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Sports & Gaming

The Mental Game

Phil Ivey

Lesson time 17:07 min

Phil pulls back the curtain and reveals exactly what his thought process was during a hand. He shares his tips for inducing tilt and dealing with tough losses, and explains what is really behind the “Ivey glare.”

Phil Ivey
Teaches Poker Strategy
Phil Ivey opens up for the first time about his poker strategy and teaches you how to make smarter moves at the table.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] PHIL IVEY: In my opinion, poker is the most mentally demanding game there is. You have to stay level-headed at all times, or you'll never stand a chance. The most important thing in poker is awareness, to constantly be aware of yourself and your surroundings. A lot of players have tried mental warfare with me with very little success. That's definitely one of my favorite parts of the game. [MUSIC PLAYING] It's very important to stay emotionally level when you play poker because you don't want to make decisions based off of emotion. You want to make all your decisions based off of logic and what you see around you and the information that the other players are giving you. So it's very important to stay even-keeled and not make the decisions off of emotion. Making decisions off of emotion can lead to-- can be disastrous. A lot of things are out of your control at the table. Maybe somebody's winning a bunch of hands in a row against you. That's out of your control. I mean, what is in your control is what you have in front of you, the hands you play, being emotionally level, doing your best, staying present, and just putting your best foot forward. I mean, those are the things that are in your control at a table. All the other stuff, you know, the bad beats, being unlucky, you know-- you know, whether you win or lose sometimes, a lot of that's out of your control. You know, don't really get too caught up in like, oh, this person's so lucky against me. Because a lot of times you get caught up in that. And you don't realize the people that you're lucky against because you don't really think about it. You know, you only really remember the hands that you lose. You don't really remember a lot of the hands that you win. Maybe somebody may be a better player against you. You can't feel like that at the time. You need to feel like, listen, I'm going to just do everything I can to play my absolute best at this moment. And whatever the result is, the result is. But you don't want to sit down at a table and already be beat. That's the worst thing you do. [MUSIC PLAYING] Anytime you have the opportunity to put your opponents on tilt, I mean, and you're doing it in a way that's not classless-- I mean, like, you know, verbally taunting them or whatever, you're doing it just from your skill. Or, you know, you're doing it from your bet sizing, or you're doing it from the way that you're playing, I think it's important to, you know, confuse people, to overbet, bluff on a river sometimes, to apply pressure. Also, to be able to get value out of your strong hands to be able to overbet, to be able to get people to call you. Because nothing makes a person more-- feel worse than when they call, you know, a double-size pot bet, and they're wrong. It's very emotionally draining to people when they call double-size pot bets, and it puts them on tilt, and it gives you a big advantage over them mentally. Anytime you c...

Inside the mind of a champion

At age 38, Phil Ivey became the youngest player to win 10 World Series of Poker bracelets. Now the man known for his enigmatic table presence—and widely regarded as the world’s best all-around poker player—gives you unprecedented access to his mental game. Learn poker strategy, pick up new poker tips, and review hands with the player who’s won more than $26 million in live tournament earnings.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Phil had a lot of good advice on Poker Strategy and how to win a the game.

Great Class. Definitely will my renew subscription.

Top class content and a valuable insight into Phil’s poker brain

While the content is not always the most high quality, the insight into Ivey's thought process is worth the time


Matt G.

Looking at that $2M hand, where do these guys get that kind of money? Are they independently wealthy? Do sponsors put up the money? Or are they just sitting around with an eight-figure bank account to draw on for a game? Did they win that much over time?

A fellow student

My favorite part of this class is how he says multiple times that you should trust your gut, and "act on it", and then proceeds to say that you shouldn't trust your first instinct, because it's often wrong. It's like someone who can't really explain why they're successful, trying to explain why they're successful. After watching this class, and having watched a lot of Ivey's play, as well as playing with (and subsequently discussing with) a lot of players who were there when Ivey was "coming up", I've come to the conclusion that Ivey is a very fortunate man to be in the position he's in. Unlike a lot of the other players at his level, Ivey seems to lack a deeper mathematical understanding of the game, and instead relies on a set of table-honed fundamentals, and experience against his competition, to be successful. If he were taken out of his element, removed from his extensive bankroll, and started over again at the lowest levels, against players with whom he isn't familiar, I would have to bet that he would not be at all likely to rise up through the ranks again. Quite disappointed in this class, and that my opinion of Ivey has to be adjusted to account for this ridiculousness.

Michael L.

I really appreciate how Phil shows a lot of his losing hands to demonstrate mistakes. Daniel showed great hand examples, too, but he wins in all of them. I think Phil's approach is more valuable for the student.

Bearded M.

There have been several examples so far of Phil showing himself making a mistake but this has one of the biggest one yet. So, a good time to note what a GD hero he is to show videos like this in his MasterClass and not just all the times he looked like a genius. High quality content.


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