Michele, no offense hun, but you couldn't be more wrong about Ivey. He is not one for self promotion so you don't see or hear about his wins normally. And sure, he comes in second and third a LOT, but with the explosion in the size of these feilds, that's as good as first was just a year ago. The last WSOP he busted out on a bad, BAD, beat that if he would have won, would have been in a great chip position. He has 5 WSOP bracelets, and he is rather young. If he continues playing like this he will have more than Chan's 10 or Hellmuth's and Brunsons 9. One of those five bracelets came this year, just a few days ago.
Aside from all this, Ivey is killing the "big game" on a consistant basis. I'm not sure you have done much reading about the big game (because reading is the only way to hear about it as it is not advertised, nor publicised) but it is a game that only a few pros have the money to play in, and even fewer of them actually have the skills to do so. Ivey is one of them. Allong with the likes of Doyle and Todd Brunson, Barry Greenstein, David "Chip" Reese, and various stragglers that aren't consistant winners (read: Gus Hansen). When any pro is asked about the best poker player and who they are, Ivey is usually at the top or on top of their list. He is as close to a perfect all around player as there is right now. As far as him being scared to push, he plays almost nightly in the biggest cash game in the world, with his own money. A game in which the pots can be as large as half-million dollars. The buyin for these events he is supposedly scared during is at the most 25 grand (WPT World Championship), so at most assuming a finish on the bubble or lower, he is only out 25 grand. That is almost equal to one big bet in the limit cash games he plays. So I highly doubt fear plays a part. The guy has icewater in his veins.
Another noch in Ivey's belt which solidifies his rank among the greats was NBC's Poker Superstars Invitational. 8 players chosen; Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Barry Greenstein, Chip Reese, Howard Lederer, TJ Cluotier, Gus Hansen, and Phil Ivey. He finished second to Hansen, who coincidentally he knocks dead in the big game. Hansen even admitted this himself in a live webchat, saying that "I will return to the big game, I just have to take some time off to lick my wounds."
So, yes. Phil Ivey is one of the best, if not the best player (all around) in the world right now. You don't hear as much about him as many other players because he shys away from all the big publicity. It is widely known that Ivey has turned down millions in enborsement deals speciffically for this reason. I belive the only one he has signed was with FullTilt poker.