FRIDAY APRIL 28, 2017
 
Blog SPORTS EXTRAS
WILL TOP PROFESSIONAL POKER PLAYER PHIL IVEY COME BACK INTO THE FOLD IN 2017?
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The world inhabited by top professional poker players isn't exactly boring.

With the likes of Dan Bilzerian proudly living a playboy lifestyle thanks to his estimated $150 million fortune, Sam Farha earning the nickname 'Mr Cool', and Daniel Negreanu now rich enough to proclaim that he doesn't even care about how he does at the World Series of Poker, gaming is not exactly an industry short on characters to pique your interest.

What gaming is missing, though, is one of the most popular players on the circuit, Phil Ivey, who essentially used 2016 as a sabbatical year. 

WILL 2017 SEE AN IVEY COMEBACK? 

Ivey largely went off the grid in 2016, although he did take to Twitter to state his love of other sports time and time again, and also found time to express an interest in the idea of an NFL stadium being built in Las Vegas for the Raiders.

He only took part in one WSOP tournament (the main event), instead choosing to spend a large part of the year promoting his IveyLeague innovation, which aims to teach amateurs the basics of poker.

Of course, Ivey isn't the only one looking to help newbies develop their gaming skills — the sort of skills as listed here that are crucial for getting involved in the world of online gaming.

In fact, other online hubs offering a wealth of information — you can check out this site as a good example — are becoming ever more popular with those wanting to try new activities in Canada and beyond.

Ivey's IveyLeague venture has been a success, but whilst trying to improve the skills of others, has he allowed his own skills to get a bit rusty?

Surely if Ivey wishes to continue to raise the public profile of his venture, he is going to have to get back in the game sooner rather than later and start taking part in more WSOP events in 2017, perhaps even adding to his impressive haul of 10 bracelets. 

IS IT UP TO OTHER HIGH ROLLERS TO TAKE OVER?

Ivey is certainly one to draw a crowd, but instead of focusing on Ivey's 'will he or won't he' return, should we be looking forward to some of the other kids on the block stepping more prominently into the limelight?

'Love him or hate him' character, Dan Bilzerian, is one good example. Can the self-proclaimed 'King of Instagram' move away from his slightly outlandish activities, including a bizarre cycling odyssey between Vegas and LA, and start focusing more on the game that has brought him fame? 

Toronto's own Daniel Negreanu, meanwhile, could continue to excite Canadians as he shows off his impressive range of skills. Negreanu and his success has been a blueprint for fellow Canadians, who as a nation had a brilliant year in poker, with Canadian nationals earning 11 wins in the 2016 WCOOP (even if the player did have something to say about male grooming at the felt from certain quarters!).

Which of these two poker players wore it better: me, or newcomer to the felt @justinbieber? pic.twitter.com/813KHTJya6 — Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) 13 December 2016

POKER FANS THE REAL WINNERS

Whether Phil Ivey decides to refocus in 2017 or not, it's an exciting prospect for gaming fans to imagine a year in which everyone, including Ivey, comes back into the fold and creates an amazing year of poker action in which the real winners aren't the characters we're so familiar with, but actually those who get a real buzz out of watching and following high-octane poker action. 

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