The fight between poker player Phil Ivey and the Borgata Casino of Atlantic City has been ongoing for some time now. Since 2012, the Borgata has been seeking restitution due to baccarat game play by Ivey. The civil trail between the two has finally come to an end and Ivey is on the losing side, now having to pay $10.1 million to the gaming venue in damages.
The decision was released late last week in which Ivey and Cheng Yin Sin, his playing partner, were given orders by the United States District Judge Noel Hillman to pay damages to the Borgata of $10.1 million. More could have been issued as payment by the judge due to the casino wanting more based on if Ivey had been losing but the judge in the case rejected the Borgata’s claim as it was considered ‘too speculative’. Once all information had been heard, Hillman said his ruling came down to a single fact.
Hillman noted that both Ivey and Sun admitted they used an edge sorting technique while playing the game which the judge said was in violation of a ban on marked cards. Edge sorting is a technique that is used by the player as they see slight cutting errors on the cards then have the cards adjusted so that they would been seen again and the appropriate moves can be made for the win.
While the two players felt they were playing an advantage, having the ability to use the information they found to shift the odds in their favor, the judge didn’t buy it. Hillman actually gave the Borgata more than what Ivey had won during the four baccarat sessions as some money won was played on other games. Ivey actually earned just $9 million from the venue.
The main point of contention on the side of Ivey was that he never touched any of the playing cards to mark them. Ivey asked the casino to use a private playing area back in 2012 and a dealer who could speak Mandarin Chinese. He also asked for a specific type of cards as well as an automatic shuffler. As Ivey would play, Sun would have the dealer turn an advantageous card 180 degrees claiming the move was a superstition of Ivey. However, it was done so that the card could be identified when it came up during a new deal. To the players, this was not a form of manipulation of the cards.
For now, Ivey does have the ability to appeal in a higher court but it is not likely that the judgement in the civil suit would be overruled in an appeal. There is a chance that the Borgata and Ivey could reach a settlement deal but one could assume that the Borgata would not be willing to settle for less than what has been awarded by Hillman.
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