Phil Ivey Loses Crockfords Club Legal Battle

ian bruce
Written by Ian Bruce
Published on Friday 27th October 2017, 10:44 am
Posted in: Casino Legal

Casino Legal

Professional poker player Phil Ivey’s legal battle with Crockfords Club in Mayfair has finally come to an end, with the Supreme Court upholding a Court of Appeal ruling which dismissed his attempt to get his hands on £7.7 million in withheld winnings. Regular readers will know that this is a story which has been running for years, ever since Ivey won the sum from Crockfords in August 2012 by using an ‘edge sorting technique’ when playing Punto Banco.

What is Edge Sorting?

Edge sorting involves noticing slight imperfections on the reverse side of playing cards in an attempt to gain a mathematical advantage over the casino, and Ivey used the technique to great effect to win the millions in question. However, Genting Casinos UK, which owns the Crockfords venue, viewed his use of the technique as cheating, and therefore chose to withhold the winnings, but to also return the player’s £1 million stake money.

History of the Phil Ivey Crockfords Case

Ivey sued the casino, but lost his case in October 2014, when High Court Judge John Mitting said that the advantage he gained from the edge sorting technique was in fact a form of cheating – a claim which Ivey vigorously contested. The poker player appealed that decision two years later, but lost the appeal, and so he took the case to the Supreme Court in a final effort to win his case.

The Final Judgement

Five Supreme Court judges have now unanimously upheld the Court of Appeal decision, with Lord Hughes saying, ‘What Mr Ivey did was to stage a carefully planned and executed sting.’

Paul Willcock, who is Chief Operating Officer at Genting UK, welcomed the decision. ‘This has been a landmark case in how the courts approach cheating in the modern day,’ he said. ‘This entirely vindicates Genting's decision not to pay Mr Ivey, a decision that was not taken lightly.’

Ivey was obviously disappointed with the decision. In a statement made after the ruling, he said: ‘It makes no sense that the UK Supreme Court has ruled against me, in my view, contrary to the facts and any possible logic involved in our industry. It is because of my sense of honour and respect for the manner in which gambling is undertaken by professional gamblers such as myself that I have pursued this claim for my unpaid winnings.’

With that legal pursuit having now come to nought, we would expect Ivey to throw himself back into his work as a professional poker player. His legal fight will certainly send a message to players who had planned to use such techniques in casinos in the future.

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