Friday, October 31, 2014

Phil Ivey Pot Committed

There were a couple of items in the poker news this week involving Phil Ivey.

One was an announcement by Ivey Poker that they were suspending their free-money poker app on Facebook for the time being. The press release announcing the decision noted that while shutting down the app “may sound ominous” as far as the fate of Ivey Poker was concerned, “it’s actually just the first step in our evolution as we prepare to launch an even bigger and better gaming experience for you all in 2015.”

The Ivey Poker training site remains up and running. I’m not sure about the fate of its roster of pros, not mentioned in the presser. I thought I saw one of them tweet some kind of parting message wishing the company the best (or something), but I can’t track that down at the moment.

I’m not on Facebook, and so I never tried the app over there. I believe there was a version launched for the smart phone a little over a year ago, but I didn’t look into it. The site has been around for some time, seemingly poised initially to jump into some sort of regulated U.S. online cash play when it came to be although that hasn’t come to pass.

On the heels of that news was another item that Ivey was one of 26 applicants obtaining approval from Las Vegas City Council this week for a city permit to grow and sell medical marijuana. While the news about Ivey Poker’s app being shut down was hardly unexpected, I don’t think anyone saw this story coming.

The article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal is kind of funny to read insofar as it details all of the specifics of the hearings and approvals then at the very end of the article includes a short list of some of the applicants, with “professional poker player Phil Ivey” being the last one mentioned.

As the whole Ivey Poker experiment suggests (as does his significant involvement with Full Tilt Poker 1.0 before that), Ivey has long had an entrepreneurial urge, so I suppose the latter news isn’t completely without some context. Still kind of odd to encounter Ivey’s name in the list.

Those getting the approvals from the city could still be prevented from starting their medical marijuana businesses should the state health department decide against allowing them to do so. I guess Ivey and the others figured it’s a chance worth trying, with the reward outweighing what appears a not-so-huge risk.

I mean Ivey for one certainly knows all about pot odds. (Rim shot.)

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