Phil Ivey and the Edge Sorting Scandal
It’s quite funny to think that a Poker player lost in the region of $10 million playing Baccarat, but that’s exactly what happened to Phil Ivey. The world famous Poker pro thought he had found an ingenious way to beat Baccarat, a real game of luck, but in the end he got caught out and lost it all – and then some.
The Beginning of the Binge
It all started back in 2012 when Ivey played several Baccarat marathons in Britain and New Jersey. He spent hours at the tables and racked up an amazing sum in winnings. In just 4 visits to the Borgata in Atlantic City he took home over $9 million, and in a 2-day binge at Crockfords Casino in London he walked away with more than $10 million.
But then someone caught on to the fact that Ivey might not be playing the game the way it was meant to be played, and as Baccarat is a game of luck, much like the playing bingo for real money has to offer, it seemed like his had finally run out.
An Eye on Edge Sorting
Both the Borgata and Crockfords decided to take a closer look at Ivey’s winnings and when they did, they straight away called foul. It turned out that Ivey had been using a technique called Edge Sorting and this technique helped him identify cards that were beneficial by the patterns on their backs.
Both casinos straight up said that Ivey had been cheating, and when they called him on, it he openly admitted that this was how he had won. He also said that the technique was legitimate and that like card counting, it wasn’t illegal or unlawful.
The biggest issue seemed to be not just the fact that Ivey had been using this technique, but that he had won so much money. Both casinos probably wouldn’t have noticed if he had won large regular amounts, but the over-the-million winnings he was racking up in such a short space of time caught their attention. The fact that he is already a famous Poker player would have put him on their radar, but with wins that ran into the millions he may well have shone a spotlight in his own face!
A Costly Court Battle
The Borgata and Crockfords, owned by the Genting Group both took Ivey to court, in the USA and in the UK respectively. The 2 court battles played out in public, with many watching to see whether the pro player would have to return his winnings, and what the outcome would be. In the end, a New Jersey judge ordered Ivey to return a whopping $9.6 million to the Borgata and the case was closed.
Over the pond in London, Ivey’s court battle turned out to be along and protracted one, but in the end he lost his bid to recover $10.2 million in winnings from Crockfords. He walked away empty handed, and had to pay extensive legal fees, and is no doubt now sticking to the Poker tables rather than those that offer Baccarat!