More Details Emerge in Phil Ivey Casino Case

More details are beginning to emerge with regard to Phil Ivey’s battle with a London, UK casino to recover a $12 million payout he says is rightfully his, but has been withheld by Crockfords Casino, the oldest gambling club in operation in Europe. Last week we brought you the story that Ivey had filed a lawsuit against Crockfords, situated in Mayfair, one of London’s toniest areas, because he felt as if he had no other choice but to do so in order to come to a resolution in the matter, which has now been dragging on for some months.

Though little had been heard from either side for months before last week’s legal filing, Ivey went on a hot streak in the game of punto banco last summer, earning about $12 million over the course of three nights. Punto banco, a variation of the classic casino game baccarat, is based in chance rather than skill, which led to many to immediately jump to Ivey’s defense last year when the withheld payout first became public in October, with gambling experts remarking that cheating at punto banco is a near-impossible task.

Not so, according to Crockfords. The casino is alleging that Ivey was able to pick up on inconsistencies in the cards, a manufacturing flaw that would go unnoticed to nearly everyone except those with specific knowledge of said defect. Ivey was said to have been tipped off to the flaw, which causes small discrepancies in the geometric pattern printed on the backs of the cards, by the attractive Asian female he was seen with at the property, a woman who was said to be banned from Crockfords and other Mayfair casinos for unspecified reasons.

Due to an increased demand on playing card manufacturers that can largely be attributed to the popularity of gambling in Asian gaming mecca Macau, where the decks are very frequently turned over, in many cases the quality of the product has slipped.

“By turning an asymmetrical card 180 degrees it is possible to identify what the value of the card is before it is revealed. You simply glance at the edges on the back of the card,” said Willy Allison, an expert in casino surveillance.

“Essentially, playing the turn has the same effect as marking the cards and gives players a huge house edge. Who needs invisible ink and red-tinted sunglasses when you’ve got manufacturer-made marked cards?” Allison said.

Ivey, who is nicknamed the “Tiger Woods of Poker” and is arguably the most famous face the game has ever produced, maintains that he did nothing illegal and deserves to be paid out his winnings. Ivey, who is 36, was raised in California and currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I was given a receipt for my winnings but Crockfords has withheld payment. I have no alternative but to take legal action,” Ivey was quoted as saying last week.

For their part, Crockfords has said that it plans to “vigorously” defend its actions. Check back with us for the latest as this story continues to develop.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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