Judge Rules Phil Ivey Cheated to Win $12.3 Million

A London High Court ruling says that Phil Ivey intentionally cheated to win $12.3 million at a London casino. Crockford’s Casino was the site of an especially successful night of Punto Banco for Mister Ivey and his female associate back in 2012. Betting hands as high as £150,000 ($241,000), Ivey overcame a few big losses at first to leave the table with over £7.7 million in winnings. But just because he was leaving the table did not mean that he would be taking his profits with him. After making, and receiving, several odd requests concerning the cards he would play with and how they would be dealt, Ivey pulled off the impressive victory. Crockford’s cried foul, refused to pay, and a lawsuit was filed.

Judge Rules Ivey Created “An Advantage” Which is Illegal

Just recently Mister Ivey learned the results of Judge John Mitting’s ruling. The popular young multimillionaire poker pro can be happy that he does not live in the wild west days of casino gambling. Instead of getting thrown in jail or worse, the judge ruled Crockford’s Casino simply got to keep their money as reported by BBC and other news outlets. The specific wording he used when announcing his verdict was that Phil Ivey intentionally created a situation where he would receive ” … an advantage which the game precludes. This is in my view cheating.” The practice of edge shorting is what the judge referred to, commonly considered an illegal practice by casinos and card rooms.

Phil Ivey Believes He Used a “Legitimate Strategy”

Kansas City, Missouri card manufacturer Gemaco was also named in the Crockford Casino lawsuit as liable. Edge sorting involves benefiting from discrepancies in the way that playing card companies manufacture a particular set of cards. Depending upon which side edge of a high card of a particular Gemaco deck you are viewing, it is sometimes possible to tell high cards from low cards. Punto Banco is a game where the object is to try to reach as close as possible to 9 total points, so being able to successfully predict whether the next card is high or low can be extremely profitable. Mister Ivey expressed disappointment over the high court’s ruling. His prepared statement reads as follows:

“I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy and we did nothing more than exploit Crockfords’ failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability.”

New Jersey Borgata Sues Ivey for $9.6 Million Over Punto Banco Edge Sorting Claim As Well

In the successful poker professional’s mind, the casino is the opponent. And if they in any way “show their hand” during a game, it is his right and duty to take full advantage. However, casinos and poker rooms that have outlawed edge shorting view players practicing that particular tactic as equally as burglars who bypass your home security system to steal your money. Obviously this is something that would have to be done in person and would not be achieved through Atlantic City online poker or online casino gambling. They believe that just because the player can overcome the natural odds which all other players are offered, they should not arrange and then exploit a profitable set up. And that is exactly what happened when Ivey and his accomplice Cheng Yin Sun first requested a specific Gemaco brand of cards, and then asked that high cards be rotated 180 degrees in the card shoe. Ivey has also been sued by the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in New Jersey, over very similar accusations. Ivey won, and was paid, $9.6 million when he and his same partner from the Crockford’s episode used edge sorting over 4 different Punto Banco sessions, also in 2012.