Phil Ivey Teaches Poker MasterClass Review: Is It Worth It?

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Before starting this review, I want to share a secret: I love game nights. They are my happy place. Just the thought of planning a game night with a perfectly picked game and pristinely laid charcuterie board excites me. 

You must be wondering what I like about game nights so much because, let’s face it, most people hate them. I love the friendly competition, the discussion of questionable life choices and the loaded nachos with dripping cheese.

As a competitive person, I am good with most games, except for poker (a looming dark cloud). To me, every opponent looks like a Vegas shark, eye narrowed, card held close like secrets. While I am a nervous wreck, pushing my chips in on a pair of the most random cards with a prayer. 

I’m not going to lie. I have called all in on a couple of deuces once with the hopes of winning. Yes, I am that naive when it comes to poker. My issue is that I cannot bluff to save my life. My attempts are about as convincing as an avocado dressed as an apple.

So, that’s me. I am a poker imposter who wants to improve my card-playing skills from a joke to something somewhat acceptable (I am not asking for much here).

Enter Phil Ivey’s MasterClass – a potential ace up my sleeve (terrible poker pun intended, but you get the idea). Could this be the key that unlocks the poker world’s secrets, turning my bluffs from embarrassingly transparent to legendary mind games?

In this review, I will walk you through Phil Ivey’s MasterClass and deal out all the details: course content, structure, my key takeaways, and the aspects that impressed me the most. By the end (hopefully), you will be able to figure out if this MasterClass is a royal flush or a complete dud.

After all, as they say, you never know what cards life will deal you, but you can definitely learn how to play the hand you’re given. So, let’s raise the stakes and bluff our way to a win (someday).

Phil Ivey MasterClass Review Summary:

In case you’re pressed for time, here’s a brief summary for your convenience.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Hide your hand and bluff convincingly 
  • Use mind games to win
  • Win poker game with Phil’s tricks and techniques
  • Build mental strength and resilience
  • Learn winning moves in Poker
  • Use behavioral science to read other players.

Time Duration 

This class is 3 hours and 30 minutes long.


  • A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from Phil Ivey
  • Practical and applicable advice for beginners
  • His reviews on good hands


  • Geared toward people interested in playing poker
  • Some sections are not that detailed 

Alternatives to Phil Ivey’s MasterClass

If you are interested in poker, you may enjoy another perspective: Daniel Negreanu teaches poker.

If it is mind-boosting games you enjoy, you may also like Garry Kasparov teaches chess, and Robin Arzon teaches mental strength.


Phil Ivey’s MasterClass is perfect for poker enthusiasts or players who want to enhance their existing game. It is a chance to learn from a globally renowned poker player, and if you enjoy poker, then this class is a must for you. This class is not for people who do not enjoy playing poker or are not good at gambling. 

Phil Ivey Teaches Poker MasterClass Review

Who is Phil Ivey?

Phil Ivy is the most decorated player in poker history. He is a poker legend with a reputation that precedes him from miles away. He is playfully known as the “Tiger Woods of Poker” because, like Tiger Woods, he is relentless and dominates the poker table every single time.

Ivey has trophies and money to prove his expertise in poker. He is a ten-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, tied for second all-time in this prestigious category. But that is not all that he has achieved. Phil has a World Poker Tour (WPT) title and has appeared on several final tables, making him one of this generation’s most revered poker players.

Ivey is celebrated for his impactful game. He is considered to be one of the most well-rounded and versatile pokey players in the history. This is because he does not just excel at one game; he has mastered various games and skills (a rarity in itself).

If you know poker, I am sure you know of his mastery of No-Limit Hold ’em (the most popular poker game) and other complex games like Pot-Limit Omaha. He has accomplished this through constant practice and over two decades of experience. He has wowed people with his cunning bluffs and almost improbably comeback.

However, what makes Phil Ivey an exceptional player is his calm and collected exterior and ability to read his opponents. He is an incredible strategist; he anticipates moves, exploits his opponent’s weaknesses, and manipulates them to his advantage every single time.

