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UK – Supreme Court rules Ivey did cheat at Crockfords

By - 26 October 2017

Crockfords, the high-end London casino, has won out in its legal fight against poker player, Phil Ivey, with the Supreme Court ruling he cheated whilst playing Punto Banco.

Mr. Ivey, a 10-time winner of the World Series of Poker who has won over $23m, amassed winnings of £7.7m playing over two days at the casino in August 2012. Crockfords refused to pay him though, he had used a technique called ‘edge sorting’ which involves recognising unintentional edge irregularities between the long edges of playing cards. Mr. Ivey admitted using the technique but argued it wasn’t illegal.

He sued Crockfords but both the London High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the casino. The Supreme Court’s verdict completes a hat-trick of rulings against Mr. Ivey and brings the civil case to a close.

Mr Ivey deployed an accomplice, Ms Sun to pretend that she was superstitious to convince the croupier to arrange the cards with the edges of high-value cards all lined up the same way.

Lord Hughes, in the Supreme Court, said: “The court agrees it was cheating. The key point is Mr Ivey did not just watch the cards with a trained eye but rather he took positive steps to fix the shoe and therefore constituted cheating. He accomplished the same results by directing the actions of the croupier and tricking her into thinking that what she did was irrelevant. What Mr Ivey did was to stage a carefully planned and executed sting. That it was clever and skillful, and must have involved remarkably sharp eyes, cannot alter that truth.”

Paul Willcock, President of Genting UK who owns the casino, said: “We are delighted that the High Court, the Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court have all found in Genting’s favour, confirming that we acted fairly and properly at all times and that Mr Ivey’s conduct did indeed amount to cheating. This entirely vindicates Genting’s decision not to pay Mr Ivey, a decision that was not taken lightly.”

Mr Ivey said: “It is very frustrating that the UK judges have no experience or understanding of casinos or the ongoing battle between casinos and professional gamblers attempting to level the playing field.”

However lost an identical case in Atlantic city last year where a district judge ruled that the gambler had breached his contract with the casino by using edge sorting techniques.

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