Phil Ivey Disputes Borgata Damages Claim

In 2012, Phil Ivey and his accomplice Cheng Yin Sun won $9.6 million playing baccarat at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. The pair was later found to have exploited defects in the playing cards by using an edge-sorting technique, and in October U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman ruled that this was a “complete contravention of the fundamental purpose of legalized gambling, as set forth by the CCA.”
As well as having to repay his winnings, Ivey is also facing the possibility of forking out a further $6 million or so in damages, with the Borgata claiming that the money should be repaid based upon the legal precedent of a similar case. In 2012, customers at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas noticed a recurring order of cards being dealt in an unshuffled pack, and subsequently won $1.5 million over 41 hands. A 2015 court ruling, however, forced them to give back the money.
Part of the argument is that the gamblers were no longer playing the same game as the one approved by the Gambling Commission as its odds had been changed by their actions. However, the 10-times WSOP bracelet winner is now fighting back with his attorney claiming that each game he played was “a valid game of chance”. As a part of his argument, Ivey’s brief explains:
“Moreover, all of the results from Ivey’s play on all trips to the Borgata resulted in [win percentages] of 44.7%, 46.7%, 43.4% and 41.3%. Those actual percentages of win by Ivey are less than that required to establish damages by even a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance, by its very definition, means something more than 50% of the time.”
As a result, Phil Ivey believes that any liability the court has ruled he may have had for exploiting the defective pack of cards does not automatically dictate a damage award for the casino. Whether he will have any success in his brief, however, remains to be seen.

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