Phil Ivey Crockfords Lawsuit Underway

Phil Ivey Crockfords Lawsuit Underway

Poker Star Phil Ivey’s Lawsuit against the prestigious Crockfords casino in London recently got underway.

As reported on Casino Daily News before, Ivey had been accused of employing edge sorting as a way of cheating, during a marathon high stakes Baccarat session which saw him net £7.3m for himself.

Following their own accusations, Crockford’s refused to honor the winnings, returning instead Ivey’s total stake of £1m.

Now the case is being heard in London’s High Court (see picture - though why are you smiling Phil, you haven’t won yet?).

Ivey for his part states that the strategy is not cheating as such (he had previously denied using edge sorting, which exploits irregularities in the patterns printed on the back of decks of cards, together with an accomplice) and is a legitimate way to gain an advantage.

Certainly it’s a gray area — there have been previous notable cases where the courts have come down in favor of players who exploited weaknesses in a casino’s operations, for instance in the case of defective Roulette wheels which are biased towards certain numbers.

It also seems Ivey has tested the waters with the method, on Punto Banco Baccarat, albeit in a different jurisdiction — this time at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City (a casino which has been taken for a ride by other canny gamers, most notably Don Johnson in his legendary BlackJack cleanouts).

That case is also undecided at the time of writing — the Borgata paid Ivey his winnings of $9.6m but is now suing for the return of the money.

Ultimately 2 things are salient here.

First, Ivey doesn’t need the money. He’s a ten times WSOP winner and worth millions. However, as Poker is his main pursuit, he needs to maintain his reputation and credibility — cheat on the pro Poker circuit and you’re pretty much done for, although a victory in these cases will no doubt psychologically work to Ivey’s advantage.

Second, it will be interesting to see if there’s any clarification of what constitutes cheating and what does not, after the Crockfords and Borgata cases are resolved.

If Ivey is cleared, no doubt others will want to follow in his wake and the casinos will need to be extra-vigilant (as if they are not that already!).

Incidentally, the Borgata is suing Gemaco, the manufacturer of the cards used at both casinos.

We will bring you more news of this case as it unfolds…