[toc]Phil Ivey and David “Devilfish” Ulliott are the 2017 inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame. ESPN commentator Kara Scott announced the inductees as part of the final table coverage of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Friday night.
At 40 years old, Ivey became eligible for the Hall of Fame this year. Like Daniel Negreanu before him, Ivey is a first-ballot inductee.
Ulliott, who passed away in 2015, was a British poker pro who helped popularize the game in his native country.
Ivey absent from WSOP this year
In recent years, Ivey has not been a major presence at the WSOP. He started sitting out in 2011 after Black Friday. Initially, he felt uncomfortable playing when he knew Full Tilt Poker, a site he had an ownership stake in, had not paid back players.
More recently, court troubles dominate Ivey’s time more than poker. Just last week, the British Supreme Court heard his suit against Crockfords Casino in London.
Ivey sued for over £7 million in Baccarat winnings. The casino withheld the winnings, saying Ivey and his partner, Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun, used edge-sorting to gain an unfair advantage.
Ivey has a similar case in the US, except it is Borgata Resort and Casino in Atlantic City suing him to reclaim over $10 million in Baccarat winnings. The case is pending appeal, however so far every court sides with Borgata.
Even though Ivey was not present for the WSOP, he did appear in one Las Vegas casino this summer. He logged hours in the cash games at Bellagio.
Ivey’s poker resume the best of the best
Even though he is temporarily gone from the poker spotlight, Ivey is far from forgotten. His poker resume is immaculate. He is tied with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan for number two on the all-time WSOP bracelet list with 10 victories. His wins come in a wide variety of games. He also final tabled the WSOP Main Event in 2009.
In the past few years, numerous players climbed up the all-time money list, thanks largely to the growth in popularity of small field high buy-in High Roller tournaments. Ivey was on the forefront of this trend, taking down some of the early events at Aussie Millions. Really though, his stats are not padded by these numbers as much as others.
Even without recent scores, Ivey still sits fifth on the all-time list with over $23.85 million in career tournament earnings. This number does not factor in his cash game earnings. Others who play in “The Big Game” attest Ivey is a top cash game player though.
In addition to dominating live cash games, Ivey was also a mainstay in the nosebleed online poker cash games on Full Tilt Poker.
“I am one of the lucky people”
Ivey issued a statement about how much his induction meant to him:
“I want to thank the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame as well as the media who voted for me to be part of the Poker Hall of Fame. It’s an honor to be inducted alongside legends like Chip Reese and Doyle Brunson. I love the game of poker and the game has done a lot for me. I am one of the lucky people who has been able to make a living playing a game which was always my passion. Thankfully, I’m just as passionate about the game today as when I first stepped into Binion’s Horseshoe to play my first-ever WSOP. Thank you to my family, my friends, and all the poker fans across the world that supported me on this journey.”
Ulliott nabs second spot on HOF roster
In a year where Ivey’s inclusion was a foregone conclusion, the real question was which person would take the second spot in the 2017 class.
Over the past few years, the Hall of Fame faced criticism it was too focused on US players. Recent inductees Scotty Nguyen, Carlos Mortensen, Daniel Negreanu, and John Juanda diversified the pool. Nonetheless, the group still missed some of the beacons of the European poker scene.
This year, the voters addressed that issue with Ulliott’s inclusion. The late Ulliott racked up over $6 million in career tournament earnings, including WSOP and World Poker Tour titles.
Ulliott is arguably more well known for his big personality than his big poker results. He was a mainstay on British poker television during the boom thanks to his memorable bad boy persona.
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