Poker Pros Interfere in Borgata Claim on Ivey

Poker Pros Interfere in Borgata Claim on Ivey

The hits keep coming for Phil Ivey.

At first glance, the new twist in the saga of Ivey and the Borgata in Atlantic City sounds positive. Two well-known poker pros step file a legal objection in court to the Borgata’s claim on Ivey’s winnings at the 2019 World Series of Poker.

However, Daniel Cates and Illya Trincher didn’t file an objection to stand up for Ivey. On the contrary, they claim the winnings belong to them.

The tangled web woven by Phil Ivey is getting more complicated with each filing.

The Story Thus Far

Ivey likes to gamble. More than that, Ivey likes to win. So, when he partnered with Cheung Yin Sun to win big at baccarat, the duo did exactly that.

In 2012, they won £7.7 million at Crockfords in London, though the casino suspected edge sorting was used and withheld the winnings from the start. When Ivey sued to get his money, the case went all the way to the UK Supreme Court, where Ivey and Sun were found to have garnered the money via a “carefully planned and executed sting.” The casino won.

That same year, Ivey and Sun took their technique to the Borgata in Atlantic City. Through several sessions, they won approximately $10 million. And they walked away with it.

Edge sorting is not illegal, but the Borgata considered it cheating. The casino sued Ivey and Sun for fraud, racketeering, and civil conspiracy. The duo countersued, but a US District Court ruled for the Borgata and ordered Ivey to repay the $10 million.

Ivey made no effort to pay the Borgata. After several years of collection efforts and failed attempts to confiscate Ivey’s assets, the Borgata watched Ivey play the 2019 WSOP. And when he cashed in the $50K Poker Players Championship for $124,410, the Borgata filed an immediate writ of execution in a Nevada court to order the WSOP to hold Ivey’s winnings.

Caesars and the WSOP did just that.

Upon the end of the WSOP, Caesars transferred the $124,410 to the US Marshals Service per the court order.

Ivey Debt Collectors Pile On

Flushdraw broke the news this week that Cates and Trincher threw a new and interesting wrench into Ivey’s case.

Cates and Trincher filed a legal objection to the writ of execution filed with the WSOP and granted to give the money to Borgata. The two poker pros asserted that they backed Ivey in the Poker Players Championship, meaning they gave him the full $50K plus rake to enter the tournament in exchange for a percentage of his winnings.

According to the verbal deal, Ivey’s winnings were to be divided as follows:

–$50K immediately returned to Cates and Trincher

–50% of remaining winnings to Ivey (approximately $37,205)

–50% of remaining winnings for Cates and Trincher (approximately $18,602.50 each)

Per a chat log submitted with court documents, Cates and Trincher had given Ivey $100K to play in WSOP tournaments this summer, including the $50K for the Poker Players Championship. It was a part of an ongoing staking agreement.

For the sake of the court filing, Cates and Trincher claim the right to $87,205 of the garnished winnings. Since staking deals such as this are legal and enforceable per Nevada laws and backed up by court precedents.

Ivey Fans Show Mixed Reactions

The reactions from Ivey fans and others in the poker community on social media and online poker forums to the latest news seem to range from disbelief to disappointment.

The Two Plus Two forum thread show that range over dozens of comments.

–“I refuse to believe he is busto and want to think this is just his method when he plays in the US to hide money.”

–“Ivey still the goat to me. But the mystique is fading.”

–“The list of “top pros” that actually ended up not being broke ass degens is very short now, isn’t it? Depressing.”

–“Ivey probably did this so he could keep all his money in Asia. Doubt he’s busto unless he gambled it all away on craps.”

–“I wouldn’t be so sure he’s backed. It might be an attempt to get some of the money back.”

–“I don’t understand how is it even possible for Ivey to be busto? He’s the most famous poker player of all time, there’s a ton of rich whales who would love to play with him.”

Fans who have followed Ivey for years hesitate to believe that he could have possibly mismanaged his money or not have been a winning player through the years. They neglect to consider the high-stakes cash games he plays in Macau, in which he may not have been the winningest player.

Some people also see Ivey through rose-colored glasses, seeing his victories but ignoring his losses.

No matter what people think about the ethics or legality behind edge-sorting to win at baccarat, the courts in two countries have ruled against it as a legitimate form of winning. Ivey lost millions in court, most of which he has yet to pay per a court order.

However, Ivey fans want to believe that he was wronged, that he was unfairly judged, or that deserves to be able to make his living in poker as he chooses. This may be true, but Ivey chose to risk using a frowned-upon method to win in baccarat instead of focusing on poker. He lost that bet.

Maybe, someday, Phil Ivey will tell his own story. In the meantime, he appears to be unable to buy himself into tournaments and cash games and owes a casino more than $10 million.


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 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.

Leave a Reply

Related Articles