The glare dimmed a bit with the realization I wasn’t taking the other side and Phil settled back into berating Andy. He repeated the wording of the bet over and over, keeping the angry façade except when he’d glance over at Barry Greenstein, sitting to Bloch’s right and allow his lips to curl for a micro-second. Over the next hour, Phil used me to try and prove his point by having me ‘verify’ a few points, each one stabbing Bloch a little deeper in the back “It’s a World Series bracelet, right?” “It’s the same year, isn’t it?” “If Harrah’s went broke tomorrow, I’d have to pay up, wouldn’t I?”

I wanted to help, but when Bloch admitted he didn’t remember exactly what Phil had said when they agreed on the bet, it was all over. This is Andy Bloch, the nicest guy in the world, who’s always been giving of his time, who I’m feeling badly for because he just came so close to his first bracelet. Andy Bloch, who fortunately for me was probably wrong this time. I can’t imagine the sheer force of will I’d have had to endure if I’d been forced to take the other side.

Over that hour, Phil insisted he’ll be playing in the ladies’ event, challenged Andy’s manhood (and gamblerhood) by telling the world “This is a guy who’s never bet $200,000 in his life!” and finally, after I admitted I wished I could write about the encounter, he granted his permission. Andy did too. That’s why I’m hacking away now, eighteen hours later, the moment indented on my fragile little mind.

Ivey is a force of nature. I called him the alpha of alphas a few paragraphs up, but that doesn’t quite capture it. It feels like if there was a 10-inch brick wall between he and an object of his desire, he’s walk straight through it. Hell, last night, he was ready to walk straight through me to get to Bloch.

The quilting circle that is the poker community is whispering that Ivey is changing. With these bets as incentive, with his newfound appreciation for charity, there might be some small chance that he’s starting to embrace his birthright. Maybe it’s because with Chip Reese’s passing, Doyle has to eventually pass the torch to someone. Maybe Phil is embracing the idea of that being him…I don’t know. All I do know is that last night, I got a peek into the mind and world of Phil Ivey, one I hadn’t been given access to before now. I’m glad for the moment I got, and that I don’t need to stare back at the table.

On to the links. Today, I’m linking to yesterday’s stuff, with another bog to come later tonight on today’s writings.

– We start with a write-up on Erick Lindgren’s win over at espn.

– We talk with a wealthier, healthier Mike slot games that pay real money over at worldseriesofpoker.com

– I got to chat with Scott Clements before he stormed his way to yet another Omaha final table, also at worldseriesofpoker.com.

– The wisehandpoker.com Hand of the Day takes a look at Lindgren’s victory…

– …and so too does the pokerlistings.com Wise Hand of the Day.

Sorry again that I was late in posting this folks. Hope you enjoyed the read. More tonight.