We all know Phil Ivey as a stellar poker player with an aptitude for high roller tables. However, off the felt, phil Ivey is also an accomplished business man. However, if you are an ardent fan of his, you are obviously aware of his run-ins with the law. A few years back, Ivey – together with Cheung Yung Sun, won almost $20m in Punto banco and Baccarat. However, ever since, it has not been a smooth ride for the duo. What followed is a long-running court battle pitting Phil Ivey against Borgata and Crockfords Casinos.
The unlucky Phil Ivey
In almost all rulings, Ivey has always found himself on the other side of the fence. In 2016, together with his co-defendant, they lost a civil case where Borgata casino had alleged that the two players had swindled the casino out of millions in 2012. To that end, the poker pros were instructed to pay millions to the casino.
In the recent ruling, a New Jersey District Court ruled against the stay motion that was filed by Ivey’s lawyers. This means that unless Ivey files a final appeal, he will have to pay $10.1M to Borgata Casino. This begs the question, is Phil Ivey about to lose the biggest pot in his life?
Was it legal or illegal?
Although the courts and Borgata believe that what Phil Ivey did was illegal, the poker community has been torn right in the middle. In my own opinion, I don’t think Phil and Yung Sun broke any law; the terms were already discussed beforehand and the casino agreed. Therefore, the casino knowingly gave Phil Ivey the edge which gave him the upper hand rendering the adage “the house always wins” useless. If anyone was at fault, it should be the table manager and not the players.
Even though cheating is illegal in any casino, land-based or online, I don’t think Phil Ivey cheated. However, Phil Ivey has never denied the edge-sorting allegations and his defense has always been the fact that the casino “accepted his gameplay terms and conditions”.
Interestingly, the casino even agreed to use a specific deck of cards.
The courts, however, didn’t agree with this logic and ordered Ivey to return the $10m he won. He is yet to pay even a dime. Probably, before 30 days lapses, he will file another appeal and hopefully, he will win this one.
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