There’s some breaking news from the Salle des Etoiles. Phil Ivey has been heard to speak. Out loud. Coming out of the glass box he plays main events in, Ivey, seated alongside Talal Shakerchi and Isaac Haxton, slowly began talking, the first time ever at an EPT, for a period of about six or seven minutes.
Frankly, everyone was as stunned as I was, not quite believing their own ears. “What could he possibly have to talk about?” was one line of thought, Ivey typically a player who confides only in the waitress who brings him drinks. But here he was, enunciating with his own smooth and authoritative baritone. Nobody was bothered what he was saying; something dreary about some sort of legal case with marked cards, something about blame, his intention to sue for what was rightfully his, yadda yadda. That wasn’t important, as far as I could see it was that he was coming out of his infamous shell was what people were interested in.
I wasn’t alone in this perplexity. Several others stopped by to listen for themselves, like me entirely unmoved by the subject matter, just keen to hear the great man speak. This included the TV people, who edged forward with a giant boom to try to record it, presumably so that in hundreds of years from now archivists will have a record of the once greatest living player’s voice, like the noise Edison recorded in 1878.
It was blatant eaves dropping, an act of theft if you like, an invasion of a private conversation. On seeing this uncouth incursion Ivey became angry. No doubt out of respect for Shakerchi and Haxton, he’d preferred not to be overheard. “Please, not now,” he snapped, waving away the boom man with a flea in his ear.
Spotting the disharmony, a well-meaning TV producer approached him, intending to explain, presumably pointing out that this had been a mechanical error on their part, unavoidable unfortunately, and that they had his voice on the tape for the record and weren’t able to give it back.
Ivey, still irritated, waved him off too, without so much as a word, perhaps wondering if they would have confessed about the mechanical fault had he not said anything at all. They had attempted to steal privacy from him, that which was rightfully his. He’d said all his words now. They were all gone. The TV producer too left with a flea in his ear, albeit a mute one.
Ivey turned his attention back towards the cards, remarkable in his capacity to compartmentalise after incidents such as this. Still, it was good to finally hear him speak, whatever it was he was talking about.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.
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