Professional poker player Phil Ivey is being sued by an Atlantic City casino that alleges he cheated in order to win $9.6 million over the course of four baccarat sessions in 2012, the New Jersey Law Journal reports.
The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City has sued Ivey alleging that he read defects in the back of patterns printed on playing cards in a method called “edge sorting.”
The suit accuses Ivey of breach of contract, fraud, conversion, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy and racketeering, according to the report. It also names the card manufacturer — Gemaco Inc. of Blue Springs, Mo. — and Cheng Yin Sun, who accompanied Ivey on his trips to the Baccarat table and gave instructions to the dealer.
According to the suit, Ivey contacted the Borgata to set up special arrangements for a baccarat game in 2012. He asked for a private pit, dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese so Sun could give the dealer instructions, and an automatic card shuffler. The casino believes the shuffler is key because it keeps all the cards facing the same direction.
The suit says Ivey won:
– $2.4 million on April 11, 2012
– $1.6 million on May 3, 2012
– $4.8 million on July 26, 2012
– $824,000 on Oct. 7, 2012
The suit says Ivey was up by as much as $3.5 million during the October session, but they believe he may have intentionally dumped after being confronted with reports from the hotel that he used the edge sorting method to win around $12 million at a London casino.
We covered a similar story back in Oct. 2012 when word emerged that Ivey was denied a payout by the London casino. It was revealed a year later that Ivey was using the “edge sorting” method to cash in.
Ivey supposedly claimed that he wanted his special conditions at the Borgata because he was superstitious, but they believe he was just requesting those conditions to maximize his ability to read the cards and manipulate the situation.
Ivey asked for the money to be deposited into his bank account in Mexico, where he lives.
Does the casino have a case here?
Borgata is trying to claim that Ivey broke a law that bans the use of marked cards inside a casino. They also supposedly are claiming that the automatic shuffler was used as a cheating device.
It’s pretty clear that Ivey was setting up these casinos because he found a way to exploit the system. Should he be forced to give the money because he was smart enough to exploit something he discovered? It doesn’t seem like that would be right, though he seemed to rig things in order to win.
I think the most fair option would be a settlement for a much smaller amount, which would be an acknowledgment that Ivey was smarter than the casinos, but still used some unsavory methods in order to take that much cash. Had he won much less, he probably would have escaped without an issue. Maybe that’s the penalty for being too greedy.