Phil Ivey doesn’t need your money. Chances are that you already knew that: after all, Ivey is perhaps the world’s most successful poker player ever, and isn’t exactly hiding his wealth.
And yet there was recently a listing on MergerNetwork, an online market for those looking to buy or sell businesses, saying that the Ivey League was looking for at least $20 million in funding as seed capital for their operations.
That raised plenty of eyebrows, as there had been no earlier indications that Ivey was looking for outside funding or to sell off his brand.
However, it turned out that the listing was fraudulent. That was confirmed by Ivey League CEO Dan Fleyshman, who told several news outlets that he talked to MergerNetwork, and that they took down the listing at his request.
“We’re not interested in selling Ivey League whatsoever at this point,” Fleyshman told PokerNews. “We’re not in the process of raising $20 million either. That website simply stole some internal projections/concepts and misworded what it means to sell a company and raise money.”
The listing claimed that Ivey League could bring in as much as $25 to $50 million in revenue annually. It also suggested that a buyer could try to “strategically rebrand Phil Ivey and develop branding for Ivey league using his persona and elite reputation.”
That may well be wise advice, as could be suggestions that Ivey League could incorporate fantasy sports and sweepstakes games into its brand.
But there were a number of typos in the listing, as well as plenty of vagueness throughout the posting when it came to financial figures, which suggested something wasn’t quite kosher with the listing.
Ivey Poker was first launched in October 2012 and boasted an impressive list of sponsored poker pros promoting the site, including 2012 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Merson, Patrik Antonious and Jennifer Harman.
The site was designed to be a social media, free-to-play poker site that not only gave fans a chance to play with Ivey and other top pros, but also would help them learn how to improve their games.
“People aren’t learning how to play,” Ivey told ESPN when the site first launched. “You see people just going on there and playing, but not really learning how to play the right way. What we’re doing here is teaching people how to become a winning poker player.”
However, the site never took off quite as much as some people expected, and the site closed down in late 2014. The closure was only meant to be a temporary one: Ivey himself said that it was “the first step in our evolution as we prepare to launch an even bigger and better gaming experience for you all in 2015.” Fleyshman was then brought on to be the CEO of Ivey League in November, and was charged with overseeing the transition period for the brand.
As for the finances of the site, Ivey is still the one putting in the big bucks.
“Phil has self-funded the mid-seven figures into the app and the training site long before I stepped in to help expand the business,” Fleyshman said.