During poker’s boom in the early-aughts, Phil Ivey was the sport’s first genuine superstar, an intimidating manipulator with an utterly brilliant mind who helped catapult poker (and his own bank account) to dizzying heights. “I like it when I lose so much money I can barely breathe,” he once told a table during the filming of NBC’s Poker After Dark. But then Ivey disappeared, hamstrung by the lingering accusation and subsequent lawsuits that he had cheated casinos out of millions playing baccarat, which begs the question—does poker still need Phil Ivey?
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