Phil Ivey‘s alleged use of “edge-sorting” in Baccarat earned the nine-time WSOP bracelet winner almost $10 million in ill-gotten winnings according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Borgata Hotel & Casino.
The suit alleges Ivey and Cheng Yin Sun used the technique to defraud the Atlantic City casino of $9.6 million in 2012. This lawsuit comes less than one year after Ivey sued London casino Crockfords for withholding his winnings from two Punto Banco sessions.
The Borgata alleges that Ivey and Sun made multiple trips to the Borgata to play Baccarat and each time used Ivey’s high roller status to take advantage of the casino. The requests Ivey made, which the Borgata agreed to, included:
- a dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese
- 8-deck shoe of purple Gemaco Borgata playing cards
- automatic shuffler
“Ivey’s true motive, intention, and purpose in negotiating these playing arrangements was to create a situation in which he could surreptitiously manipulate what he knew to be a defect in the playing cards in order to gain an unfair advantage over Borgata,” the lawsuit states.
Also listed as co-defendants were playing card manufacturer Gemaco and a “Jane Doe”. The lawsuit alleges Gemaco and “Jane Doe” failed to properly inspect the playing cards prior to being delivered to Borgata and should have warned the casino about any possible defects. “The pattern used by Borgata on the back of the cards purchased from Gemaco is required to be perfectly symmetrical so that the back of one card is indistinguishable from the backs of all other cards, and the edges of each card are indistinguishable from one another.”
According to the lawsuit Ivey made four trips to the Atlantic City casino between April and October 2012. For the first two trips, in April and May, Ivey wired $1 million to the casino and agreed to play up to $50,000 per hand. For the final two trips, in July and October, Ivey increased his wired amount to $3 million and was allowed to bet up to $100,000 per hand.
The Four Trips:
- April 2012: Ivey played 16 hours, winning $2,416,000, with an average bet of $25,000.
- May 2012: Ivey played 56 hours, winning $1,597,000, with an average bet of $36,000.
- July 2012: Ivey played 17 hours, winning $4,787,700, with an average bet of $89,000.
- October 2012: Ivey played 18 hours, winning $824,900, with an average bet of $93,800.
It was during the fourth trip that the Crockfords case became public. According to the writ Ivey arrived at the Borgata on October 5 and told Borgata’s Executive Director of Relationship Marketing, Greg Kravitz, that he was tired from travelling and would not play that night and had plans the next day. On October 7, the same day the Crockfords case became news, Ivey played for 18 hours and was up $3.5 million at one point. The casino alleges he lost some of that amount back on purpose and ended up winning only $824,900.
“Before Ivey left Borgata on October 8, 2012, its Executive Director of Relationship Marketing, Greg Kravitz, asked Ivey about the October 7, 2012 report on the Crockfords’ incident,” according to the lawsuit. “Ivey stated that he did not want to talk about it, that he was disgusted with the situation, that he had done nothing wrong, and that he was going to sue Crockfords to recover his winnings. Ivey asked Kravitz if anyone else at Borgata was aware of the Crockfords incident and was told that other employees were aware of the report.”
In documents related to his lawsuit against Crockfords Ivey has admitted to “edge-sorting” but denied any wrongdoing. He has yet to comment on the Borgata lawsuit.