UK Supreme Court Rules Against Phil Ivey In £7.7 million Edge Sorting Case

Martin Derbyshire October 26, 2017 2774 Reads
phil ivey UK supreme court ruling

It appears US Poker star Phil Ivey won’t be receiving the £7.7 million he won playing Baccarat at London’s Crockfords casino in 2012.

The UK Supreme Court ruled in against Ivey’s claims to the cash this week. It was a unanimous decision by all five judges.

Ivey and playing companion Cheung Yin Sun won the money over a two-night session in 2012. However, Crockfords refused to pay. In 2014, Ivey took the casino and parent company Genting UK to court. He admitted he and Sun used a technique called edge sorting to beat them. Edge sorting involves identifying flaws on the back of the cards which give away their value.

Ivey claimed edge sorting was a legitimate gambling technique. He also said Crockfords agreed to spread the game with decks of his choosing, allowing him to employ it. Crockfords claims it is cheating.

Edge sorting gets its day in court

The High Court denied Ivey’s claim to the money in October 2014 but gave him permission to appeal. The Court of Appeal upheld that decision in November 2016. Ivey was given permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in February of this year.

The Supreme Court also ruled in favor of the casino. It claimed Ivey’s actions were cheating. In fact, Supreme Court Judge Anthony Hughes said Ivey and Sun “took positive steps to fix the deck,” and their actions amounted to “a carefully planned and executed sting.”

The court ruled the game of Baccarat is dependent on the random delivery of unknown cards. It also said edge sorting is a technique in direct contravention of those parameters.

“We are delighted that the High Court, the Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court have all found in Genting’s favor, confirming that we acted fairly and properly at all times and that Mr. Ivey’s conduct did indeed amount to cheating,” said Genting UK CEO and president Paul Willcock.

Even after the decision, Ivey told reporters outside the courtroom edge sorting is a legitimate advantage play technique.

Ivey beats Borgata

Ivey and Sun also beat the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey out of $9.6 million using edge sorting techniques to play Mini-Baccarat in 2012. Borgata sued. The casino asked that the $9.6 million lost, and an additional $500,000, be returned to it from either Ivey, Sun or card manufacturer Gemaco.

In October 2016, a federal judge said Ivey and Sun violated casino regulations using edge sorting techniques. Ivey and Sun were given permission to appeal once the decision is made final. However, the decision cannot be made final until Borgata’s separate case against Gemaco is settled.

Gemaco most recently filed for summary judgment in the case claiming Borgata has not provided evidence the cards used had visible flaws.

Ivey returning to the poker spotlight

For the most part, Ivey has shied from the spotlight since news of the legal battles surfaced. However, he told Asian poker content portal SoMuchPoker this month he would be returning to high profile tournament poker in 2018.

Ivey, who was recently in Beijing, China promoting the Zhi You poker App, said he had been living in Hong Kong. He also said he was frequently playing high-stakes cash games in Macau and Manila, Philippines.

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