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Phil Ivey Loses Court Battle Over $10.2 Million of Winnings in London

Written By: Maya Michaels | November 1, 2017 | Posted In Poker News

Phil Ivey, one of the world’s leading poker players, lost his case in the UK Supreme Court to recover $10.2 of his winnings from a London Casino.

Back in 2012, Ivey played a card game Baccarat known as Punto Banco at Crockfords Club in Mayfair and won. The owner Genting Casinos UK said that he used a technique called “edge-sorting” that is not a legitimate strategy and refused to pay him out.

Edge-sorting is a technique that involves identifying small differences in the pattern of the back of the playing cards and exploiting that information to increase the chances of winning. Ivey didn’t personally touch the cards but tricked the croupier to rotate the most valuable cards under the pretext he was superstitious. This allows player to increase a chance of winning by getting the cards already played arranged in such a way that when a next card emerges, the gambler knows whether they are of a high or low value.

The croupier thought this was irrelevant, but in a game, which depends on random delivery of unknown cards, and judging by the Supreme Court’s decision, this is inevitably cheating. Ivey admitted that he noticed small irregularities on the back of the cards but that his win should be upheld as he just “exploited casino’s failure to protect itself from the player of his caliber”. Phil thought that it was a legitimate “advantage play” and after the final decision he said that the court has no experience or understanding of casinos.

Ivey, a 40-year-old American poker player, is a 10-time winner of the World Series of Poker and is often referred to as “Tiger Woods of Poker”. He earned more than $23 million during his gambling career. He pursued this case because, being a professional player, his integrity is everything to him.

In the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Arden said the Gambling Act from 2005 provided that someone may cheat “without dishonesty or intention to deceive, depending on the circumstances it may be enough that he simply interferes with the process of the game” and that’s exactly what Phil Ivey did in this case.

Anthony Hughes, Supreme Court Judge explained that the integrity of the game Punto Banco baccarat depends on the cards being dealt at random, without gamblers knowing their face value and that what Ivey did was a “staged a carefully planned and executed sting”.

Paul Willcock of Genting UK, said: “We are delighted that the High Court, the Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court have all found in Genting’s favor, confirming that we acted fairly and properly at all times and that Mr Ivey’s conduct did indeed amount to cheating.”

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