International live and online poker ace Phil Ivey again faces a legal tussle with a land casino – this time in the United States – following the federal filing of litigation by Atlantic City’s Borgata land casino, which alleges that the famous poker pro and a Mandarin-speaking associate exploited a defect in cards that enabled them to sort and arrange good cards in baccarat, thus cheating the casino.
Ivey faced a similar situation in the UK mid-2012 when he tangled with the Mayfair club Crockfords, suing them for GBP 7.8 million in baccarat winnings withheld from him because the casino believed that exploiting asymmetrical pattern differences on the rear of cards that are the result of mistakes made during the manufacturing process – so called ‘edge-sorting’ – was cheating. That case is still pending. (see previous reports).
The Borgata claim alleges that the casino was prejudiced to the tune of $9.6 million over four occasions between April and October 2012. Ivey allegedly wagered between $25,000 and $100,000 a hand at the table during the transactions.
The casino claims that Ivey and his associate used edge sorting to gain an unfair advantage, a practice which violates New Jersey casino gambling regulations.
The imperfect cards were reportedly made by Gemaco Inc., a Kansas City manufacturer, and have rows of small white circles designed to look like the tops of cut diamonds; the Borgata claims some of them were only a half diamond or a quarter of one on the cards used.
Gemaco, which has declined to comment, is also fighting a lawsuit from another Atlantic City casino, the Golden Nugget, claiming the firm provided unshuffled cards that led to gamblers beating the casino for $1.5 million.
Approached by the Associated Press for a comment, Borgata senior vice president, Joe Lupo, declined to do so, as did Ivey’s legal representative.
Ivey has won nine World Series of Poker individual champion gold bracelets and has earned more than $19 million in tournament poker winnings in an outstanding online and live playing career.