Phil Ivey, Borgata Argue over $10m from flawed-card game

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Borgata's logo against a background of Phil Ivey.

One of the better-known names in poker did a return in the high-tier poker tournaments this year. However, this may now be used against him. Phil Ivey is caught in a legal battle over his love for poker and a bit of a controversial 2012 Baccarat binge he had with his partner Yin Sun.

Atlantic City’s largest active operator, Borgata, have been arguing that Ivey has to honor a $10.1 million judgment dating back to 2016. The judgement is presently pending an appeal, with Ivey’s legal team arguing that the $10.1 million sentencing is too hefty for him to meet right away.

Elaborating on their defense, the lawyers are also arguing that Borgata can easily wait on any delay in the motion, citing the operator’s financial means. Conversely, the lawyers for the casinos are arguing the opposite, stating that they are in fact inflicted financial damage by Ivey’s unwillingness to honor the ruling.

Why the Commotion?

Phil Ivey’s legal troubles started when he met Yin Sun and decided to join a 2012 Baccarat bonanza. According to Borgata, Ivey and Sun used a defect in the cards to benefit a practise known as “edge sorting,” allowing the pair to spot a flaw in the marking of the cards and negate the house edge completely, tilting the balance back in their favor.

And the pair were largely successful. In fact, they quickly amassed $9.6 million in winnings, which, of course, made the casino utterly suspicious of their operations and quickly had them look into the case. The exact sum is only $10.1 million, because Ivey won some additional funds playing Craps, another popular casino game.

Ivey’s defense is not without merit, though. Rather than saying that he cheated, he argues that he used skill to simply outwit the casino providing himself with a distinct advantage given the circumstances. Ivey is by no way obliged to report any oversight of the casino.

Borgata are also claiming that Ivey didn’t just win, but hid their money, salting away the $10 million. On top of that another $12 million of Ivey’s money have been confiscated. He won the proceedings at Crockford Casinos, which publicly announced it wouldn’t be paying Ivey his winnings because he had been breaking the rules of the game to enrich himself. He then lost a case in a top court in the United Kingdom, which ruled in favor of Crockford.

Borgata the Reputable

Even if Borgata have been caught in an unpleasant litigation, the case has not turned into a game of muck flinging. Quite to the contrary, in fact. Borgata is simply trying to reclaim the $10 million the casino deems its own property.

In the meanwhile, with the battle continuing in court, the casino has not allowed itself to sully the reputation of Ivey, arguing that he’s one of the top-earning players and more than that – he has no trouble to break into tournaments, which have low buyouts, especially for someone of his rank. All Borgata wants, the legal team claimed, was for Ivey to return the $10 million, which bears no delay.

Meanwhile, Ivey is pressing on with his poker successes. He has won nearly $2 million in the summer alone, reaffirming his position as one of the most accomplished players in history, rivalling the likes of Justin Bonomo himself.

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