Poker Pro Phil Ivey Expands His Empire with Daily Fantasy Sports Site

Posted on: January 22, 2016, 02:30h. 

Last updated on: January 22, 2016, 02:36h.

PhilIveyDFS Phil Ivey daily fantasy sports
Poker pro Phil Ivey is gambling on the continued rise of daily fantasy sports through his latest business undertaking, PhilIveyDFS. (Image: Tom Donaghue/AP Images)

PhilIveyDFS, a new daily fantasy sports platform brought to you by poker superstar Phil Ivey, will soon begin offering daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests on a variety of leagues including the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL.

Ivey is no stranger to games outside of poker, the game that has made him a household name not to mention a multimillionaire. The habitual gambler made headlines recently for edge sorting cards while playing baccarat in both Atlantic City and London, in cases that have both involved protracted legal battles over payouts with the casinos involved.

The New Jersey native who now resides in Las Vegas is turning his attention to DFS in what he hopes will be his next prosperous business endeavor. Ranked fifth in all-time live poker earnings with nearly $24 million in live winnings and third all-time online with $10.4 million, Ivey is also notorious for losing vast sums during down streaks.

Considered one of the most talented poker players the game’s ever seen, Ivey’s move to invade DFS emphasizes the growing popularity of daily fantasy contests.

Ivey’s Team

Unlike DFS market power players DraftKings and FanDuel, PhilIveyDFS isn’t building a platform from scratch or attempting to form his own standalone community of players. Instead, the poker star is teaming with the iTEAM Network that offers a turnkey DFS platform for clients.

iTEAM provides software solutions for companies and brands interested in venturing into DFS that don’t have the capabilities or player bases to sensibly launch their own independent site. That means that Ivey is hardly the company’s only client, of course.

In fact, iTEAM hosts numerous DFS pages, though you wouldn’t know it as the company replaces their branding with the client’s, which in this case will be Phil Ivey.

The platform connects various player pools to generate more substantial contests with larger payouts, a key necessity in order to have any chance of rivaling market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel, which are both valued at over one billion dollars each.

“Adding the Phil Ivey brand will substantially increase network-wide player liquidity and prize pools,” iTEAM CEO Gabe Hunterton said. “We have already started an aggressive marketing and execution plan in which PhilIveyDFS users will be able to compete immediately for more than $20,000 in weekly pro basketball contests and interact directly with Phil.”

Although that kind of prize pool is nothing to sneeze at, it pales in comparison to DraftKings’ upcoming $4 million Fantasy Basketball World Championship.  

Fighting the Law

The environment surrounding daily fantasy games is indeed complex. Lawmakers across the US are furiously trying to decide if the market is legal.

Some leaders say the contests should be permitted, others are asking for further investigation, and then there’s New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who wants to penalize DFS operators to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

It’s a precarious predicament that remains unresolved.

DFS operators have already been sent out of town on a rail by Nevada’s Gaming Commission after the Silver State’s attorney general, Adam Laxalt, declared that it’s not legal.

But Ivey, by using a third-party platform, is seemingly hedging his bets by having iTEAM as the actual operator. Which is one of several reasons the poker player chose this network.

“I was honored to have multiple options but iTEAM Network’s focus on compliance and the core technology … ultimately made it a pretty easy decision,” Ivey said.