The Daily Mail reports, complete with an illustration, that the secret to Ivey’s success was reading asymmetrical patterns on the back of the playing cards during the high stakes game of punto banco last August.
During the game, each player draws two or three cards in an attempt to achieve a sum total closer to nine than the dealer. In a normal situation, the game is designed to be completely unpredictable, entirely contingent on the luck of the draw.
Ivey had a rollercoaster night, dropping $500,000 before eventually going on a ‘heater’ to win over $12 milion intotal winnings.
Crocksfords claim that Ivey was able to spot tiny imperfections in the ards, using this knowledge to identify when cards of a certain value were in play.
“I was given a receipt for my winnings, but Crockfords has withheld payment,” Ivey said in a statement. “I have no alternative but to take legal action.”
Ivey enjoys a great reputation amongst poker players World wide. Gambling pundit Lance Bradley of Bluff Magazine described Ivey’s reputation to ABC News last October.
“There’s nothing in his past that would hint at his being a cheater or unethical in any way,” Bradley said. “People say he’s arguably the best poker player in the world; but, really, there’s no argument: He’s number one. He’s known both for his skill and for his love of high-stakes games. He loves anything where there’s some sexiness at stake.”
Crockfords isn’t backing down. The casino has enlisted fraud prevention specialists to study the footage of Ivey’s night.
According to the Daily Mail, Crockfords believes that Ivey’s mystery companion, who is banned from at least two casinos around the world, was also able to spot the imperfections and helped Ivey place his bets. During the game, she is said to have instructed the croupier to rotate the cards 180 degrees before dealing them, claiming it was because Ivey was superstitious, but in reality, Crockfords suggests, to allow him to read the patterns on the back easier.