Phil Ivey will not be able to get his hands on his winnings at the 2019 World Series of Summer (WSOP) this summer. The US Marshals Service confiscated his winnings in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship worth $124,410 as part of his on-going legal battle against the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Borgata Legal Battle
Ivey’s dispute with the Atlantic City casino stems from a 2012 high-stakes baccarat session where the poker pro and his partner Kelly Cheng Yin Sun used a technique called “edge sorting” to beat Borgata out of $9.6 million. The technique gave them a small edge as it enabled them to spot defects on the back of cards. The strategy also allowed them to purposely change the appearance of cards during regular gameplay to their advantage.
Ivey admitted he used the technique not only in Borgata but also Crockfords in London, but the player defended his act and blamed the casinos for making use of flawed cards.
Borgata sued Ivey for over $13 million and the judge ruled against Ivey and ordered him to return $10.1 million to the casino.
Ivey’s Empty Bank Account
Recouping its money from the American poker pro proved to be a tedious task for the Borgata, with its legal team claiming that Ivey transferred his winnings to a bank account in Mexico. They found a Wells Fargo account in Ivey’s name but it did not contain any money.
This forced the Borgata to file a motion to chase Ivey’s assets outside of New Jersey. Borgata then tracked down the player’s assets in Nevada after receiving the green light from the courts. However, prior to the 2019 WSOP, Borgata’s legal team was never able to get back any of the money they were owed.
Ivey is among one of the most successful poker players in recent history. While he is widely considered the richest poker player to ever come from New Jersey, it’s presumed that most of his wealth is currently not in the US, but located in banks outside the country.
2019 WSOP Winnings Seized
Upon learning that Ivey was running good in the Poker Players Championship, Jeremy Klausner, lawyer for Borgata, notified the WSOP top brass that they successfully obtained a writ of execution against the New Jersey native for his winnings and an additional accrued interest worth $214,518. There had been no confirmation on whether or not the WSOP withheld Ivey’s winnings until last week.
Ivey Unlikely to Play US Tournaments
It’s now understood that Ivey is unlikely to take part in any future poker tournaments in the US due to the ongoing Borgata standoff. Continuing to play on the American soil would mean Ivey would need to earn around $10 million in winnings before he can start withdrawing any of those winnings into his own bank account. Prior to his legal dispute with the Borgata, Ivey was rarely seen in US tournaments, except for the WSOP. His final major US tournament record outside of the WSOP was a 9th-place finish in the NBC Heads-Up Championship back in 2013.
It remains to be seen whether Ivey can pull off $10 million in total cashes at the WSOP as this feat is quite difficult to achieve. To date, only 13 players was able to win at least $10 million at the WSOP – each of them either triumphed in the Main Event or ran deep in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop. Phil Hellmuth is currently the only player in the $10 million group who never won a Main Event following the Moneymaker era.
Ivey’s impressive resume includes 67 cashes and 10 titles at the world’s longest-running festival, but all in all, his total WSOP earnings falls short of the $7 million mark. The NJ native is considered among the best and poker pros in the world and made a name for himself during the poker boom where he reportedly received around $920,000 per month from the now-defunct online poker platform Full Tilt Poker. Ivey’s overall tournament earnings currently sit at more than $26 million.
Ivey currently holding the 14th spot on the all-time money list but it is highly unlikely that the poker pro will pay back the Borgata out of his own pocket. This most likely means that he will not take part in US based poker tournaments and continue to play mostly in Asia.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

Subscriber