Phil Ivey is one of the greatest poker players in the history of the game but his reputation has been tarnished in recent times by allegations made by the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City that he is a cheat. Ivey and his poker buddy Cheng Yin Sun visited the casino on a number of occasions between 2012 and 2014 to play baccarat, a popular card game with Asian players.
The Borgata stated that Ivey and Sun resorted to ‘edge sorting’, a process of using marked cards to gain an advantage over the casino. Ivey and Sun won close to $10 million dollars during this 10 year period and the Borgata believes that this money should be returned as Ivey and his partner cheated the casino.
Ivey countered the claims with a lawsuit of his own stating that they did not cheat but instead used their skills to exploit a loophole with the casino. The poker pro admitted to using edge sorting but stated that the casino was aware of what they were doing. The legal tussle between Ivey and the Borgata played out in the courts and in the media as Ivey is one of the most high profile poker players of all time with 10 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and more than $20 million in career prize money.
U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman ruled on the matter and cleared Ivey of all fraudulent allegations but stated that he had violated the New Jersey Casino Control Act by resorting to edge sorting. The judge has given the casino a period of 20 days to ascertain the extent of damages it suffered due to Ivey breaching the state’s casino act. In a statement, Justice Hillman said “What sets Ivey and Sun’s actions apart from deceitful maneuvers in other games is that those maneuvers broke the rules of gambling as defined in this state. Borgata and Ivey had the same goal when they entered into their arrangement: to profit at the other’s expense. Trust is a misplaced sentiment in this context.”
Ivey was also accused by the Crockfords casino in London, England of resorting to edge sorting during 2013 to win more than $12 million playing a card game that was similar to baccarat. Ivey once again denied those allegations but a London High Court ruled in favor of the casino who wasn’t willing to play Ivey the $12 million he won.