After years of controversy between poker ace Phil Ivey and the Borgata, Atlantic City, a settlement has been reached. The MGM-owned casino in Atlantic City was embroiled in a bitter dispute with poker superstar, Phil Ivey who reputedly used underhanded techniques known as edge-sorting to gain the advantage over the Borgata in 2012. Phil Ivey and fellow cardplayer Cheung Yin Sun a.k.a. Kelly were caught red-handed, with an illegal practice known as edge sorting.
Ivey and Sun Reap the Rewards of Edge Sorting in Baccarat
That was never in dispute at the casino, after Ivey and Sun amassed $9.6 million from the Borgata, Atlantic City. This time around, the name of the game was baccarat, not poker – Ivey’s personal favorite. It wasn’t the only time that the pair attempted to cheat a casino out of millions – the same thing happened at London’s Crockford’s Casino.
Unfortunately for Ivey, that establishment refused to pay the £7.8 million in ill-begotten gains, and Ivey filed suit against them. He lost the case.
Court Ruling for Ill-Begotten Gains Plus Damages
Documents filed on Thursday, July 2, 2020 by the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit confirmed the rumors. The Borgata and Ivey had settled on a figure of $10.1 million. The $9.6 million illegally won by Ivey and Kelly was to be paid back in full, plus $504,000 in damages.
The ruling came as a blow to Ivey who was determined to get the matter dismissed. Legal experts anticipated that Ivey may be able to have the charges dropped on appeal, but the US Court of Appeals had other designs. The multi-bracelet winning WSOP Champion, Phil Ivey was engaged in negotiations with the Borgata in September 2019. Court mediators brokered an agreement between the parties, and this came to fruition in early July 2020.
Phil Ivey and Cheung Yin Sun got the better of the Borgata, Atlantic City in 2012 while playing high-stakes baccarat. Once the casino verified that Ivey and Sun were cheating with edge sorting, they proceeded to build a legal case against the pair. Throughout, Phil Ivey was dismissive of the charges being brought against him, and had taken the issue on appeal. The card players then contacted the Borgata casino management in April of this year, requesting a private baccarat table, a card machine with an 8-deck of Gemaco cards, and a dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese.
An automatic card shuffling machine was requested and used. The Borgata required that Ivey deposit $1 million directly with the casino. He complied. Unfortunately for Ivey, he made a point of insisting that the dealer maneuver the cards in a specific way. It was this self-same technique that allowed him to win millions of dollars over the course of 4 days from the casino, back in 2012.
Borgata Wanted $15.6M in Damages in 2014
This edge-sorting technique allows card players to gain an unfair advantage over the house. By knowing the hidden cards (hole cards) ahead of time, Ivey and Sun were able to recall values based on design discrepancies on the back of the cards. The Borgata initially requested a total of $15.6 million in damages from Ivey in 2014. That included millions of dollars in legal fees, several hundred thousand dollars in casino comps, and a figure of $5.4 million which the casino believed it could have won from Ivey and Sun, had they not cheated.
Ivey’s legal team countered, and the can was kicked down the road. Another legal proceeding was brought to the courts in 2018. The Borgata attempted to gain legal permission to appropriate Phil Ivey’s holdings in the Silver State, Nevada. The casino got its wish in February 2019. Ivey competed in the 2019 World Series of Poker, cashing 4 times for $133,398, and finishing at #8 position with $124,410 at the $50K Poker Players Championship. Once the series ended, those winnings were seized by the Borgata. The US Marshals Service claimed the money and forwarded it to the Borgata in Atlantic City.
An Excellent Poker Pedigree
Phil Ivey, a 10-time WSOP bracelet winner has told live earnings of $30,311,759, a best live cash of $3,582,753, and an all-time money list ranking of #11. His wealth is estimated at $100 million, largely from professional poker player, sponsorship endorsements with leading online poker rooms, and other high-stakes gambling activity. In 2020, Phil Ivey is ranked at #113, with a USA National Rank of #62.