This psychological aspect of poker, often called the “mental game,” is one of the most significant elements that Ivey has perfected over the years. At this point, he should just trademark his moves because all aspiring poker players strive to emulate him and mimic his moves while playing.

So, why is Phil Ivey the perfect host for a MasterClass on poker?

In my (novice) opinion, he is the complete package. His unmatched skills, extensive experience, and mastery of the game’s technical and psychological aspects make him an invaluable resource.

Who Should Get Phil Ivey MasterClass? 

Phil Ivey’s MasterClass is sadly not a one-size-fits-all deal. But if you are looking to improve your poker game, there is a good chance you’ll find value here. Here’s a breakdown of who can benefit the most:

Poker Newbies: I know poker can be intimidating, and you can feel a little lost while playing. Ivey breaks down the core principles in a simple and concise way, making the game less daunting for poker beginners. He teaches basic strategies and betting fundamentals. These will help you gain confidence to hold your hand at the table. 

Aspiring Players: Many people dream of achieving the kind of success (financial and skill-wise) that Phil Ivey has amassed. This MastterClass will help you understand how he did it. He explains complex strategic concepts, pot odds analysis, and advanced techniques used by the pros. In his class, Ivey is gatekeeping nothing.

Seasoned Players Seeking Refinement: Even if you are an experienced player, you can surely benefit from Ivey’s wisdom. He offers insights into advanced game plays, including blind defence, bluffing techniques, and handling complicated post-flop situations. His wits will help you sharpen your own skills, and you can figure out ways to improve your game

Fans of the Game: People generally belittle poker, thinking it is just your average gambling game. But there is more to poker underneath that. To excel at poker, you need to understand human psychology and behavioural science. Poker is like chess but with cards. You play with your cards as much as you play with your opponent’s minds, and Phil Ivey will help you understand that in his class. 

Specifically interested in Versatile Play: Unlike some specialists, Ivey excels in multiple poker formats. If you want to broaden your horizons beyond just No-Limit Hold’em, his insights into games like Pot-Limit Omaha offer valuable knowledge.

Ultimately, anyone with a genuine interest in poker, from curious newcomers to seasoned players looking for an extra edge, can find something to learn from Phil Ivey’s MasterClass.

What does Phil Ivey’s MasterClass cover?

Phil Ivey’s MasterClass teaching poker is 3 hours and 30 minutes long. It is divided into 12 video lessons of 15-20 minutes each. He takes you through his journey and breaks down complex poker strategies.

The best thing about this class is Ivey’s feedback on different hands. If you are a beginner, it will help you understand which hands are superior and how to leverage them. And if you are dealt a bad hand, Ivey teaches you how to bluff confidently.

Ivey has provided two supplementary guidebooks with his course. The 36-page workbook summarizes the video lesson, while the 14-page one breaks down the cardinal rules of poker. It is a useful addition to the class, especially for people unfamiliar with poker.

MasterClass provides a vibrant community platform that connects you with people who have similar interests in poker. This enables you to highlight your achievements and participate in discussions about your poker-playing journey with peers who share similar passions.

The lesson plan is as follows:

  1. Phil’s Journey
  2. Preflop and Blind Defense
  3. Betting Tactics
  4. Bluffing
  5. Postflop, Part 1
  6. Postflop, Part 2
  7. Deepstack Play
  8. The Mental Game
  9. Table Image and Tells
  10. Strategies for Success
  11. Closing
  12. Bonus Chapter: Seven-Card Stud

Summarizing Phil Ivey’s Video Lessons

In the first lesson, Phi Ivey introduces himself and talks about his childhood. He also finally opens up about his game and reveals the exact moment he fell in love with poker.

Without wasting any time, Phil immediately starts discussing poker strategies. He explains the preflop and blind defence techniques. According to Ivey, these two strategies make or break your game. He even advises on where to sit at a table and how to use hand-rant charts. To explain what he means, he reviews his hand in a game he lost, discussing what went wrong and how he would avoid repeating those mistakes.

