Phil Ivey won over $11 million at a Mayfair gaming club in London playing Punto Banco in August, but has yet to collect his winnings and the casino is investigating the circumstances surrounding his extensive lucky streak.
Over the course of two days, the eight-time WSOP bracelet winner turned a loss of £500,000 into a win of £7.3 million playing the high-stakes baccarat variant at Crockford’s while accompanied by a “beautiful Oriental woman,” according to the Mail Online. Ivey was reportedly wagering £50,000 per hand but requested to increase the stakes to £150,000 per hand and the Genting-owned casino agreed. Arguably the world’s best all-around poker player, Ivey recouped his losses and concluded his first day at the Punto Banco table £2.3 million to the good. Upon returning the next day, Ivey–known for his penchant to gamble huge sums on craps and on sports bets as well as poker–increased his take another £5 million.
Ivey requested that the money be deposited into his bank account and the casino agreed, but six weeks have passed and the casino has thus far only coughed up his original stake of £1 million. Apparently, Crockford’s is stalling on the payout because Ivey’s companion had her membership suspended at another Mayfair casino. An exhaustive investigation was conducted, including interviewing casino employees present and analysing video provided by the casino’s many security cameras that recorded the action. Ivey was said to never once have touched the playing cards.
The only comment offered by the casino in response to withholding Ivey’s winnings was, “As a private club we put great store on the confidentiality of the relationship between ourselves and our client and we therefore have no comment to make.”
Ivey has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but Crockford’s is still investigating. Ivey was the face of Full Tilt Poker prior to its collapse, signing a partnership agreement to represent the site at live tournaments and online. Following Black Friday, Ivey sat out the World Series of Poker in 2011, believing that it was unfair that he be allowed to compete in the tournaments while many others who still had money frozen on the site could not. Ivey has since returned to the tables, both high-stakes cash games and tournament action. He was never charged in the mismanagement of Full Tilt, but was singled out by board member Howard Lederer for filing suit against the company when Full Tilt’s woeful financial situation surfaced.