Phil Ivey, a professional poker player from America, has lost a £7.7 million court case in London. The Supreme Court ruled that he had cheated during a card game 5 years ago.
Who is Phil Ivey?
Phil Ivey is no stranger to the world of card games and gambling. He has been playing poker for a number of years and is regarded as one of the best players in the world. He has won 10 Poker Bracelets, the most coveted non-monetary prize, a poker player can win and in 2017, he was named in the Poker Hall of Fame.
5 years ago, Phil Ivey, was playing a card game named Punto Banco in Crockfords, an exclusive casino in Mayfair, London. This game is deemed to require no skill and is solely based around chance. Over a two day period at the London casino, Ivey amassed winnings of £7.7 million. However, the casino didn’t pay out. After looking into it, they concluded Ivey had been using underhand tactics called ‘edge sorting.’
What is Edge Sorting?
Edge sorting is a technique used in advantage gambling to differentiate between cards. Many packs of cards have accidental edge irregularities along the longer side of each card. This helps an intelligent player to differentiate between high and low cards. Therefore allowing the player to gain a statistical advantage over the house.
This method requires a lot of skill and persuading of the dealer to rotate certain cards, which they are not obliged to do. Players usually get the dealer to do this by saying that they’re superstitious for example.
This technique is seen by many casinos as cheating, however, many players think they are using a legitimate method to gain an advantage.
Phil Ivey Wins $9.6 Million
Before his huge winnings in the London casino, Ivey had also won big in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He had been using the same technique on a similar card game and amassed winnings of around $9.6 million. The casino paid out, however, 2 years later they filed a lawsuit against Ivey. In 2016, a federal judge ruled that Ivey had to forfeit his winnings back to the casino.
After his winnings at Crockfords were withheld, Ivey decided to file a lawsuit against the London casino. He admitted to using edge sorting. However, he argued that it was a legitimate advantage.
Initially the High Court ruled that edge sorting was ‘cheating for the purpose of civil law.’ Ivey appealed and the case moved onto The Supreme Court in London where they also ruled in favour of the casino. They said:
‘What Mr Ivey did was to stage a carefully planned and executed sting. That it was clever and skilful, and must have involved remarkably sharp eyes, cannot alter that truth.’
These losses won’t affect Phil Ivey too much. He is thought to have a net worth of around $100 million. Ivey wins a large number of tournaments each year meaning he takes a lot home in winnings. He is definitely a sure bet in a poker game.
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