Ivey Acknowledges Edge Sorting but no Cheating

After taking legal action against the Crockfords Casino of London, the establishment withholding his £7.8 million in winnings, poker legend Phil Ivey has now admitted that he had indeed been able to exploit a design flaw of the cards in his baccarat game. Still, he denies cheating.

Phil Ivey

Last year, Ivey enjoyed the hospitality of the prestigious Crockfords Casino in London, playing Punto Banco on the £50,000 stakes. After being allowed to raise the bet per hand limit to £150,000, he played for two consecutive nights and ended up with £7.8 million in winnings from the baccarat game. After getting back his buy-in, Ivey received a receipt for his winnings but got eventually notified of a pending investigation against him, being under suspicion of collusion.

This May, Ivey decided to sue the casino for not paying out his winnings, saying “Over the years I have won and lost substantial sums at Crockfords and I have always honoured my commitments. At the time, I was given a receipt for my winnings but Crockfords subsequently withheld payment. I, therefore, feel I have no alternative but to take legal action.”

Crockfords Casino London

Crockfords responded that they had been investigating and they accused Ivey and his female partner, “Kelly”, of cheating, exploiting a design flaw in a deck of cards. The deck consisted of full bleed design cards which are prone to display asymmetric patterns, making it possible to recognise certain cards. The poker pro and his companion even got the dealer to turn the cards so that they had an even easier job recognising the individual cards.

Eventually, Ivey has recently recognised that he “read the cards but [he is] no cheat”. Officials, on the other hand, say that Ivey and his companion are adept at “identifying the design flaws” of the cards, using a technique called edge sorting to gain an unfair edge. The casino keeps refusing paying Ivey’s winnings, while the renowned pro claims he had done nothing wrong, merely exploiting a flaw on the casino’s part.

Do you think Ivey deserves his money or should he be prosecuted for cheating?