The British courts had no love for Phil Ivey the angleshooter. Ivey lost an appeal in a multi-million dollar gambling dispute he had with a London casino. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner and arguably the greatest poker player of all-time was denied a £7.7 million score playing Punto Blanco (a.k.a. Baccarat) at the Crockfords Casino in London back in 2012. At the time, Ivey's score was worth nearly $12.5 million in 2012. The British Pound Sterling price plummeted in the wake of the Brexit vote, so the actual amount in 2016 is much lower at $9.6 million, but it is still a sizable sum to be denied. Genting U.K. is Southeast Asia's largest gaming company and based out of Malaysia. Genting U.K. also owns the Crockfords Casino.
At the initial hearing in 2014, it came down to whether or not a judge would view Ivey's actions as fair or unfair. Alas, in the initial ruling, Judge John Mitting stated, "(Mr. Ivey) gave himself an advantage which the game precludes. This is in my view cheating."
Ivey originally said, "I believe what we did was nothing more than exploit Crockford's failures. Clearly the judge did not agree. I am getting a second shot and I'm hoping we will win this time around. It is not in my nature to cheat, which is why I was so bitterly disappointed by the judge's decision a year ago, even though he said I was a truthful witness. When you are a professional gambler you are always looking for ways to gain an advantage over the casino. It's their job to prevent me from having any advantage. Sometimes I come out on top, sometimes they do."
Ivey and his attorneys exercised their right to an appeal and the ruling came down this week. It was not the ruling that Ivey had hoped. According to Paul Willcock, the President and COO of Genting U.K., the gaming consortium feel upbeat about by the ruling. "The ruling vindicates the steps that Crockfords has taken in this matter. Crockfords has acted fairly and honestly at all times and we are therefore pleased that the Court of Appeal has held that the decision not to pay out to Mr. Ivey was the correct one."
The Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey also had problems with Ivey's edge sorting tactics. The Borgata sued Ivey for nearly $10 million after he had a hot session back in 2012 in which he nearly walked away with $9.6 million in winnings.
This decision makes no sense. The trial judge said that I was not dishonest and the three appeal judges agreed but somehow the decision has gone against me. Can someone tell me how you can have honest cheating?