Borgata’s Lawsuit Against Phil IveyFriday, April 18th, 2014 by Ryan
Phil Ivey is one of the biggest names in poker, and his name is back in the
news. This time though, it’s not for winning a big time tournament or
taking home a huge chunk of cash at the cash game tables. Instead, Ivey is
being sued by the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. The lawsuit
was filed this past week, as the casino is seeking reimbursement of a total
of $9.626 million in winnings that he brought in while playing at a
baccarat table. The wins came over four different sessions and were back
in 2012. Borgata filed a complaint that is close to 60 pages long, and
they said that Ivey was using something called “edge sorting.” Edge
sorting is apparently a technique where Ivey was able to spot very small
variations in the pattern that is printed on the backside of the cards.
Ivey isn’t the only one who’s named in the lawsuit either, as Gemaco Inc,
the designer of the cards is also named. To top it off, Ivey’s partner is
also listed in the lawsuit. His partner who was there was Cheng Yin Sun,
and he was with Ivey at the table giving instructions to the dealer. The
charges that are filed in the lawsuit including things such as
racketeering, breach of contract, conversion, fraud, civil conspiracy, and
unjust enrichment. The whole thing is pretty messy, and Borgata’s entire
complaint features a lot of different details in it.
A few of the details that you’ll find in the complaint that the casino put
out include everything about Ivey’s arranged visit to Borgata. He
apparently negotiated some special arrangements to play baccarat at the
casino due to “his notoriety as a high-stakes gambler.” The requested
arrangements from Ivey included things like his agreement to wire $1
million to Borgata, the fact that he’d get a maximum bet of $50,000 per
hand, and that he’d have his own pit. Aside from that he got to have a
dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese, could have a guest sit at the table with
him, and there would be one eight-deck shoe of purple Gemaco Borgata
playing cards that would be used through the entire time that he played.
He also had it added in that there would be an automatic shuffler used on
these cards. His reasoning behind these requests were under the pretext
that he was superstitious.
The complaint stated that “Ivey misrepresented his motive, intention and
purpose”, and they also said that he “did not communicate the true reason
for his requests to Borgata at any relevant time.” They stated that Ivey
was going to “surreptitiously manipulate what he knew to be a defect in the
playing cards in order to gain an unfair advantage over Borgata.” It also
says that Borgata was not aware of the defect in the cards or of Ivey’s
Ivey has made a ton of money playing baccarat, which included $2.416
million on April 11th, $1.597 million in May while playing for 56 hours
with an average bet of $36,000 per hand. After that point, he set up a
time to come in July and got the maximum bet raised to $100,000 per hand.
With that increase in bet size, he won $4.787 million over a 17 hour
session at the end of July with an average bet size of $89,000. In October
he brought in $824,900 with a betting average of $93,800, and he actually
had a point during play there that he was up around $3.5 million.
If you’ve read up on the poker news recently relating to Ivey, you’ll see
that he’s also in the midst of a big legal battle with the Crockfords
Casino. He sued them back in May for holding around $12 million from him
while he was playing Punto Banco, which is a type of baccarat. Crockfords
is also claiming that Ivey used edge sorting as well. As a matter of fact,
in the lawsuit from Borgata, they mention the situation with Crockfords and
Phil Ivey. Both of these are going to be intriguing to see how they play
out, and which way the rulings go.