Phil Ivey Able To Read The Cards According To CrockfordsMay 13, 2013 11:05 am
Last August, Las Vegas poker legend Phil Ivey won £7.3 million ($12.1m) playing punto banco at the renowned Genting Crockfords in Mayfair, London. Unfortunately for Ivey, Crockfords subsequently refused to pay him his winnings and now the legal dispute has taken an even uglier turn after Crockfords have accused the 37 year old of exploiting a defective pack of cards to gain a huge edge over the house.
According to Britain’s oldest casino, the cards used during the high-stakes game of punto banco were of a low quality and did not have a uniform geometric pattern on their backs. Apparently, the eagle-eyed Ivey was was then able to read the backs of the cards thus enabling him to gain an unfair advantage over the casino. This system is known in the casino industry as ‘playing the turn’ and as leading casino surveillance specialist Willy Allison previously explained:
“By turning an asymmetrical card 180 degrees it is possible to identify what the value of the card is before it is revealed. You simply glance at the edges on the back of the card. Essentially, playing the turn has the same effect as marking the cards and gives players a huge house edge. Who needs invisible ink and red-tinted sunglasses when you’ve got manufacturer-made “marked cards.”
It is for this reason Crockfords have claimed they withheld payment, and have since announced they would be vigorously defending themselves against Phil Ivey’s High Court lawsuit. Revealing further details about the incident, Ivey allegedly entered Crockfords with a lady who had previously had $1 million in winnings withheld for similar reasons from a US casino in 2011. In addition, Crockfords have said Ivey’s partner convinced its dealers to hold up the cards during play, and not to destroy cards after sessions so that they could be used again.
Needless to say Phil Ivey maintains he has done nothing illegal, and so the high-stakes battle is set to enter the UK law courts with both Crockfords and Ivey reputations on the line. If Ivey is found to have been ‘playing the turn,’ he may well find himself on a casino black list for non-poker events, which could be enforced by gambling venues across the world.