Ivey Ordered to Repay $10.1m to Borgata for Edge Sorting
It hasn't been a very good month or two for poker legend Phil Ivey.
His results at the tables aside, which have been relatively quiet at least in terms of major tournaments, two judges have ruled against him in pending lawsuits.
The first, in late November, came from a British judge who denied his appeal for Crockfords Casino in London to pay him out the £7.8 million he "won" playing Punto Banco in 2012.
The latest snub came just last week when a US judge ordered him to pay $10.1m back the Borgata Resort and Casino in Atlantic City for a similar foray into Edge Sorting.
Edge Sorting is Not a Crime. Or Is It?
In case you've missed it, the cases against Ivey stem from two big sessions he played at both casinos over an extended period in 2012.
Along with a partner, Cheung Yin Sun, the two detected minute flaws in the back of the decks used for the Punto Banco games which allowed them to know when certain advantage cards were more likely to come out of the deck.
When the odds were favorable, they jacked up their bets and made a lot of money. They requested special dealers, asked to turn the cards a certain way so they could see the flaws and played several sessions to maximize their take.
At Crockfords in London, they won £7.8 million but the casino refused to pay out before they left, suspecting something was up. Ivey subsequently sued and lost his appeal.
At the Borgata, however, they were paid and the casino was the one that sued. After an extended legal back and forth, in which Ivey was charged with breach of contract rather than fraud or "cheating," a judge finally ruled Ivey did in fact have to repay his winnings.
The final payment number includes the winnings from the Baccarat tables along with some money won playing craps and at the poker tables. The $250,000 in comps they received, however, don't have to repaid.
"Lady Luck is like Nectar"
Ivey's lawyer, Ed Jacobs, was understandably upset with the ruling - particularly as Ivey was not convicted with any type of fraud and, he says, followed every rule of Baccarat.
“What this ruling says is a player is prohibited from combining his skill and intellect and visual acuity to beat the casino at its own game. The casino agreed to every single accommodation requested by Phil Ivey in his four visits because they were eager to try to win his money.”
The Judge disagreed:
“This case involves the whims of Lady Luck, who casts uncertainty on every hand, despite the house odds. Indeed, Lady Luck is like nectar to gamblers, because no one would otherwise play a game he knows he will always lose.”
As a result he was "voiding a contract that was tainted from the beginning and breached as soon as it was executed.”
The Borgata was originally seeking up to $15.5m in repayment from Ivey and Sun. Ivey has said he will appeal the decision again.