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Phil Ivey Being Sued by Borgata for $9.5 Million

The holder of nine WSOP bracelets and numerous other poker achievements, Phil Ivey has been finding himself lately more and more in the spotlight due to reasons totally unrelated to poker. His lawsuit against UK-based Crockfords Casino in 2012 is still in the works and awaiting resolution, but just recently Ivey found himself on the other side of the table in a nearly identical case.

Atlantic City’s Borgata is suing the poker legend to the tune of $9.6 million that he won in 2012 playing high stakes baccarat. As the 58-page long suit explains, Ivey came to Borgata in April, announcing his intention to play some baccarat, requesting special conditions to be met.

The casino said that Ivey requested a private pit, a dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese, one eight-deck shoe of purple Gemaco Borgata playing cards to be used for the entirety of each session, as well as an automatic card shuffling device to be used to shuffle the cards after each shoe was dealt. According to the complaint, Ivey said it was because he’s superstitious.

As the suit further explains, Phil Ivey did not disclose his true intentions, as his request had nothing to do with superstition. Instead, he had found a way to use a small card defect to his advantage and gain an edge over Borgata – the technique known as edge-sorting.

In the Crockford’s case, Ivey admitted to using the technique, claiming that what he has done does not constitute cheating but merely exploiting an edge the house presented him with. As for the Borgata suit, Ivey remained silent up to this point, but he will probably come out with a statement of some sort eventually. Interestingly enough, during his Borgata visit, the poker pro was accompanied by his lady-friend Cheng Yin Sun, and the Crockfords case mentions a female accomplice of Chinese origin as well.

At the same time, Borgata is also requesting judgment against Gemaco Inc, the playing card manufacturer, for  breach of contract, as they’ve delivered defective cards unsuitable for baccarat.

While he said nothing about the Borgata case in all of his previous statements, Ivey stayed adamant that what he has done could not be interpreted as cheating. He considers himself to be an edge player and managing to shift odds to his favor is simply finding an edge in the game.

Ivey’s Twitter account retweeted the link to an article explaining why Ivey’s play should not be considered cheating. Amongst other reasons, the article states that it wasn’t him or his partner who marked the cards and that simply misrepresenting the motive does not constitute cheating.

It will certainly be interesting to see how both of these cases unfold, as Phil Ivey is now sitting on both sides of the table in two separate but similar cases. The eventual rulings, depending on their outcomes, could set an interesting precedent.

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Ivan Potocki

Ivan is an aspiring journalist writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a degree in English Literature and a fiery work ethic, Ivan adds a dynamic and flexible element to the PokerUpdate writing staff.