A solid understanding of preflop play is crucial for any player. Remember, most of your hands will be won or lost before the flop even comes down. It would help if you learned how to use position to your advantage, which hands to play, and which to avoid. Master preflop, and you are in the game. 

Betting in poker is all about maximizing value and minimizing risk. Phil reveals his take on tactics like overbetting, bluff catching, and three-betting, and for the first time, shows how he’s used these tactics in past hands.

Before placing bets, Ivey emphasizes that you need to get really comfortable with your game. You should just work on the fundamentals, and playing a position and doing things will make you a better poker player. He suggests concentrating on your reads and opponents. In the end, poker is all about being self-aware of everything around you. 

Phil explains the importance of monitoring your opponents’ stacks and details the ideal circumstances for pulling off a convincing bluff. Bluffing is one of the most significant aspects of poker. Phil breaks it down and explains when to consider bluffing and when to avoid it. 

To explain his point, Ivey analyzes two of his games. In the first one, he wins even when his opponent has a better hand. The second one is from the World Series Poker tournament, which he loses because his bluffing techniques fail. 

Phil provides an in-depth look at a number of different postflop situations. He teaches when to slow play a hand, how to float the flop, and which draws to play depending on the context. This lesson is all about working up your opponent to make mistakes and hiding your hand from them.

Knowing when to shut it down is just as important as knowing when to go in for the kill. Phil discusses the dangers of overplaying a hand and explains how to avoid costly mistakes on the river. To demonstrate this, you see gameplay between Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Doug Polk, and Phil Ivey.

Deep-stacked poker is still anyone’s game. Phil teaches you how to make the most of your suited connectors and pocket pairs and analyzes two hands where implied odds determine the outcome. He discusses that if you can hone your skills playing with a deeper stack, you will have a massive advantage over anyone you face at a table. 

Poker is just like chess. It is all about anticipating and intimidating your opponents. Mind games are a big part of poker, just like bluffing. 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.”

In the next lesson, Phil emphasizes the importance of understanding your opponents and figuring out their “tells” while disguising your own. He discusses the danger of assumptions when it comes to table image and reveals one of his favourite tactics for gathering information about opponents.

In the penultimate lesson, Phil shares his strategies and training routine that have helped him get to where he is today. He explains that being good at just one aspect of poker is not enough, and to be a well-rounded player, you need to practice everything, from analyzing your opponents to enhancing your mental game.

In the final chapter of his MasterClass, Phil shares the pitfalls of early success and talks about how he’s grown in his 25 years of playing the game. It is easy to get blindsided by victories, and it starts getting you your head. Phil gives examples of a few of his games and how he could have been a better player if he had not been egotistical.

Seven-Card Stud is the bonus chapter of this class. Playing other variants of poker can help ambitious players capitalize on soft opportunities. Phil teaches how to play seven-card stud. You get a chance to see him in action and learn from one of the best players to ever sit at the table.

Key Points I am taking away from Phil Ivey’s Class:

As a complete beginner with a goal of besting my friends at game night, this class was much more than I expected. Poker always seemed like a silly card game, but Phil Ivey changed my mind. I enjoy playing chess, and after taking this class, I realized that poker is a lot like chess in many ways. 

At the start of this course, I could not bluff to save my life. Phil helped me understand when and how to bluff (and also when to avoid it). His review of his own hands and the games he lost because of his bluffing were out of bounds, a good measurement of how to control your bluffing. It was also fun to watch him win a game that he had no chance of winning by just bluffing.

You need to understand your opponents’ mindsets to excel at any game. Phil taught me that poker is no different. It is important not to get intimidated by big bets in a blind game. You can always leverage your hand and use mind games on your opponents to make them fold. These techniques can also work in many other situations in life.

Poker is also about luck and your hand in the game. Sometimes, you may get absolutely nothing (imagine 2s and 3s). Phil explained how to make the most out of a game where you are dealt a short hand by sharing his own past hands and how he made it work. This anecdotal approach to teaching was a fun and engaging experience.

