Phil Ivey, Jim Ryan partner up for California Online Poker Operation

by Jeremy Olson

Nine-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Phil Ivey has signed on to be the face of a new California online poker brand called Pala Interactive. The new company is the brainchild of former Party Gaming CEO Jim Ryan and the Pala Band of Mission Indians. Pala Interactive is eagerly anticipating the legalization of online poker so that they can start offering games as soon as possible.

When/if Pala Interactive starts offering poker games, they’ll use Realtime Edge Software, which powers notable gaming companies like, GTECH, RocketFrog and ClubWPT.

As of now, the deal between Ryan and the Pala Band of Mission Indians is only for the state of California. However, there’s language in the contract that allows the two groups to extend their deals if the Golden State gets involved in intrastate poker. New Jersey and Nevada have already joined in such a venture with each other.

California lawmakers have debated the issue back and forth for years, with several proposals being made. None of these efforts have resulted in the legalization of online gaming; however, California is still considered one of the more tolerant states to the idea of internet poker.

Moving to Phil Ivey, the famed poker pro represented Full Tilt Poker up until April of 2011, when Black Friday struck. Shortly thereafter Full Tilt lost their license, and Ivey sued the company to recover money for the shares that he owned. Seeing as how FTP had little left to offer, Ivey’s lawsuit was unsuccessful.

Since that time, he’s been busy with his own site,, which offers poker training and play money games. Widely considered the best all-around poker player in the game today, Ivey should immediately bring brand recognition to Pala Interactive.