Phillip Dennis ‘Phil’ Ivey Jr. was born in Riverside, California in 1977. Ivey began playing poker, as a 17-year-old, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he assumed the false identity of ‘Jerome Graham’; in fact, he played so regularly that he earned the nickname ‘No Home Jerome’. Under the tutelage of several renowned poker players, including Barry Greenstein, Daniel Negreanu and John Juanda, Ivey gradually transformed his not-altogether-successful, loose-aggressive style of play into a meticulous, all-around form, which would eventually win him ten World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and $30.3 million in live earnings alone. Ivey won his first WSOP bracelet in 2000, beating Thomas Austin Preston Jr., a.k.a. ‘Amarillo Slim’, in heads-up play and has since added nine more, in poker variants including Omaha, Razz and Seven Card Stud.

In recent years, Ivey has made headlines as the result of the fallout from his contentious winnings at the baccarat tables in Atlantic City and London in 2012. Alongside Chinese collaborator Cheung Yin ‘Kelly’ Sun, Ivey won $9.6 million from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City and £7.7 million from Crockfords Casino in London. However, he subsequently admitted ‘edge sorting’ – that is, identifying beneficial face-down cards from subtle, unintentional differences in the patterns on their backs – which he considered a legitimate advantage playing technique. Unsurprisingly, the casinos disagreed and launched successful legal action, on both sides of the Atlantic, which effectively forced Ivey into ‘exile’ from tournament poker between 2015 and 2018. Indeed, in the summer of 2019, Ivey cashed for $124,410 when finishing eighth in the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship at Rio Las Vegas, but lawyers acting on behalf of the Borgtata were waiting in the wings to seize the money. Despite his recent trials and tribulations, Ivey was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017.

You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t love casinos and of course casino games. That likely applies both online (websites) and offline (bricks and mortar casinos) and of course while each has distinct parallels, they both bring their own unique brand of excitement too. In ‘real world’ casinos you’re absorbed into casino experience to the max. The sights, the sounds, and of course the local casino characters. This brings with it an excitement but also certain drawbacks. If it’s a particularly busy time it may not always be straightforward to actually play your game of choice. And what of the ‘characters’ that frequent casinos. They go from comical to daring and yet some people like to bulldoze their way through you as you’re playing roulette. The number of times I’ve had someone lurch over me all of a sudden, I’m half expecting to suddenly be grabbed up and forced to dance the tango!

Online casinos of course do lack part of that personal touch, as you’re not actually in a casino, but what it loses on one hand it plentifully gains on another. For all intents and purposes, the online casino experience is all but identical to offline. The games are faithfully recreated, there’s no waiting around as you can play there and then, and on top of that there are much wider selections of casino games (especially slots) than you’ll ever find in a real world casino. Of course there is the convenience factor too, you can play in the comfort of your own home on your laptop or tablet, or even on the go. With so many online options available it can be a good idea to check out Casino reviews at Onlinecasinobluebook.com. That way you’re primed to bag the best bonuses on the most trusted casino sites around. And what are my ‘go to’ casino games I hear you ask? Well, it’s a close call between a few of them but these would have to be my personal top three.

Roulette – Playing roulette can be a real rollercoaster ride for me. When it’s going badly I feel like nothing is going to go my way, but when I’m ‘on a roll’ it feels oh so easy. I tend to go the ‘endurance’ route of stubbornly sticking with a number or group of numbers and seeing how it pans out. That and sometimes lumping on red or black to mix it up a bit. I’ve had many an exciting time playing roulette both online and off.

Slots – There’s something captivating about playing slots that is unique to the game. A combination of the bright lights and amusement arcade style sounds and the fact that there is always something happening. It has certainly been known to draw me in, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. It’s the wide variety of slots games that really adds appeal too, especially online. There is always a new theme or angle and with slots you never really have to put all that much thought into it so it’s not exactly a taxing affair. Good to kill some time after a tough week!

Blackjack – I was tempted to go with Poker, but Blackjack again doesn’t involve a massive amount of strategy, but has all of the excitement, so I prefer that really. There can be some real edge of your seat moments in Blackjack especially if the cards are going your way. It’s quick – and easy to introduce others too if they’re new to casinos. It’s surprising how fast time can fly by when you’re engrossed in playing a game of blackjack, and the swings of fortune one way or another always make it interesting.

So these are my personal favourites, and lure me in every time I’m in the mood for a trip (virtual or otherwise) to the casino. Whatever your personal game of choice is, have fun and find the right online site for you

Born in Guangzhou, in southern China, in 1957, Johnny ‘The Orient Express’ Chan emigrated to the United States with his family in the late Sixties, finally settling in Houston, Texas, in 1973. He attended the University of Houston, but dropped out, at the age of 21, and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to pursue a career as a professional poker player.

Chan won his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in a $1,000 Limit Hold’em event in Las Vegas in 1985, but two years later became the first foreign national to win the WSOP Main Event. He did so again in 1988 and went agonisingly close to winning a third consecutive title in 1989, only losing out to Phil Hellmuth at the final table. Indeed, video footage of the final, heads-up hand between Chan and Erik Seidel in the WSOP Main Event in 1988 appears in the American drama film ‘Rounders’, distributed by Miramax Films in 1998. In the defining moment, Chan looked skyward, in what became known as his ‘Eye to the Sky’ episode, before making a easy winning call, having flopped ‘the nuts’ – a queen-high straight – against the top pair, queens, held by Seidel.

Chan was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002 and, three years later, made further history by becoming the first player to win ten WSOP bracelets, when defeating Phil Laak in a $2,500 Pot Limit Hold’em event. At the last count, Chan had amassed $8.7 million in live tournament earnings.