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Poker Pro Phil Ivey loses court battle over $13m winnings

Thu, Oct 26, 4:04pm by Head Editor

Five years after winning more than $13.25 million at London’s Crockfords Club casino, one of the world’s top poker players – Phil Ivey – has lost a Supreme Court bid to reclaim the winnings.

The club ruled that the American was using the ‘edge-sorting’ technique, a ruling that was confirmed by a Court of Appeal and the reaffirmed by the UK’s highest court.

Edge-sorting involves identifying minute differences in the patterns on the back of playing cards and exploiting that information to increase the chances of winning.

All five of the Supreme Court justices unanimously upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision on the case. Lord Hughes stated that it was vital that Punto Banco remained a game of pure chance.

The 40-year old has claimed all along that he won the money fair and square, saying that the technique he used was not a form of cheating.

Genting Casinos – who owns Crockfords – said this was not a legitimate strategy and refused to pay up when Ivey won the cash playing card game Punto Banco, which is a form of baccarat.

Punto Banco is similar to blackjack, but the aim is to have cards that add up to nine, or as close as you can get.

Ivey, who is the sixth biggest earner of all time from poker tournament play, sued over the baccarat game but lost his court bid to recover £7.7m ($13.25m) of winnings from the casino located in the exclusive Mayfair district of the English capital.

The winner of 10 World Series of Poker bracelets was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame earlier this year having mastered the game as a teenager. He has won over $23 million in prizemoney and many more millions from private heads-up games.

Ivey’s initial stake of £1m ($1.7m) was returned to him and this decision by the court has vindicated Crockfords’ decision not to pay him.

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