Daniel Negreanu says that Phil Ivey is the greatest poker player of all-time. The Canadian high stakes tournament player spoke to NBC Sports Chicago and was clear in his opinion that Ivey is by far the most well-rounded grinder the game has ever seen.
The GOATNo limit hold’em might be the Cadillac of poker, and the most popular game, but there’s more to poker than that.
Negreanu said: "So for me, it's always going to be Phil Ivey until otherwise stated. When you say 'poker', I think of all poker games. I think of Stud, Omaha, Triple Draw, Short Deck, everything... and Phil Ivey plays them all.”
With so many different poker variants it is a true test of talent and skill to see who can play them all to a high level.
Many of these games have very little quality literature available, with the players working everything out for themselves from first principles. An almost impossible approach for the mere mortals.
With this in mind it is understandable why the younger generation has taken to a specialising approach. Many will pick a single game, usually NL and PLO, and dedicate themselves to mastering only that format.
Those who want to play many different games can no longer compete at the very highest level against these guys, especially in the online arena where there are many specialist pieces of software to get to grips with.
“There are certainly going to be some players who play just No Limit Hold'em, the most famous game, better than Phil Ivey right now because people have worked really hard on it. But as far as I'm concerned, Phil Ivey is the goat."
Ivey racked up 10 World Series of Poker gold bracelets between 2000-2014 and was thought to be sure to overtake the current record holder Phil Hellmuth. Recent years, however, have seen the great player take his eye off the ball due to the infamous edge sorting scandal that led to legal action against two casinos.
A total of 56 WSOP cashes with 19 final tables, winning 10 of them, is a frightening record.
All of this comes on the back of his cash game prowess where he was rumoured to have built a $100 million+ fortune.
Ivey is a popular choice for the GOAT. He has the respect of any poker player who has seen him in action. His ability to compete against the best over more than two decades, both online and live, in any game spread makes him unique.