Phil Ivey Files Lawsuit Over Withheld Casino Payout
In a new twist on a story that hasn’t been heard from in quite some time, poker superstar Phil Ivey has filed a lawsuit against UK’s Crockfords Casino in London’s tony Mayfair District. Last summer, Ivey, arguably poker’s most famous face and unquestionably one of its greatest-ever players, made headlines after going on a hot streak at Crockfords while playing the game Punto Banco, a variation of baccarat.
Over the course of two evenings in August, Ivey managed to win $12.1 million, winnings that he never saw as the casino declined to deposit the funds into Ivey’s bank account as he had requested. While the exact nature of Crockfords’ grievance with Ivey has never been clear, Ivey was reportedly accompanied at the casino by an attractive Asian woman who has been banned from Crockfords and possibly other Mayfair properties. Ivey’s initial stake of about $1 million was returned to him.
In a statement released by his attorneys, the law firm of Archerfield Partners and Richard Spearman QC, Ivey was quoted as saying, “I am deeply saddened that Crockfords has left me no alternative but to proceed with legal action, following its decision to withhold my winnings. I have much respect for Gentings, which has made this a very difficult decision for me.”
“Over the years I have won and lost substantial sums at Crockfords and I have always honoured my commitments. At the time, I was given a receipt for my winnings but Crockfords subsequently withheld payment. I, therefore, feel I have no alternative but to take legal action,” the statement went on.
Unfortunately for him, Ivey has seen his fair share of woes and heartaches in the last few years. Of course everyone is familiar with his association with the online poker website Full Tilt, the downfall of which proved to, at least for a time, take a substantial toll on Ivey’s reputation within the poker community. He was not alone – the Full Tilt case touched many notables in the poker world, among them Howard Lederer and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.
In the midst of that drama, Ivey also found himself embroiled in a nasty divorce with his estranged wife, Luciaetta. Back in March, a case that the former Mrs. Ivey filed alleging judicial impropriety with regard to the matter of the Iveys’ 2009 divorce decree was thrown out of Nevada Supreme Court. At issue was the fact that Ivey and his attorneys made campaign donations to the judge hearing the case, Judge Bill Gonzalez, which Luciaetta claimed swayed the judge’s decision. Ultimately the Supreme Court decided the donations were legal, though not without noting that certain rules pertaining to campaign contributions ought to be clarified.
In their judgment, Justices Michael Cherry and Mark Gibbons wrote, “Without more, the campaign contributions are insufficient to demonstrate that actual or implied bias existed on the part of Judge Gonzalez. Campaign contributions made within statutory limits cannot constitute grounds for disqualification of a judge under Nevada law.”
Ivey is 36 years old and is a native of Southern California. He has captured nine WSOP bracelets during his career, after getting his start playing poker in New Jersey while working as a telemarketer.
Be sure to check back with us as we continue to follow updates in this story.
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