Casino Sues Poker Superstar Phil Ivey for Cheating at Baccarat


First it was Alex Rodriguez. Then it was Lance Armstrong. Now, allegedly, the latest superstar cheater from the world of sports (or, at least, games that are televised on ESPN) is Phil Ivey.

In case you’re not a big poker fan, Ivey is only one of the biggest names in the game. The 38-year-old New Jersey native has won nine World Series of Poker bracelets and one World Poker Tour title. For that reason, he’s taken to calling himself “the Tiger Woods of poker”—which is pretty bold, but also kind of accurate, because he does look a lot like Tiger.

According to the Borgata Hotel, Casino, and Spa in Atlantic City, Ivey and an associate carried out an “edge sorting” scheme back in 2012 that netter them a whopping $9.6 million in winnings. So, you know, the casino is suing him.

What the hell is edge sorting, you ask? In a nutshell, it’s when a cards player notices a defect in the pattern on the back of a set of cards and then uses that defect to sort the cards and gain an advantage over the house.

In this case, the casino alleges Ivey and his associate noticed an asymmetry in the diamond pattern on the back of the Gemaco brand cards being used in a game of baccarat. Basically, two edges of the cards were not exactly the same. Thus, Ivey and his partner were able to turn good cards one way and bad cards another way. Then they asked the dealer to use a shuffling machine, which meant the cards would never be turned or rotated. And that enabled them to tell whether the first card out of the shoe (card holder) was good or bad, giving them a 6.767% edge over the house.

(Read more about edge sorting, here.)

This is not the first time Ivey has run into trouble over edge sorting. In August 2013, Ivey exploited defects in cards at a London casino to win $13 million. But the casino wouldn’t pay up, so in September Ivey sued them, arguing that he was just making use of any advantage given to him—which sounds fair to me.

Of course, what sounds fair to me and what is legal in the State of New Jersey are two different things. We’ll have to wait to see what the courts say about all this.

Hat Tip – [Bleacher Report]

Tags: cheating, phil ivey, Poker2, scandal, World Series of Poker,