After losing his court case against Crockfords Club in London, Phil Ivey is in more legal trouble after another venue he won at came out seeking recompense. The saga surrounding the professional poker player involves the game of baccarat in which he and his partner Cheng Yin Sun are accused of edge sorting. The technique helped him win $12 million from Crockfords
Club, which is owned by Genting Casinos.
Phil and his partner first took on Crockfords Club and left for New Jersey having agreed with the casino that the money would be wired to his account. At Borgata, the pair switched to playing Punto Banco which is a type of baccarat and won another $9,626,000 in just four sessions.
High rollers are usually given bonuses and perks by the casino in order to make them play more. This can be everything from free hotel rooms, various bonuses or basically any request by the gambler such as what type of card decks to play with. Part of the lawsuit by Borgata involves the card manufacturer whose cards were used during play.
Card imperfections cost the casinos
For gambling fans who understand the game of baccarat, it is largely dependent on chance and the house odds are very low. Being a game of chance, players have developed all sorts of superstitions and ethos that they believe improve their chances. For Phil Ivey, his demands were that they would use a particular deck of cards for the entire time he played and the cards would be shuffled by an automatic shuffler rather than the dealer. Ivey knew that an automatic card shuffler would always give him the edge from the first card since a dealer would wash the cards after every few shuffles. His last demand was that their dealer speaks to them in mandarin, which Sun understood. Casinos have heard baccarat players with far more finicky demands so Ivey got all his demands at Borgata.
The edge sorting technique Ivey used is a gem for baccarat and poker players. It relies on inconsistencies on the edge of the cards to inform the player about cards yet to be dealt. Sun had mastered the irregular patterns on the edges of the Gemaco Inc. manufactured card deck and was
basically winning and losing at will. Besides this, the casino argued that Ivey and his partner confused the dealer so that they would be shown favorable cards.
While the techniques work like a charm on a land-based casino, it’s doubtful that they would work for a player in the online setting. But if any aspect of the pro’s tactics can be replicated online, you can count on some gambler out there to take advantage of it.
Ivey and Sun face a total of 12 accusations, most of which are chockfull of legal jargon and others which are just not admissible. The claims include breach of contract, fraud and inducement, and violation of the implied promise of good faith. It is hard, though, to feel bad for a casino that is suing a player exploiting statistical advantages which is primarily what the casinos count on to win. It is also a bit comical that the casino would be taken for so much using their own equipment and personnel. However, this does happen from time to time, and it will be interesting to see where this one goes.