Phil Ivey Seeks Dismissal of the Borgata’s $9.6 Million Baccarat Lawsuit
Phil Ivey is seeking a dismissal of the Borgata Casino’s $9.6 million lawsuit against him, claiming his winnings were the result of skill. John Falcicchio, a spokesman for Phil Ivey, told the AP that a motion was filed on Wednesday night to dismiss the lawsuit.
Borgata’s Lawsuit – Case Stated
The Borgata, the most profitable of the Atlantic City casinos, sued Phil Ivey in April, saying he used underhanded tactics to win $9.6 million from them at baccart. The Borgata say Ivey and an associate used a defect in the casino’s playing cards to play with marked cards, gaining an unfair advantage. The Borgata says Ivey used a technique called “edge sorting” to win nearly ten million dollars. In edge sorting, a person sorts and arranges good cards to their advantage. Borgata says that edge sorting violates New Jersey casino gambling laws.
The gaming sessions in which Ivey continued to best the casino took place on four occasions between April 2012 and October 2012. Each time, Phil Ivey used his bankroll and clout to ask and receive special game conditions, including a dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese (for the benefit of Ivey’s associate), large bets ranging from $50,000 in early sessions to $100,000 in later sessions, and the use of a purple set of Gemaco Inc. playing cards. The deck of cards used was important, because the Borgata claims Ivey knew these cards to have been misprint at the manufacturer, creating a marked set of cards.
Gemaco Inc. Card Flaws
The cards in question had a defective pattern on them, in which the back was not uniform. The cards were supposed to have small white circles designed on them to look like the tops of cut diamonds. Instead, some of the cards had only half-diamonds or quarters on them. Because these designs corresponded with specific card ranks, Phil Ivey and his partner were able to sort the cards to provide the best advantage to themselves. The lawsuit claims Ivey and friend instructed the dealer to flip cards in a particular way. After a few hands, the good cards were arranged in a specific manner, so the irregular cards faced in a specific direction and the gambler could spot when these cards were coming out of the dealer’s chute.
Lawsuit by Genting, Refusal to Pay Debt by Crockfords
Additionally, Phil Ivey wanted the cards shuffled by an automatic card shuffler, because the machine would not rearrange the direction of the shuffled cards, thus preserving his advantage. Previously, Genting Group sued Phil Ivey for $12 million, claiming he used edge sorting to beat one of their casinos out of millions of dollars. The action by Genting may have tipped off the Borgata that Ivey had done the same to them. In the Borgata sessions, the casino continued to negotiate higher betting limits with Phil Ivey, because they naturally suspected they would win back their money. Casinos have a house edge on baccarat which tends to assure profits, if the gaming sessions continue long enough. When the casino is playing at a disadvantage, they escort players to the door–such as what happens with card counting and edge sorting.
A casino in London, Crockfords Casino, has refused to pay Phil Ivey £7.8m, saying he did the same in their casino. It would seem that, in all three cases, the Gemaco Incorporated cards (manufactured in Kansas City) were used. All three casinos claim Phil Ivey cheated in requesting such cards, which the casinos did not know were defective.
Phil Ivey’s Defense
Phil Ivey, on the other hand, claims his win was the result of skill and good observation. Ivey’s lawyers said, “Each and every penny of defendants’ winnings was the result of sheer skill.”
Phil Ivey says he did nothing that an observant gambler standing at the table could not have done. In his estimation, this makes his feat an act of skill–not cheating. Ultimately, Phil Ivey played at a time when the player had an advantage–not the house.
Threefold Defense of Ivey
Phil Ivey’s legal team have unveiled a three-pronged defense. One, they claim Phil Ivey did nothing that could be considered cheating. Two, they claim a six-month statute of limitations in New Jersey gaming law to recover money lost in an alleged illegal game has expired. Three, they say that violations of state regulations can be pursued only by gaming regulators–not a private business (casino).
To add a flourish, the legal brief filed by Ivey’s lawyers added that their client’s winnings were the result of “exquisite power of discernment” and “extraordinary powers of observation“.
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