Borgata Files Lawsuit against Phil Ivey for Alleged Baccarat Cheating

by | Published: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City is suing poker legend Phil Ivey for $9.6 million he made at the Baccarat table in their casino as they believe he cheated his way to the win, according to a report made in the New Jersey Law Journal last week.

The lawsuit entered by Borgata alleges that Ivey used “edge sorting” to exploit manufacturing flaws in playing cards during four sessions of Baccarat at the casino during 2012. Edge sorting is a method of spotting tiny variations in the pattern printed on the backs on cards to predict which suit/number the card will be.

Borgata has also named the card manufacturer, Germaco Inc., which designed the cards, and Ivey’s partner, Cheng Yin Sun, in the suit. Yin Sun reportedly accompanied Ivey to the Baccarat table and gave instructions to the dealer.

Among the many charges listed in the lawsuit are breach of contract, racketeering, fraud, conversion, unjust enrichment, and civil conspiracy.

Surprisingly, Ivey is currently involved in another very similar case – but on the other end. The biggest legal battle in the UK casino history unfolded last May, when Ivey sued the Crockfords Casino for withholding £7.8 million (about $12 million) he won playing Punto Banco, a form of baccarat, because they claimed he used the “edge sorting” method and didn’t deserve his winnings.

Ivey admitted to using edge sorting at Crockfords, but said the casino only had itself to blame for not recognizing it. It wasn’t a premeditated plan, just something he picked up on during the play and used to his advantage. He released the following statement last May:

“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 honored 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.”

This story is still developing, but based on the Crockfords case, Ivey will not be taking this lying down. Many poker fans don’t believe Ivey has cheated, and deserves his winnings from both casinos.

Comments on PokerNews have noted that: “It would only be considered cheating if you knew about the defects before you sat at table. Purposely manipulating the way cards are entered in shufflers is deceitful and I would consider that cheating as well. The dealer is responsible for not reporting the request to the pit boss and should have had realized this was a huge red flag.”

and

“Borgata affords him the opportunity to cheat and then turns around and sues him. Completely laughable. It should have just resulted in an expensive lesson to the Borgata being: look for possible restitution by suing the faulty playing card manufacturer and not the player.”

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