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Judge Denies Poker Pro Phil Ivey's Request To Dismiss $9.6 Million Borgata Lawsuit

Lawsuit Moves Forward; Jury Trial Remains Possibility

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Professional poker player Phil Ivey saw his request to get the Borgata’s $9.6 million lawsuit against him thrown out denied by a judge last week.

The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner used a technique called “edge sorting” with playing partner Cheng Yin Sun during a series of Atlantic City mini-baccarat sessions in 2012.

Ivey admitted he played with an advantage thanks to noticing manufactured defects in the backs of the playing cards, which neither he nor his partner ever touched during play. Ivey maintains that what he did was skill and not cheating. However, Ivey’s legal team was using several arguments to try to get the case dismissed so Ivey could keep his money.

Ivey’s defense said that the New Jersey Casino Control Act can not be applied to what Ivey and his partner did and their actions do not constitute fraud under other laws, as well as that the statute of limitations has passed to pursue any alleged fraud.

A judge agreed with the Borgata’s arguments, however, and the case will proceed.

While the case is not unusual in that it pits a high roller versus a casino that bends over backwards to entice the high roller to gamble for big money, the lawsuit apparently touches on some of the cornerstones of the casino industry itself. As the judge wrote in his conclusion:

“Ivey and Sun argue that Borgata willingly agreed to all of their requests and provided all the implements of gambling, and that all of those requests, along with their observation of the patterns on the playing cards, were lawful. Ivey and Sun also note that even though Borgata wishes to cast itself as a victim of deceptive intentions, the ‘essential mission of Borgata’s casino operation is to encourage patrons to lose money by orchestrating a plethora of deceptive practices, such as loud noises and flashing lights on slot machines, hiding the clocks, making exit signs almost impossible to find, having cocktail waitresses wear revealing clothing, and comping copious amounts of alcohol to ‘loosen up’ their patrons’.”

In a sympathetic tone the judge said that “there is no doubt that much of the defendants’ characterization of the casino milieu is accurate, as tangential a defense as it may be.”

He added that it is curious why the casino “took so long to figure out the defendants’ alleged scheme.” But regardless, “at this stage of the proceedings Borgata has pled plausible claims sounding in fraud. The Court will therefore allow the case, in addition to Borgata’s claims against Gemaco, to proceed through discovery, and it will be for the CCC, DGE, and perhaps this Court or a jury to consider the validity of Borgata’s claims and the propriety of Ivey and Sun’s actions.”

 
 
 
 

Comments

brum747
over 6 years ago

Yea but if they gave you free alcohol and you lost everything you own from being intoxicated,you couldn't do a thing about it. Im on Ivey's side on this one. I bet the judges get endorsed and support by these big corporations casinos so it's gonna be an uphill battle.

 
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ArtK78
over 6 years ago

Judges in New Jersey are appointed on merit, not elected.

 
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KernelChikn
over 6 years ago

Chris Christie appoints all NJ judges, so I guess if they don't decide a case the way he likes he shuts down a few lanes of traffic in their cities.

 
 

mikeyb111
over 6 years ago

Why are Ivey's attorneys arguing that the Borgata is using deceptive practices. If that's the basis of their defense he should get himself some new representation.

 
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mikeyb111
over 6 years ago

Why are Ivey's attorneys arguing that the Borgata is using deceptive practices. If that's the basis of their defense he should get himself some new representation.

 
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Richard14
over 6 years ago

only thing I hate about ivey is not that he skilfully finds a way to beat casinos but he uses that money to bully everyone at poker theres a link on you tube where he folds jj to a raise from 77 when he wants something in poker he plays like the rest of us

 
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KernelChikn
over 6 years ago

What, like nobody else ever folded JJ facing a raise? Check his results, he's one of the best, there's no debate.

 
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Richard14
over 6 years ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jqe60W-Fmk8 there is the link by the way

 
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cardplayer1222
over 6 years ago

They (the casino) should check and inspect the cards before playing. The cards and dealers are provided by the casino and the players did not touch the cards. If the casino was winning, can the players sue the casino because of cards defected?

 
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G0AT
over 6 years ago

You are all missing the point,including Mr. Ivey and his incompetent representation. Crockfords Casino knew and planned prior to Mr.Ivey ever playing that if he happened to win,remember he was not guaranteed winning by edge-sorting only gaining an advantage, that Crockfords would give him his starting stake back and sue for the remainder they owe him. The Crockfords was free rolling! They could not lose, this is why they agreed to what seemed like ludicrous requests for a casino,any casino, which make their money by always having the odds in the houses favor. Mr. Ivey was scammed by Crockfords Casino and now the Borgata, who I was hoping had a little more class, decides they too should try and scam Mr. Ivey and sue for moneys that he won fairly. We as poker players understand the house always has the edge on all of their "carnival" games, but the edge should never be 100%.

 
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Becki
over 6 years ago

Since fraud is generally inextricably mired in the facts, summary judgement is exceedingly difficult to get. You have to prove that, even if all the facts are viewed in the light most favorable to the opponent to the summary judgement (the casino here), there is not a claim upon which relief can be granted (to the casino), as a matter of law. Factual defenses, like how casinos operate to fleece customers, are irrelevant to the question ("tangential" is kind), since you have to consider even those facts in the light most favorable to the casino-"we're a legitimate business, and hiding the clocks is acceptable" is the light most favorable.

Just stick to the law. Or don't even bother with an SJ, because it's a fraud claim (but SJ can finish a lawsuit early, so there's still some incentive, no matter how unlikely it will be granted).

Ivey's attorneys apparently made a classic mistake, and argued the facts, not the law. Either that, or the news reporter made a classic mistake, and reported a summary judgement incorrectly, which is far more likely. In any event, since fraud is a claim highly dependent upon the facts, it's really difficult to get summary judgement before discovery.

But are you saying the casinos *knew,* as a matter of contract or fact, that Ivey would be edge-sorting? That is interesting-It sounds more like the casino knowingly agreed to give him an edge, and now they're whining because he won, and calling it fraud.

 
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G0AT
over 6 years ago

thats a great comment by the goat if I may say so myself

 
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bigvert
over 6 years ago

""But are you saying the casinos *knew,* as a matter of contract or fact, that Ivey would be edge-sorting? That is interesting-It sounds more like the casino knowingly agreed to give him an edge, and now they're whining because he won, and calling it fraud.""

Wow...talk about a Free Roll for the Casino!

 
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Mike74
over 6 years ago

Correct me if im wrong as being a brit im not familiar to much extent of the american legal system, but does Phil not have the right to trial by jury of his peers, and by his peers can he not claim these should be either poker pros/ gamblers? a chef taxi driver police officer or doctor are hardly peers to a poker pro are they? they are unfamiliar with 'advantage play'

 
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