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President Obama and poker star Phil Ivey will help you with your NCAA Tourney picks

Mar 20, 2013, 12:02 PM EDT

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If you’re going to take advice on filling out your NCAA Basketball tournament office pool brackets, you might as well go to a couple of guys who play poker for a living: Phil Ivey and Barack Obama. What’s that, you say? Obama doesn’t play poker for a living? You clearly know nothing of politics. Anyway, both are here to help, and their full brackets are below. Plus we’ve got the latest Vegas odds.

To cut to the chase, Obama has chosen Indiana to win it all, with the Hoosiers meeting Louisville in the championship game. The President’s picks were released today by The White House and ESPN. Ivey, a big college hoops fan who is generally regarded as the best poker player in the world, has chosen Louisville as the national champion, with Florida as the runnerup.

Obama also gives Florida some love: he has them in his Final Four, along with Louisville, Ohio State and Indiana.

This may be good news for other teams in the field: over the past three tournaments, Obama has correctly chosen only two of 12 Final Four teams.

Ivey has won eight World Series of Poker bracelets and one World Poker Tour title. That last one, the 2008 LA Poker Classic, earned him $1.6 million. He recently founded

“Defense wins Championships,” Ivey told Off the Bench. “And from what I’ve seen this season, Louisville and Florida definitely have the best D in the country.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Las Vegas agrees with Ivey: Louisville is currently at 5-1 to win it all, according to Rounding out the Sin City Final Four are Indiana (8-1), Miami (8-1) and a tie between Duke, Florida and Kansas, all at 10-1. Gonzaga is next at 12-1.

President Obama’s picks:


Phil Ivey:


  1. lewp - Mar 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Geeze Louise, everytime I read about someone picking brackets, I’m compelled to make out another bracket. I have 4 brackets now in my pool, I wonder if they will let me slide another couple of brackets in?