Phil Ivey continues to struggle over a night of high-stakes baccarat. The parent company of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City has received clearance from a federal judge to pursue Ivey’s assets in Nevada.
Borgata is seeking assets or cash to satisfy a judgment of $10.16 million against the poker superstar. The judgment’s amount would effectively repay the casino for Ivey’s disputed baccarat win.
Borgata pursued this line of legal recourse after Ivey indicated that his New Jersey assets were insufficient to cover the judgment amount. Federal Judge Noah S. Hillman granted Borgata’s motion to cast a wider net in its hunt for relief.
A brief history of the Phil Ivey saga with Borgata
The dispute stems from a 2012 gaming session in which Ivey and a partner engaged in a controversial strategy known as “edge sorting.” The procedure, which involves detecting card values based upon manufacturer’s defects in the actual deck itself, allowed Ivey and Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun to gain a profound advantage over the house.
The pair executed the plan twice – once at Borgata, and once at Crockfords Casino in London. In both cases, the casino cried foul after the players soaked them for roughly $10 million apiece.
Crockfords, for its part, refused to wire the money to Ivey, and won a British court case to allow it to keep the cash. Borgata won a similar case on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, but had already paid out winnings to the poker star.
Mind you, the case was unusual because neither Ivey nor Sun mechanically manipulated or affected the outcome of the game in any way. The result of the lawsuit raised significant questions about the fairness of casinos vis-a-vis their games.
Ivey has maintained that he and Kelly Sun did nothing wrong en route to their historic win. He has vowed to appeal the Borgata case further.
It’s hard to know what Borgata will find
However, in order for Ivey’s appeal to proceed, he must first surrender the disputed amount of cash as a bond to the court.
To be clear, the bond would not be immediately given to Borgata. It would merely be held in escrow until the final settlement of the case.
Affording such a bond is unlikely to be a practical issue for Ivey. Borgata’s attorneys have alleged that the poker pro maintains assets totaling roughly $100 million in Nevada alone.
One of Ivey’s more notable holdings is a luxury villa located in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The poker superstar has posted pictures of it to his social media accounts in the past.
As it happens, no one really knows the depth of Ivey’s financial holdings. The only discoverable bank account in New Jersey, the home of Borgata, maintained no balance and showed evidence of a recent transfer to a Mexican bank account.