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High-stakes poker player Phil Ivey has been called the “Tiger Woods” of his profession, with some experts saying he’s the best in the game. Over the course of his career, Ivey has amassed around $23 million in winnings and after battling a bit of controversy seems poised to return to the top.

Ivey was born February 1, 1977 in Riverside, California before moving to Roselle, New Jersey as a baby. It was in New Jersey that Ivey learned the game of poker after picking it up while working for a telemarketing firm in the late ’90’s. In 2000, Ivey won the first of his 10 World Series of Poker bracelets from poker legend Amarillo Slim. In 2002, Ivey tied a three-way record in winning three WSOP bracelets.

The advent of televised poker games via various cable sports channel was bolstered by Ivey’s prowess. All around the world, Ivey began winning thousands of dollars, with some purses equaling over $1 million. However, scandal visited Ivey’s career in 2012 after he began tackling the game of punto banco baccarat. According to court findings, Ivey and another player used the technique called “edge-sorting” to beat the house to the tune of millions.

A court ordered Ivey to pay back $10 million of what he won in baccarat last year to the Borgota Hotel and Casino in New Jersey. He is also embroiled in a similar legal tussle with Crockfords Casino in London, though the judge in the case said he technically didn’t cheat. That said, the casino refused to pay out 7.7 million pounds in earnings.

Ivey’s legal team said this summer that they’re confident that Ivey will get back the money he paid and have his name officially cleared.

After some time away from the game, Ivey made a return this summer to playing but stayed away from the WSOP in July. Some speculated that Ivey is keeping a low profile due to his legal issues but he’s publicly stated he’s ready to get the matter behind him and return to playing.

Ivey is the founder of online poker school Ivey League.

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Little Known Black History Fact: Phil Ivey  was originally published on