspective on the game and has returned to the felt with a renewed appreciation for the sport. It remains to be seen how the pandemic will continue to impact the poker industry, but players like Ivey are adapting and evolving to face the challenges presented by this new reality.

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