Poker celebrity Victoria Coren Mitchell calls Phil Ivey the Roger Federer of the game

  • Victoria Coren-Mitchell describes Ivey as a genius
  • Ivey recently failed in his legal challenge against a London casino who refused to pay him £7.7 million

Top UK poker player, celebrity, writer and TV presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell has described Phil Ivey as the greatest poker player of the modern era, dubbing him the Roger Federer of the game.

Victoria Coren Mitchell has likened poker player Phil Ivey to Roger Federer - the greatest tennis player to pick up a racket.
Victoria Coren Mitchell has likened poker player Phil Ivey to Roger Federer – the greatest tennis player to pick up a racket.

Writing in the Guardian on Monday, Victoria Coren-Mitchell described what it was like to face off against Ivey over the poker table and also defended him over the accusation that he had cheated Crockfords Casino in London, the defendant in the recent high profile legal battle.

Coren-Mitchell explained how when she had first played against Ivey, she had thought he found her manner at the table to be unsettling, but that it didn’t last long.

“It took Phil about half an hour. Then he laughed, relaxed and – although he continued to regard me throughout the match the way you might an oddly spotted woodpecker – I didn’t win another hand off him for the rest of the day.”
Victoria Coren Mitchell

WATCH: The moment Victoria Coren Mitchell becomes a double European Poker Tour Champion.

Cheating

Ivey, who has won ten WSOP bracelets and is widely regarded as one of the best poker players of the modern era, had taken legal action against Crockfords Casino in London, which had refused to pay him £7.7 million he won playing punto banco– a type of baccarat game – in 2012 on the grounds that he had cheated.

Earlier this month, the UK Supreme Court agreed with the casino.

But Coren-Mitchell questioned whether the tactics Ivey had used – reading the asymmetrical pattern on the back of the cards – could be considered as cheating.

She said: “Any clever person could see the situation. It just so happened that the cleverest person in the room was Phil Ivey. As usual. As I’ve written before: in my view, he didn’t so much cheat the casino as outwit it.”

She also suggested that although Ivey had lost the case, he had succeeded in gaining publicity for the casino’s refusal to pay out, which could have a long term negative effect on their business, suggesting that they may not have cause to celebrate.

“All I’ll say is: a lot of people have thought they could beat Phil Ivey. None of them has been right yet,” she added.

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