4 days, 3 nights and $1 million

This article appears in the Nov. 2 issue of ESPN The Magazine

Phil Ivey is the best poker player in the world. This is a statement of fact, undisputed by anyone who would be considered the best poker player in the world if not for Phil Ivey. And poker players -- at least the best of them -- credit their success to an ability to live in the moment. What is the one move that this situation demands? Call. Check. Raise. Fold. They do not, cannot, consider the stakes or the consequences. The best poker move is the best poker move, and each decision reveals a truth about the player who makes it. "That's why this is the greatest game," Ivey says. "Every day that I play, I learn -- about it and myself."

Given that poker players live in the moment, and given that the 32-year-old Ivey is the best player in the world, the following statement should also be true: Phil Ivey is as good as anyone at living in the moment.

I set out to prove it.

The Mag asked me to peek into Ivey's life in advance of his sitting at the final table of the World Series of Poker, beginning Nov. 7. And on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 5 p.m. I got a call from Phil's manager, Chris "Gotti" Lorenzo, better known as the co-founder, with brother Irv, of hip-hop label The Inc. "Tomorrow, Phil is taking his jet from Los Angeles to Connecticut, then to Montreal and Austria, to do some gambling," Lorenzo told me. "Shoot me your passport number if you can go."

I did.

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