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A new pleading was filed in the edge sorting case between the Borgata and Phil Ivey last week as the casino admitted that the eight decks of Gemaco playing cards used in 2012 when the poker pro and his companion won more than $9 million at the baccarat tables were likely destroyed.

The admission was made by the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in its response to a countersuit filed by Ivey in July in which the 10-time WSOP champion requested compensation for damages and that the entire case be dismissed, AP reported. Ivey’s countersuit came about after the Borgata in Atlantic City filed a complaint in 2014 over allegations that Ivey and co-defendant Cheng Yin Sun violated New Jersey gambling laws by employing the art of edge sorting during a handful of winning sessions at the casino.

Ivey and Sun collected $9.6 million in winnings playing baccarat after the casino adhered to requests made by the pair – requests that are apparently routinely granted to high rollers. The gamblers asked for a particular brand and color of playing cards, a Mandarin-speaking dealer to communicate with Sun, a private baccarat table, and the use of an automatic shuffler.

Can’t Keep Used Cards Forever

The Borgata claims that playing cards used in casino action are routinely destroyed or disposed of in various ways. The decks are sometimes given to customers, sold in gift shops, or donated to worthy causes.

A basis of Ivey’s countersuit is that he and Sun cannot defend themselves adequately when the playing cards at the center of the controversy have been destroyed. But the Borgata points to its normal business practices as its defense, stating that the playing cards were likely disposed of before the edge sorting scheme came to light.

Ivey also claimed that the casino knew that some decks of the Gemaco playing cards were mis-cut, meaning that the backsides were imperfect and allowed astute players to use that to their advantage. The designs on the back were not uniform, and once Ivey and Sun identified a particular card’s value, they asked it to be placed in the shuffler a certain way in order to know whether or not that card was favorable when it came up again in subsequent hands dealt.

A Very Accommodating Baccarat Dealer

The Mandarin-speaking dealer granted Ivey and Sun’s requests when asked to place the cards one way or another. The defendants never touched the playing cards.

The Borgata admitted that some decks were far from perfect in symmetry on the backsides, yet allowed to be put into play by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. But the casino contends that Ivey’s countersuit has no merit because the defendants’ own conduct is to blame for any injury suffered, nullifying the request for compensatory damages and the dismissal of the original complaint.

Ivey claims to have used a legitimate strategy as a high roller in winning almost $10 million, merely playing the game to the best of his ability with whatever information was available.

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.

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