If you read some of the major poker forums online, then there is a good chance that you have heard something about the dispute between Phil Ivey, Ram Vaswani and Marc Goodwin.
There are a lot of mistruths and half-truths circulating around, so we thought that we would lay the facts as they are known to us out, so that you can make your own decisions regarding who is right and who is wrong in this matter. Let's start from the beginning.
If you are a poker player, there is a good chance that you like to gamble on pretty much anything. Also, if you are a professional poker player, there is a good chance that you spend a good deal of your time on the golf course. Put the two together, and you have professional poker players that wager a lot of money out on the golf course.
Now, some golfers are obviously better than others. In order to make a fair game, the players will determine the skill level of each player playing, and awards shots to each player, in order to even the game up. Meaning, if you have a scratch golfer and a golf with a 20 handicap, the scratch golfer will give up shots in order to even up the match. For example, one shot per hole.
Now, Phil Ivey isn't a very good golfer. Other players used to bug him about how bad he was. Ivey, being as competitive as he is, set out to improve his game, hiring some of the best golf pros around to fix his game, and spending much of his time out on the golf course.
The two other people in this story are both fairly good golfers. Marc Goodwin is a scratch golfer, and Vaswani has a 7 handicap I believe.
So the story starts in Australia. Ivey, Vaswani and Goodwin meet at a golf course to have a game. Vaswani and Goodwin ask Ivey if he has been playing much lately and Ivey says, no, I've been spending much of my time playing poker. They are having a tough time figuring out how many shots to give to Ivey. They ask Ivey if Erick Lindgren gave him 10 shots the last time they played, and Ivey says yes. With that, the game is set, and they are off.
Two things happened. Goodwin and Vaswani both played worse than usual, and Ivey was much, much better than usual. Goodwin and Vaswani quickly got into a hole with Ivey, one that they couldn't play their way out of. It quickly became apparent that Ivey had improved his game greatly.
According to my sources, Goodwin became furious after dropping a substantial amount of money, and quit the game. Vaswani kept playing, and was soon down $900,000. Vaswani felt cheated by Ivey, feeling that he had been hustled, and refused to play.
A meeting was set up before the Monte Carlo EPT event to try and resolve the problem, with Barry Greenstein acting as one of the mediators, but nothing was settled. According to reports, the matter is still unresolved.
According to people close to the matter, Vaswani and Goodwin had the opportunity to quit the game after 18 holes, but they figured that Ivey would soon fall apart, so they kept playing, and kept raising the stakes. Ivey remained steady, and their losses grew.
According to reports, Ivey had dropped quite a bit of money in the past to these two players.
Many in the poker world are taking sides in this dispute, with Doyle Brunson and Daniel Negreanu both publicly stating that they feel that Ivey should be paid the full amount that he is owed.
The question is. Did Ivey hustle Vaswani and Goodwin? Was he dishonest about exactly how much he had played in the past few months?
Or are Vaswani and Goodwin sharks themselves that couldn't handle the fact that they were losing, and kept raising and hiking the bets?
This dispute has certainly caused a rift, with Vaswani publicly stating that he no longer considers Ivey a friend of his.
I have a feeling that we will hear about some resolution to this matter during the World Series of Poker. All of the major pros will be in town for a month and a half, and there will be plenty of golf being played during that time. I have a feeling that all will be resolved before the main event.
Filed Under: Other Poker News