Finally, the most enjoyable part of this class was watching Phil play with card sharks like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, and Doug Polk. As a fan of professional poker, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see Phil best such excellent card players. It motivated me to do the same at my poker nights or game nights.

What did I Like about Phil Ivey’s MasterClass?

Even though Phil’s delivery was shaky at the beginning of the class, I was hooked. It went way beyond the standard poker tips you might find online. Sure, I learned valuable strategies and got a refresher on the basics (because, let’s be honest, sometimes those pocket aces can lull you into a false sense of security). But what truly resonated with me were these unique aspects:

The Mastermind’s Manual: Most online poker classes are just about calling and raising. However, Phil Ivey’s class explains his thought process. It helped me understand how he analyzes situations, anticipates his opponent’s move, and, based on that, uses their weaknesses at the table. I understood the psychology of poker from the master of the game.

From Iceman to Ice-Pick: I never knew Phil is known as the “Tiger Woods of Poker.” But I thought about what poker and golf have in common. After taking his class, I realized it was not about the games’ similarity but more about Ivey’s composed demeanour. Ivey taught me that poker is not just about cards (good or bad) but about the mental game. I learned to manage my emotions and stay focused during high-pressure (high-stakes) games. You must have heard the term “poker face”; Ivey is the embodiment of that term.

Beyond Texas Hold’em: When I say poker, you think Texas Hold’em, and before this class, that is what I thought as well. Ivey covers this format of poker but does not stop there. His course helped me see poker in a whole new light. I got to explore other variants of poker, like Pot-Limit Omaha, and it was a really new (but fun) experience.

A Community of Card Sharks: An unexpected perk of taking this course for me is the sense of community within the MasterClass. There is a forum where students (beginners and advanced players) can discuss hands, share experiences, and learn from each other. It felt like having a virtual poker table filled with people who shared my passion for the game, creating a motivating and supportive network. It was like one of my game nights, with friends and family with fun and food.

Phil Ivey’s MasterClass was not just about improving my poker skills; it felt like a journey into the mind of a champion. It was about strategy, psychology, and the unwavering focus that separates good players from the greats. And who knows, maybe with enough practice and a little help from Ivey’s wisdom, I might just transform from a bluffing beginner to a halfway decent card shark myself.

Phil Ivey MasterClass Conclusion

So, did Phil Ivey’s MasterClass change me from game night host to a high-rolling poker shark overnight?

Truthfully, the process of evolving from nacho-fueled bluffing to a card-slinging champion likely involves a significant investment of time and perhaps a touch more natural talent than this MasterClass gave me.

But here is  the key takeaway: this was not  a fast track to poker mastery; it was about igniting a spark, a belief that with dedication and the right tools, I can transform my game from “complete beginner” to “at least understanding the difference between a straight and a flush.”

Phil Ivey’s MasterClass is about memorizing hand rankings and mastering the art of the poker face (although, let’s be honest, Ivey’s tips on maintaining a cool exterior under pressure were pure gold). It was also about understanding the thought process behind the game, the ability to anticipate opponents’ moves, and the mental fortitude to navigate the ever-shifting tides of a poker hand.

Suddenly, the idea of holding my own at the table, of understanding the psychology behind the bets and raises, wasn’t just a pipe dream; it was a path paved with focused practice and the guidance of a true legend.

Now, compared to other poker resources, Phil Ivey’s MasterClass felt different. It was about the heart and soul of the game, the way Ivey approached the table with a strategic mind and an unwavering focus. Sure, you can find technical breakdowns anywhere. Still, the opportunity to delve into the thought process of a champion, to learn how he analyzes situations and exploits weaknesses—that’s a rare gem.

So, is Phil Ivey’s MasterClass worth it?

A thousand times, YES!

For aspiring players, curious newcomers like myself, and even diehard fans who want a glimpse into the mind of a master, this MasterClass is a goldmine of knowledge. It’s a masterclass in strategy, psychology, and the unwavering focus that separates good players from the greats.  And who knows, maybe with enough practice, those game nights will become a whole new ball game (terrible poker pun, I apologize, but hey, I’m learning!).

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