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Casino claims gambler won $9.6 million by cheating

By Wayne Parry

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:23 a.m. HST, Apr 12, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. >> An Atlantic City casino is suing a big-time gambler, claiming he won $9.6 million in a card-cheating scheme in baccarat.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Phillip Ivey Jr., considered one of the best poker players in the world.

The lawsuit alleges Ivey and an associate exploited a defect in cards made by a Kansas City manufacturer that enabled them to sort and arrange good cards in baccarat. The technique gave him an unfair advantage on four occasions between April and October 2012, the casino asserted in its lawsuit.

The casino claims the technique, called edge sorting, violates New Jersey casino gambling regulations. Its senior vice president, Joe Lupo, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Ivey's lawyer declined to comment on Friday.

The lawsuit claims the cards, manufactured by Gemaco Inc., were defective in that the pattern on the back of them was not uniform. The cards have rows of small white circles designed to look like the tops of cut diamonds, but the Borgata claims some of them were only a half diamond or a quarter of one.

The company is also fighting a lawsuit from another Atlantic City casino, the Golden Nugget, claiming the firm provided unshuffled cards that led to gamblers beating the casino for $1.5 million. Gemaco did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit claims that Ivey and his companion instructed a dealer to flip cards in particular ways, depending on whether it was a desirable card in baccarat. The numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9 are considered good cards. Bad cards would be flipped in different directions, so that after several hands of cards, the good ones were arranged in a certain manner -- with the irregular side of the card facing in a specific direction -- that Ivey could spot when they came out of the dealer chute.

The lawsuit claims Ivey wanted the cards shuffled by an automatic shuffling machine, which would not alter the way each card was aligned.

A lawsuit filed in Britain's High Court by the Malaysia-based Genting Group, a major casino operator, makes a similar claim against Ivey. It alleges Ivey and an accomplice amassed almost $12 million by cheating at baccarat. In that case, Ivey has denied any misconduct.

Ivey has won nine World Series of Poker bracelets. He compares himself on his website to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali.

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st1d wrote:
isn't it the responsibility of the dealer and ultimately the casino to determine the suitability of each card in each deck to be used for gambling purposes?

the dealer and pit workers should have noticed ivey's peculiar request and uncovered the reason far before awarding ivey millions of dollars won in the games.

after all, the casinos sell used decks of cards that can be scrutinized by professional gamblers for unique markings and discrepancies and should expect that these markings and discrepancies would be used to gain advantages.

on April 11,2014 | 04:47PM
808ikea wrote:
Sounds like sour grapes. It doesn't sound like Ivey caused the defect or marked the card, but it does sound like Ivey was smart enough to detect the defect and use it to his advantage. It sounds like a case of bad quality control on the casino's part and not a case of cheating.
on April 11,2014 | 06:20PM
stingray65 wrote:
Sore losser?
on April 11,2014 | 07:58PM
Kapaho wrote:
Was the cards brought by Ivey? It they were the casino's cards, then they have nothing to complain about.
on April 11,2014 | 06:57PM
samsdad wrote:
decks of cards are checked several times prior to being put into play. Even if the cards were "defective", its not the players responsibility to identify the problem to the dealer. The fault lies with the house not players in any casino card game. After Ivey is cleared of any wrong doing, he should boycott all further appearances at the Borgata Casino.
on April 11,2014 | 07:32PM
localguy wrote:
Casinos hate it when they get caught being utterly incompetent, willfully failing to do their job to ensure fair gambling. Then when they know they failed, they try to spin their failure on someone else. Dealers are told how to deal, players cannot override this. Same with the cards, casinos are responsible for ensuring cards meet standards. Again casino bureaucrats failed. Hey, you fail, you lose. Not the player's problem. Learn from your mistakes and fix your incompetence. Deal with it.
on April 11,2014 | 08:14PM
HOSSANA wrote:
What a bunch of sore losers!! If you lose to the casinos, no problem. Win at the casinos and the casinos will accuse you of cheating or manipulating the odds or whatever. Ivey didn't make the cards nor did he manufacture or tell the casino what deck of cards to use in the baccarat game. Its the casinos fault...nothing more and nothing less.
on April 11,2014 | 09:03PM
eros_et_logia wrote:
It doesn't seem possible to win that kind of money in baccarat on a consistent basis.
on April 11,2014 | 09:16PM
what wrote:
Did you guys read the article? Ivey and the dealer were working together. The dealer arranged the good cards a certain way so Ivey could spot them. The defect in the cards could only work with the dealer's help - the defect only reveals which direction the card oriented, it does not reveal what the card is.
on April 11,2014 | 09:16PM
Wardog wrote:
You're an idiot. Reread the article.
on April 11,2014 | 11:09PM
krusha wrote:
Why didn't they sue the dealer instead if he was the reason why they lost all that money? Seems like casinos think they must win all the time and the odds are greatly stacked against the players in the long run. When the odds are reversed, then they cry foul. If that's the case, then they should stop offering that Baccarat game at their casinos in the first place, or just put a limit on how much you can bet at that game.
on April 12,2014 | 01:44AM
st1d wrote:
once ivey wins more than $50K it's the pit bosses responsibility to check the irregularities, including calling the security team to have them scrutinize what's going on.

as it is against the law, the assumption is that casinos requested the law and are fully aware of the schemes involved to line up card edges. that the casinos allowed millions to be transferred to ivey is their fault.

on April 12,2014 | 01:13PM
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