Borgata Asserts Phil Ivey Now Able to Repay $10.1M Without Impacting Poker Career

Borgata Asserts Phil Ivey Now Able to Repay $10.1M Without Impacting Poker Career

During Phil Ivey’s edge-sorting litigation involving Crockfords casino in London, and the Borgata in Atlantic City, the high-stakes pro laid low on the tournament scene and between July 2014 and May of 2018 has only recorded three live cashes. Having now lost both his cases in court, Ivey announced his return to tournament poker at the end of 2017, and this year has risen to prominence once more after taking part in numerous events around the globe.

Unfortunately for Ivey, his public appearance on the high-stakes tournament scene also caught the attention of Borgata, with the casino’s lawyers filing court documents on August 4th demanding their delayed repayment of $10.1 million be settled at once. According to their argument, Ivey’s cashes at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series and WSOP this summer demonstrates that he is clearly able to put together a sufficient bankroll to play poker for a living, and that repaying the amount owed would not seriously impact his future career.

Delayed Repayment

While Crockfords in the UK became suspicious and retained the money Ivey won at its baccarat tables, Borgata, on the other hand, payed out all his winnings and only realized the poker pro had taken advantage of defects on the back of the casino’s playing cards after the previous case hit the headlines. After losing his case, Ivey’s legal team then argued that repaying the $10.1 million amount owed in a lump sum would be of “devastating impact” and cause “irreparable harm” to the player’s ability to fund his poker career. As Borgata lawyers retorted recently, though:

“This case is about money, nothing more and nothing less. Ivey already has Borgata’s $10 million and he is clearly not in danger of going out of business. Defendants did not and cannot demonstrate irreparable harm as a matter of law.”

$565 Colossus to $1m One Drop

This year, Ivey has entered a number of live tournaments featuring vastly different buy-ins. At one end of the scale, the Poker Hall of Famer booked a 1,024th place finish at the $565 WSOP No Limit Hold’em Colossus event for $2,048, while at the other he entered the Triton Poker Super High Roller in Montenegro, eventually recording a third place finish at its US$127,000 (HKD1m) Series Short Deck Ante-Only Event for US$1,666,480.

Ivey even took part at this year’s $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop, alongside a field of 27 players, although he ultimately failed to cash in at one of its five money places. More recently, Ivey was in action at the Triton Poker Series Jeju in South Korea, but once again failed to secure a single money finish.

Cash Games Key

The Borgata has obviously been using Ivey’s buy-ins on the tournament circuit to make its case for immediate repayment, and in an almost dismissive comment the Borgata legal team even suggested Ivey could continue plying his trade playing low stakes games. As they subsequently stated:

“Ivey’s skill and success as a professional poker player are well documented. He is in the top 3 for poker winnings all time, and there is no suggestion that he cannot continue to be successful. Entrance fees for other poker tournaments are far less than $10,000 and one can play online poker with initial deposits of under $100. He is not in danger of being prevented from playing poker.”

Nevertheless, Ivey’s tournament portfolio is unlikely to provide him with the means to repay his debt to Borgata, especially considering how difficult it is to make any meaningful money playing in MTTs. Daniel Negreanu, the world’s second most winning player, for instance, cashed for nearly $2.8 million in 2017, but still ultimately ended up losing $86,140 for the year.

Of course, Phil Ivey has the added benefit of being one of the world’s most accomplished cash poker players, and regularly spends his time competing at high-stakes games in Asia, where games running as high as $4,000/$8,000 are often played, and pots are measured in the millions of dollars. In other words, Ivey’s bankroll is more closely tied to his performance on the live cash scene and not tournament circuit, and as such his earnings are likely to continue being a mystery as most of the ‘big games’ take place in a private setting away from the gaze of reporters or poker data collecting sites.