Phil Ivey’s $12 Million Casino Dispute

World renowned poker player Phil Ivey (seriously, this guy has nine World Series of Poker bracelets) is filing suit against a British casino, Crockfords, after they withheld £7.8 million (about $12 million) in winnings from him.

Ivey visited the casino last August, playing several nights of punto banco, a type of baccarat based solely on chance. Apparently the cards used in the game were flawed; because of a problem with how they were cut when they were manufactured overseas, the black and white diamond patter on the backs were not completely symmetrical.

Crockfords, which, at 184, is the oldest private gaming club in the world, is alleging that Ivey and an unnamed companion took advantage of this flaw to the tune of millions. The aim of the game is to hold cards to a count of nine, or closes to nine. Key cards are eights, nines, sevens, and sixes; Ivey’s companion apparently asked that they be rotated when they appeared, claiming that Ivey was superstitious. The dealer apparently entertained this request, as it ought not have mattered—except that the cards weren’t perfectly symmetrical.

Ivey apparently went down £500,000 as they played through the shoe, but swiftly bounced back when the now-turned cards came back around.

Crockfords now has casino surveillance specialists looking into tapes of the game; they plan on opposing Ivey’s suit.

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