Is Phil Ivey broke? Or a bluff in his Divorce Strategy play?

Is Phil Ivey broke or doing what he does best and bluffing and gambling but this time against his ex wife? Was Black Friday and the Full Tilt shambles part of his Divorce Strategy play?

Back in July pokerQ4 reported Phil Ivey was Busto (broke) and this was part of the reason for his now show at the 2012 WSOP and his lawsuits against Full Tilt (Tiltware PLC). Now news from Phil Ivey’s divorce seems to give more evidence to the rumours that Phil Ivey is broke.

Or is it a deliberate ‘tell’ to convince the world and especially his ex wife that Phil Ivey IS broke, so no point trying to get any more money from Phil as he does not have it …

According to a newspaper report in the Las Vegas Review Journal Phil Ivey is broke and has stopped paying his wife Luciaetta Ivey spousal support from April this year … when pokers Black Friday happened and Full Tilt Poker, who Phil Ivey was a part owner of and getting money from was temporarily shut down and started the fiasco that led to Full Tilts license being revoked by its gaming Licensing authority (AGCC).

Luciaetta Ivey alleged in the petition she filed with the state Supreme Court that her ex-husband has stopped paying spousal support. According to the petition, Chesnoff claimed the marital settlement agreement “permitted Phil to cease doing so as he was no longer receiving income from one of the businesses.”

“Shapiro requested documentary confirmation of Phil no longer receiving income from the business, but Chesnoff refused to provide it,” the petition alleges.

Luciaetta Ivey said her ex-husband made monthly alimony payments from January 2010 until April of this year. She declined to disclose the amount.

is phil ivey broke busto after full tilt shutdown divorce ex wife non payment
Is Phil Ivey Broke? Busto?

Is Phil Ivey broke? Or just doing his bluffing and gambling thing?

Is Phil Ivey broke or is he pulling off one of his biggest bluffs ever and gambling that he can get away with a lot of money that he should be paying his ex wife? Some people hide money and assets away when they know the divorce is coming. Did Phil Ivey work out that Black Friday was the perfect opportunity to hide funds away from his ex wife?

No one can believe that Phil Ivey is not playing some kind of poker and as pokerQ4 asked before Where is Phil Ivey playing poker? For Phil Ivey to not being playing any kind of poker would appear to be evidence that Phil Ivey is in fact broke.

Either Phil Ivey is broke, or he has stopped playing due to his outrage at the Full Tilt Scandal or perhaps he is doing a “neck injury” bluff where people involved in car crashed -who are not really hurt – work out that if they don’t do things they love for a few months they can get a large bonus payment. Similar to Phil Iveys involvement in Full Tilt but this time it is money he does not have to pay his ex wife and can carry on living, playing poker and gambling. Money not lost is the same as money gained.

is phil ivey broke busto bluffing
Is Phil Ivey broke or gambling and bluffing again?

Is Phil Ivey broke or is all his money stuck in Full Tilt or in his staked friends accounts in Full Tilt?

“Certainly, given the strange circumstances of the divorce which included Phil and/or his counsel choosing Luciaetta’s attorney, the marital settlement agreement failing to disclose the values of Phil’s assets, and there being no appraisals of the parties’ substantial property, it is conceivable that Phil realized that Luciaetta might try to have the decree overturned,” Shapiro wrote. “Likewise, it is certainly conceivable that Phil wanted to curry favor with judge Gonzalez if Luciaetta ever tried.”

The couple’s “total community income” for 2008 was nearly $8 million, according to Luciaetta Ivey’s petition, which cites the couple’s joint tax returns.

If they don’t know the full value of Phil Ivey’s assets then it is hard for his ex wife to get her share of the money from them.

What will you do with your winnings?

Phil Ivey has won a lot of money in his career, some of it known through tournament winnings shown below. Phil Ivey has also won tens of $millions in cash games online and live. But Phil Ivey is also a massive sports gambler and gambler on anything.

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It has been reported that Phil Ivey was borrowing/lent millions from Full Tilt as they mentioned in their statement issued after Phil Ivey brought his lawsuit against them. Why would you need to keep borrowing money if you are not broke? The answer may be a cash flow issue but perhaps Phil Ivey was sailing close to the wind and being broke and Full Tilt was the only thing stopping him from going broke?

With high stakes players and gamblers it only needs a few bad sessions or months to go from being rich to being broke.

Stu Unger perhaps summed up the degenerate lifestyle of high stakes players who thrive and appear to live for only one thing – the buzz, the adrenaline, the thrill of the action. When everything is on the line what bigger buzz can there be? The chance that by the turn of the last card it will either be Phil Ivey poker even richer superstar or Phil Ivey broke?

Stu Unger wins the WSOP Main Event and $1 million. When asked in the press conference afterwards what he was going to do with the winnings he said … “lose it most probably”.


Zak ‘PenFold’ Vella – Our expert of all things Maltese and Italian. One of the main people responsible for opening up the Italian market and bringing the joys of Enetpoker Network to the rest of the world. For which one day Zak will be knighted. Also known in the Content writing business as ‘Mr Google Translate’ as he can speak and write in more languages than it can.