Chat with Chad Millman
Millman first joined ESPN The Magazine as an editor in 1998. A year later he left to write "The Odds" -- about a trio of Vegas bookmakers and wise guys -- and to find riches working for an Internet company. He made tens of dollars on "The Odds," and the web biz tanked. So he returned to The Mag, where he is now a senior deputy editor. Millman's weekly Behind the Bets column and daily blog explore the culture of sports gambling.
Send your questions now and join Millman Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
How super awesome is Phil Ivey?
Chad Millman (2:02 PM)
Hey all, here to chat about the Phil Ivey story I wrote for the mag that's out now. First up is Mike. Phil was great to hang with. Like what you'd expect from watching him on TV--sarcastic, smart, but also completely honest and thoughtful on any question I asked. He's clearly thought about poker and making himself better everyday.
Andrew (Austin, TX)
Since I enjoy your sports gambling info every week - did you get information about who is willing to take Ivey's action on sports? Or his preference on the strip when gambling on games?
Chad Millman (2:04 PM)
i didn't. We didn't talk much about sports betting. Although, after I lost him $240K at craps and he declared me unlucky we were talking about the Steelers-Titans game that was happening that night. I liked the Steelers. He said he wished he could take the Titans just because I'm so unlucky. Sure enough, Steelers lost a sure cover when Hines Ward fumbled at the five in the final minute.
Taylor (Dallas, TX)
Phil Ivey is a great. But I'd like to see him rocking some Jordan gear like old school at this years final table, what about you?
Chad Millman (2:07 PM)
That would be taking the game to a whole new level, which is what I think Phil can do for poker. He has that level of skill, obviously, but he's also pretty feared, in the same way MJ was and Tiger is. Having him be sponsored by Jordan at the Final Table would be a sure sign that poker is crossing over to the mainstream.
Chad, you refer in the article to Phil's jet as "his jet." Does he own this jet outright? Is he in a kind of time-share ownership of the jet? Is he leasing it?
Chad Millman (2:09 PM)
He leases the jet. Although he did say once when we were riding to the airport that he wishes he had bought one because he's flying so much owning would save him some dough.
Chad I can honestly say that your blog is must read material each week with the changes in the lines and betting insight. I was envious before but I just got done reading your article about your time with Phil Ivey and now I can say I have full on jealousy. If I didn't like you so much I might hate you. Keep up the good work!
Chad Millman (2:12 PM)
Thanks, Andy. The gambling beat is about as good as any I've covered. The stories are always unreal, the people are off the charts smart and it's got practical applications, much more than me knowing how to defend against a bubble screen or hit a two-seam fastball. But feel free to hate me, lots of folks do. Sometimes even the people in my house.
What do you predict Shulman's actual reaction will be if he wins? I can't imagine he'll really make a big scene, trash the bracelet, etc., but I get the feeling he really might give Harrah's the finger in some way.
Chad Millman (2:16 PM)
Never know. He's been pretty adamant in his feelings about Harrah's. But to actually win the event is such a huge accomplishment if you're a hardcore poker player like he is that he could just as easily forget everything he's said and be too thrilled to care.
Dax (WDes Moines, IA)
College Football Picks of the weekend???
Chad Millman (2:17 PM)
Dax, where's the poker question? I actually put up my college football thoughts yesterday. I liked Clemson at plus 4.5, although I liked the Tigers better at plus-7. Also think the Ducks will probably blow out UW, two teams going in opposite directions right now.
Did Ivey have much to say about the other November Niners? Wondering how he views the rest of the field.By the way, how was the '86 Latour?
Chad Millman (2:19 PM)
At the time we hung out, he didn't have anything specific he would share. Only that he he had something ready for each of them. But he said he was going to start digging in and watching all the Tivo'd WSOP stuff he had with around two weeks left, that's when his training would start getting serious. But this is a guy who's kept notebooks and journals about his own games, so he's always thinking about how to get better. the foundation is there, it's just a question of adding the details for the other guys in the field.
Schulman is going to win, what are his odds?
Chad Millman (2:23 PM)
I haven't checked what his odds are up to the minute. I know he had been hovering around 5-1. Obviously he's middle of the pack in chips, but he's one of the stronger players, so it seems like a fair price at that number.
Ivey/Moon or the field?
Chad Millman (2:25 PM)
I'd like to see Ivey. When there is a pro at the table I'm a fan of seeing them win, especially someone like Ivey who has an appreciation of the history of poker and who has dedicated his life to the game. I think poker is a game of skill and when someone is as dominant as he's been, I like to see them be rewarded. but he's got a lot of ground to make up, so he'll have to scare guys off quick just by reputation to have a real shot. Problem with moon is that he'll win, its that there is no value in taking him. he's got such a lead the odds are in his favor.
Mike B (New York)
Does Phil Ivey own the jet you traveled around in? Did the stewardess's look like the girls on Entourage?
Chad Millman (2:27 PM)
The jet was a lease through a company. And the flight attendant was very sweet.
What is your estimate of Ivey's net worth?
Chad Millman (2:30 PM)
Impossible to say. I don't know nearly enough about his life away from the tables. But it's clear he does okay. And even if he wasn't, I don't think it would impact the way he plays. He said during our TV interview for the E60 piece that will air in a couple of weeks that money doesn't mean much to him, which is bad in real life, but exactly the mentality you need when playing poker. All he thinks about is what the best play will be at the time. Meaning he won't chase pots and he won't make decisions based on cash.
Justin (Boulder, CO)
I have to know: How exactly does one take an '86 bottle of Chateau Latour "to go." I'm not sure whether to grin or sob at my mental image of you guys sipping a bottle of art from plastic cups.
Chad Millman (2:32 PM)
Well, the butler packed it up and we were going to take it on the plane. Turns out we decided to stop for dinner after so it was uncorked at a pretty nice restaurant. After it settled, it tasted pretty swell. There were no plastic cups, real wine glasses and much appreciation, if for no other reason than the thing runs about $2100.
Did you and Ivey really only spend 30 minutes at Foxwoods? I would think that would upset the exec that rolled out the red carpet for Phil.
Chad Millman (2:33 PM)
Truly, 30 minutes gambling. The exec who rolled out the red carpet was incredibly gracious. that's the name of the game and they all know it. Sometimes you roll in, win $200K in 30 minutes and leave. Other times you do spend the same amount of time and lose $500K. The hosts would like folks to stay as long as possible, but as long as they keep coming that is the key.
Chad, love your work, I read all of your blog posts and articles. I was wondering if you talked to Ivey about coming out of his shell to the media. Does he feel that spending more time with the media will be a detriment to his poker skills and with the money level he plays at, the time spent away from the poker table will end up costing him money?
Chad Millman (2:35 PM)
I did ask him, because he is incredibly private. His answer was that he feels like he's getting older and has a sense of history for the game and realizes the relevance of him making the final table. So if this is a chance to spread the word about poker, he's going to take it.
Chad Millman (2:36 PM)
hey folks, thanks for all the questions, but I gotta get back to work. Appreciate you all reading the story.