Phil Ivey To Appeal $10 Million Borgata Edge Sorting Lawsuit

Posted on January 25, 2017

[toc]Professional gambler and poker champion Phil Ivey has requested that a federal judge’s summary judgement on his $10m lawsuit with the New Jersey casino Borgata be entered as a “Final Judgment.”

This means that Ivey can then file the case with the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, meaning that despite being found liable for more than $10 million last November, Ivey does not want to give up his baccarat winnings yet.

In November, Judge Noel Hillman ruled in favour of Borgata who had sued Ivey over his $10 million baccarat winnings, which he won by edge-sorting. He played over 8,600 hands of baccarat, betting up to $100,000 per hand with this technique.

What is edge-sorting?

Edge-sorting is a technique that exploits a flawed design in playing cards, enabling a player to sort cards into favourable and unfavourable categories without seeing the face of the card.

In this case, the Borgata was using Gemaco playing cards that had an asymmetrical pattern on the back. Because of this, Ivey and his accomplice Cheng Yin Sun were able to distinguish the orientation of the next card to be dealt before it was dealt.

Ivey and Sun asked Borgata dealers to keep the cards orientated in a certain direction and use an automatic shuffler to keep them that way, claiming it to be a gambler’s superstition. In fact, they were rotating favourable cards and were thus able to gain an advantage over the casino.

The Borgata is also suing card manufacturer Gemaco.

The Borgata vs Phil Ivey

In 2012, Ivey and Sun played 8,618 hands at the Borgata over four visits and eight sessions of play. They wagered up to $100,000 per hand, increasing their bets when the edge sorting technique allowed them to know that they would be dealt a strong hand.

The casino sued Ivey for $15 million, claiming they should receive not only the $9.6 million that he won playing baccarat, but also their expected value if the house edge was present, plus a refund of comps they issued Ivey.

Judge Hillman ruled that Ivey should pay back only the money he won playing baccarat and subsequent winnings from a craps session using his winnings.

Edge-sorting in London

Ivey used the edge-sorting technique at Crockfords Casino in London during the same year. In this case, he won £7.8 million playing Punto Banco, but the casino did not allow him to take his winnings. He sued Crockfords in the London High Court, but the UK legal system ruled that edge-sorting constituted cheating and that Crockfords did not have to pay.

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Matt Perry

A veteran of the online gambling industry, Matt Perry has worn a number of hats since he first began working in online poker and iGaming in 2007. He currently writes for a variety of publications focused on legal online gambling, and in the past has served as an editor, copywriter, content manager and reporter.

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