Phil Ivey Loses His Lawsuit Against Crockfords – Judge Deems Ivey ‘Truthful Witness’5 years ago
Absence of Phil Ivey at this year’s WSOP APAC has been noticed by many, but great Phil had a good reason for his absence as his £7.7 million lawsuit against Crockfords Casino, owned and operated by the Genting Casinos UK, finally came before the judges of the High Court in London. After several days of legal battles, presiding judge Mr. Justice Mitting ruled that Ivey did not have a legitimate claim on his baccarat winnings from 2012.
Back in August of 2012, Ivey admittedly used a technique known as edge-sorting to beat a game of punto banco (a form of baccarat) over a two day period. Since then, Ivey has openly admitted to using this technique, claiming that he did not see it as a cheating but merely as exploiting an edge he found in the game.
Judge clearly failed to agree with this stipulation as he brought the decision in favor of the casino, but did mention in his decision that Ivey was a ‘truthful witness’. It rings true, as Ivey could have gone the other way and tried to play stupid, claiming that everything he has done was only done out of superstition or similar, forcing the casino to prove he was lying. Instead, he came clean and explained that he just used his skills to beat the game which is inherently set up in such a manner to put a player in a position of disadvantage.
Through his spokesman, Ivey stated the following:
I am pleased that the judge acknowledged in court that I was a truthful witness. I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy and we did nothing more than exploit Crockfords' failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability. Clearly today the judge did not agree.
It is hard to miss the mix of irony and gambler-like attitude in the last sentence, similar to shrugging of a bead beat with a half-smile and the usual ‘oh, well’. But from a perspective of a player and an ordinary person, it is really hard to be against Ivey in this matter.
Would any casino ever give money back to a customer because they were too drunk and were not accountable for their actions? Of course not, and even if taken to court, they would win in majority of instances. You are an adult and responsible for your behavior – no one forced you to gamble.
How is it then, when a huge casino, with a bunch of security and other staff, makes a bad judgment (because that’s basically all there is to it – they’ve never stopped to wonder why Ivey and his partner insisted on those particular cards), they get to cry ‘cheaters’?
In fact, Genting’s lawyers were well aware of the fact that ‘cheaters’ card would probably not stand, so they came up with the phrase – ‘defeated purpose of the game’. One must wonder, what is the purpose of the game? As far as I know, purpose of most of the games, or better to say – the reason for playing – is beating the game. I guess casinos see it differently; for them, purpose is clearly filling their coffers and they wouldn’t have it any other way if they can help it.
There is a phrase that says something along the lines 'possession is 9/10th's of the law', and it seems befitting in this case. Had Ivey been paid the money he won, in all likelihood the outcome would have been different. By withholding the money won, Crockfords gave themselves much better chance of keeping it that way.
With this thing out of the way, Phil and his team of lawyers have another concern to face, and that’s Borgata’s lawsuit where he is the one holding the money. Since it will take place before a US court, today’s decision should not have much, if any, bearing on the outcome of that case.
Overall, somewhat disappointing decision all things considered, but casinos are casinos for a reason – and that reason is not their love for giving away the money, and a law system is often not well equipped to deal with these instances.
All that said, I do believe Mr. Ivey will bounce just fine – after all, he’s been around for a while and the world of highstakes poker and gambling is where he feels at home. It will take more than couple million to bring him down!
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