Phil Ivey Loses his £7.7m Edge Sorting Case Against Crockfords

Ivey accompanied at Crockfords by fellow gambler and edge sorting afficianado Cheung Yin Sun

Poker legend Phil Ivey today lost his £7.7m court case against Crockfords Casino in London after a high court judge ruled that under British civil law the practice of edge sorting must be considered cheating.

Presiding Judge John Mitting said, “He gave himself an advantage which the game preclude. This is, in my view, cheating.”

Ivey had brought the case against Crockfords after they promised to pay him out £7.7m he won playing punto banco, a form of baccarat, over four sessiona back in August 2012. However, the casino subsequently refused to pay out, and just returned Ivey's initial £1m stake.

Ivey brought the suit to defend his reputation and to try to recoup winnings he believed he has won legitimately, Ivey has never denied "edge sorting", using imperfections in the pattern printed on the back of the cards to recognise and manipulate the cards to the players advantage - but is adamant that this should not be considered cheating. As reported in the Guardian UK website;

"Ivey’s counsel, Richard Spearman QC, told the court that edge-sorting involved nothing more than using information that was available to any player simply from viewing the backs of the cards that the casino chose to use and making requests of the casino – which it could accept or refuse – as to the manner in which play was conducted."

The Judge, however, disagreed, saying;

“The fact that Mr Ivey was genuinely convinced that he did not cheat and that the practice commanded considerable support from others was not determinative of the question of whether it amounted to cheating.

“Mr Ivey had gained himself an advantage and did so by using a croupier as his innocent agent or tool.

“It was not simply taking advantage of error on her part or an anomaly practised by the casino for which he was not responsible.

“He was doing it in circumstances where he knew that she and her superiors did not know the consequences of what she had done at his instigation. This is, in my view, cheating for the purpose of civil law.”

The one positive Ivey can take away from the case is that the Judge acknowledged that he had been a truthful witness in so far as he genuinely believed his actions did not constitue cheating. As Ivey himself had stated earlier in proceedings, "My integrity is infinitely more important to me than a big win, which is why I have brought these proceedings to demonstrate that I have been unjustly treated."

Lawyers for Ivey were refused permission to appeal although they can renew their application to the court of appeal directly.

This case may only have cost Ivey legal fees and a little pride, however, it doesn't bode well for his upcoming case against Borgat Casino in New Jersey who are suing Ivey for $9.6m he took from them also back in 2012 using the same technique at their mini baccarat tables.




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