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Poker Legend Phil Ivey Ordered To Pay Borgata $10M

Federal Judge Rules Ivey, Playing Partner Owe Millions


A federal judge last week ordered 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Ivey to hand over $10.1 million to Atlantic City’s Borgata casino.

In October, the court ruled that Ivey and playing partner Cheng Yin Sun didn’t commit fraud but that they did breach their contract with the casino by “edge sorting” while playing high-stakes baccarat on several occasions in 2012.

Without ever touching the playing cards, the gamblers were able to spot and distinguish manufacturing defects on the backs of the cards to gain an edge, albeit small, over the top grossing casino in the city. They used the advantage to win about $9.6 million. About two years later, Borgata realized what had happened and went after the gamblers for the money.

Just weeks ago, the Borgata told the court that it wanted $15.5 million from Ivey, which included damages beyond what it had paid out. The casino wanted hundreds of thousands in comps returned and $5.4 million that it thought it would have won from Ivey had he been playing straight up. U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman decided the fair amount was $10.1 million.

That amount includes money Ivey won playing craps after the tainted baccarat sessions.

Ivey’s legal team is unhappy with the ruling and said there will be an appeal.

“What this ruling says is a player is prohibited from combining his skill and intellect and visual acuity to beat the casino at its own game,” Ed Jacobs, Ivey’s attorney, said to the Associated Press. “The casino agreed to every single accommodation requested by Phil Ivey in his four visits because they were eager to try to win his money.”

Below is the judge’s opinion:

Ivey Opinion by brianpempus on Scribd