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House wins again as Ivey ordered to pay back casino $10 million

Tue, Dec 20, 9:38am by Staff Writer

The wash-up from the edge sorting scandal which has engulfed champion poker player Phil Ivey has seen he and associate Cheung Yin Sun ordered by a federal judge to return US$10.1 million in winnings to the Borgata casino in Atlantic City.

The ruling upheld Borgat’s suit against the pair for what it claims was cheating at baccarat at its tables during 2012. It comes on the heels of a similar decision by the Court of Appeal in London last month which cost Ivey around AU$11 million.

Edge-sorting is a process by which a player identify cards which are yet to de be dealt via almost imperceptible marking on the back.

Sun spent four years mastering the art of identifying cards from the small variances on the pattern on their backs and it gave her an extraordinary advantage in games like Baccarat.

After winning large amounts of money herself, she enlisted the help of Ivey, a ten times WSOP gold bracelet winner, who with the aid of the technique was able to orchestrate a sweep on casinos worldwide which reportedly netted close to $100 million.

The decision of a London-based casino not to pay out Ivey led to legal action from ivey which ahs spectacularly backfired.

He lost that case with Lady Justice Arden said that there was an implied term in the contract not to cheat and said the meaning of cheating for that purpose was to be determined in accordance with the Gambling Act 2005.

“In my judgment, this section provides that a party may cheat within the meaning of this section without dishonesty or intention to deceive: depending on the circumstances it may be enough that he simply interferes with the process of the game,” she said.

“On that basis, the fact that the appellant did not regard himself as cheating is not determinative.”

That led to Borgata pursuing its own action in the US. This week U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman ruled the duo “did not meet their obligation to follow gambling regulations”.

Ivey has promised to appeal the decision.

“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,” his lawyer said.

“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.”

The court ruling on Ivey and Sun have dismayed the wider poker and baccarat playing community, who see it as another example of the house having an unfair advantage.

“I think most poker players and gamblers are on Phil Ivey’s side,” poker consultant Zach Elwood told The Huffington Post Australia.

“The casinos make extremely large amounts of money offering games that are not beatable long-term. If someone is smart enough to beat the casino in a way that does not violate the rules, I believe the casino should just accept the loss and learn from their mistakes.”

“Ivey did not bring in a new deck, he did not mark the deck; he just used the casino’s own instruments against it. They even had plenty of time to figure out that something might be wrong, and they didn’t correct the situation.”


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