Borgata Garnishes WSOP Winnings from Phil Ivey

Borgata Garnishes WSOP Winnings from Phil Ivey

The Borgata in Atlantic City is finally making a bit of headway in collecting some of its millions of dollars from poker pro Phil Ivey.

As a result of its legal victory over Ivey and his baccarat partner in a case dating back to 2014, the Borgata was able to garnish the winnings of Ivey from the World Series of Poker. The $124K is a drop in the bucket compared to the $10 million the casino is owed via the court ruling, but any money is progress at this point.

More than likely, the Borgata wants to be taken seriously.

For years, the Borgata has been chasing the millions it felt was owed as a result of Ivey and his partner, Cheung Yin Sun, using edge sorting to win massive amounts of money at the casino. And with the court on its side, the Borgata has tried to seize property and winnings to recoup its money. This is the first step and a nod to Ivey that the Borgata will not go away quietly.

It Started in London

Phil Ivey’s relationship with baccarat has been a double-edged sword. On one side, he won tens of millions of dollars with his baccarat partner. On the other, he was sued by both casinos and lost both cases.

The first case that came to its conclusion involved Crockfords Club in London. It was also his first major baccarat win that was challenged in court.

Ivey and Sun hit the London casino in the summer of 2012 to play high-stakes punto banco, and they won a total of £7.7 million over the course of just a few nights. That case went to court in the UK, ultimately to the UK Supreme Court, and Ivey lost. The unanimous decision against Ivey and Sun found that the duo staged a “carefully planned and executed sting” operation by using the edge sorting technique.

Since Crockfords had not paid the winnings to Ivey or Sun, there was no order to repay the money. The ruling merely determined that they would never collect their winnings.

Next Up: Atlantic City

In 2012, Ivey and Sun also made four trips to the Borgata in Atlantic City to play high-stakes baccarat.

They won a total of approximately $10 million over the course of those four sessions. Once the Borgata realized that Ivey and Sun used edge sorting to win, the casino sued them in 2014 on a number of charges, including fraud, racketeering, and civil conspiracy.

Ivey and Sun countersued in 2015, but they ended up in a US District Court, where a judge issued a ruling that Ivey has yet to appeal. Ivey was ordered to make payments to the Borgata to repay the $10 million. His lawyers have argued that making those payments to the Borgata would have a “devastating impact” on him and his professional poker career.

The Borgata had no tears to shed for Ivey’s troubles.

Ivey Betta Have My Money

By October 2018, it had become clear that Ivey had no intention of making any payments to Borgata, so the casino began to chase his assets.

The Borgata started with Ivey’s New Jersey bank account, which had been emptied. They went after his three companies, including Ivey Poker, but found that they had been liquidated. And his sizeable abode in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico? It was no longer.

Meanwhile, Ivey continued to play poker. He won a couple million dollars at a Triton Super High Roller Series of events in early 2018 and a few hundred thousand at the 2018 WSOP.

This year, Ivey appeared at the Rio in Las Vegas to play more WSOP events. He played the high-profile $50K buy-in Poker Players Championship and finished in eighth place for $124,410.

That was the last straw for the Borgata.

Gotcha

The Borgata found cooperation with the court system in Nevada, which sent a writ of execution to the World Series of Poker before Ivey could collect his winnings. WSOP Vice President Jack Effel accepted the documentation.

At that time, it was unclear if the Borgata was successful in garnishing those winnings.

Flushdraw obtained clarity. Borgata’s parent company, Marina District Development – its lawyers, actually – contacted the WSOP and Caesars Entertainment as Ivey went deep in the Poker Players Championship. In fact, the letter went out as soon as Ivey made the money in the tournament.

The letter informed Caesars and the WSOP of the legal judgment against Ivey for $10.1 million, noted that Effel signed for the writ from the District of Nevada and served by a US marshal, and staked its claim on any winnings to be paid to Ivey.

“Please ensure that Caesars/Rio/WSOP does not make any payments to Mr. Ivey in violation of the duly served writ. When the current event is over, we or the US Marshal will provide instructions for payment.”

By mid-July, Caesars had confirmed to the court that the amount of $124,410 had been transferred to the US Marshals Service per the writ.

The End of Ivey in Poker?

Knowing that the Borgata is playing no games with regard to obtaining its court judgment, Ivey may be extremely careful about playing poker going forward.

Any poker tournaments in the US are probably off limits for the indefinite future, as the Borgata is watching and will seize any winnings.

As for tournaments outside of the US, Ivey would not be wise to play in any country that has a positive legal relationship with the US. Does it include the Philippines and Macau? That will be determined if Ivey decides to play any high-stakes tournaments wherein the casino will declare the winnings.

Ivey may be sticking to his Macau cash games for the time being.

 

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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