Ten-time WSOP champ Phil Ivey will have a new day in a London appeals court on Wednesday, April 13 over a lower court’s 2014 ruling in the edge sorting case in which Crockfords Casino won a £7.8 million judgment.
Ivey, considered to be one of the world’s best poker players and a likely shoo-in for Poker Hall of Fame induction later this year, got into legal wrangling with the casino when his winnings at the baccarat table in 2012 were not honored. Ivey admitted that he and his companion, Cheung Yin Sun, took advantage of special privileges awarded to high rollers of his caliber while winning millions.
Advantage Play, Not Cheating
Ivey and Sun employed a technique known as edge sorting in which the imperfections on the designs on the backsides of playing cards are noted in order to determine the values of the same cards in subsequent hands dealt. The card defects occur during the manufacturing process.
Part of the success at edge sorting requires the dealer to turn some of the cards 180 degrees to establish uniformity, as well as to keep the same deck of cards in play. Requests of that nature made by Ivey and Sun under the guise of superstition were granted due to the poker pro’s status as a high stakes gambler.
Case Sorted Into Redo Pile
A London High Court gave the edge to Crockfords parent company Genting Casinos one and a half years ago, ruling that the actions of Ivey and Sun were tantamout to “cheating.” Ivey was, however, commended for his honesty as a “truthful witness.”
After Ivey and his co-plaintiff appealed, Court of Appeals Judge Lord Justice Lewison found merit in their argument, believing that Ivey and Sun raised “an important question of law and have a real prospect of success.” At 10:00 a.m. on April 13, Ivey will put his cards on the table and aim to make that potential success a reality.
“It is not in my nature to cheat, which is why I was so bitterly disappointed by the judge’s  decision, even though he said that I was a truthful witness and that he was sure that I didn’t believe that what I was doing was cheating,” Ivey stated. The Tiger Woods of Poker added that the Court of Appeal’s ruling allowing the case to be reheard “is quite simply the best news I’ve had” since he and Sun walked out of the casino in August 2012 believing that their £7.8 million in winnings would be paid.
New Jersey Rerun
Still to be decided is a similar case in the state of New Jersey where Ivey and Sun employed the same edge sorting tactics to win almost $10 million from the Borgata in Atlantic City. That case differs in the fact that the edge sorters received their winnings, leading Borgata to take on the role of plaintiff.
In the New Jersey case, Ivey contends that the casino uses advantages of its own to distract gamblers. Plying him with plenty of alcohol and employing attractive and flirtatious cocktail waitresses who are dressed provocatively are some of the obstacles that Ivey claims to be up against while betting millions on the baccarat tables.