NJ casino alleges famous poker player cheated in $9.6M win

Apr 11, 2014, 7:29 pm (71 comments)


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 suit alleges Ivey and an associate exploited a defect in cards made by a Kansas City manufacturer that enabled them to sort and arrange so-called "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. Joe Lupo, the Borgata's senior vice president, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

There was no immediate response to a message sent Friday to Ivey's Twitter account. A lawyer who represents Ivey said he would eventually respond to a request for comment. Ivey's website did not include a contact email or phone number.

The suit claims the cards, manufactured by Gemaco Inc., and used in the baccarat games 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 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. Other "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 suit 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. The suit 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.




I want to be the Tiger Woods of "knocking over the cheesy poofs".

lottoguysocal's avatarlottoguysocal

sounds like the casino just doesn't want to pay up.  can't imagine him "cheating" and them allowing him to walk out of the casino knowing that he cheated.

Marilyn222's avatarMarilyn222

Ha! It will take years before they could prove it...lawyers are very good on twisting things around...on the other hand, the monies will be gone by then before they go to prison, the lawyer will take it all! hehehehe...

Jon D's avatarJon D

Always fun hearing about these kinds of stories.

No matter how tight the security and procedures are, no matter how confident the house is in their guaranteed mathematical advantage, players always find a way. Bandit

I guess in these Borgata games players didn't "squeeze" or mangle the cards as they were played. Lots of placed I've played baccarat with lots of asian players, the cards get so mangled that they cannot shuffle and reuse them, so this ploy wouldn't work.

grwurston's avatargrwurston

If the cards were defective then why did the casino use them?  The guy is a nine time poker champion so obviously he knows

what he's doing. Sounds like the casino is mad cause they got beat.

mrcraft's avatarmrcraft

I don't get it.  Doesn't the casino supply the cards?  So, if there was a defect that he spotted and took advantage of, why is the casino suing him?  How about the dealer?  Did he/she get fired and being sued?  Is the card manufacturer being sued too?

This sounds like a frivolous lawsuit.

veganlife125's avatarveganlife125

I enjoy watching the world poker tour and the world series of poker on tv.  It's hard to believe these charges would be brought without the evidence intact.  It would hurt the gambling industry's reputation to be wrong and they need it to discourage other cheaters. 

When the gaming commissions of New Jersey, Malaysia, and Las Vegas get after you it might as well be the fbi or cia.   Between the card maker, the dealer, and Ivey's accomplice a good guess would be that one of them rolled over for a plea bargain lessor charge because these alligations carrying serious consequences if proven.

If the charges stick his career is over.  Lets hope justice is done either way in spite of the bitterness some have toward the casino industry.

Jon D's avatarJon D

Quote: Originally posted by mrcraft on Apr 11, 2014

I don't get it.  Doesn't the casino supply the cards?  So, if there was a defect that he spotted and took advantage of, why is the casino suing him?  How about the dealer?  Did he/she get fired and being sued?  Is the card manufacturer being sued too?

This sounds like a frivolous lawsuit.


If a casino is to cheap to buy quality playing cards with symmetric designs, they deserve what they get. If a casino is to cheap to replace a deck when it shows wear, they deserve to lose. If casinos are too cheap to buy flip-flop card sorters, they deserve to be taken advantage of.


The house allowed him to play knowing full well that his a seasoned player.It's quite possible that they had beaten him in the past- this time he came loaded for bear and walked away with millions.
If you don't like the competition- don't allow them in.Did he win those championships by cheating, if not its a matter of " spilt milk" by the house.


Quote: Originally posted by Jon D on Apr 11, 2014


“One of the most closely-guarded secrets in the upper echelons of casino advantage (+) play is the practice of card sorting, known as “the turn” … The technique is predicated on the imperfections in the manufacturing process of casino playing cards.What? The backs of the cards, which generally contain some sort of repeating diamond or geometrical pattern, are often asymmetrical. If examined closely, it will be revealed that the top and bottom or right and left edges of the cards are not identical …


I read a while, but got bored, and I dont really see the imperfections as they explain it.

In the oceans eleven movie they got into the dice manufacturer, and they tampered with the dice.  Like the loaded dice in octopu$$y.  Malaysia must have James bond working for them. 

If the manufacturer created a faulty card then the manufacturer could have a mole.

P.S. You could never pull this off with my geico playing cards.

mypiemaster's avatarmypiemaster

Another lousy excuse not to pay up. JUST PAY THE MAN.

Marilyn222's avatarMarilyn222

Quote: Originally posted by mypiemaster on Apr 11, 2014

Another lousy excuse not to pay up. JUST PAY THE MAN.

I Agree!


The casino is full of bull you know what, that person has no need to do as they claim, besides they should not be able to fairly prove it, they don't want to pay him that is all.

Whenever somebody wins big money, the casinos always claim that the person violated some kind of gambling rule.

Casinos are full of, well I already said what they are full of.

They should just declare that winning is against casinos' gambling rules.


Just as the lottery outfits say that people can only win by chance and therefore the same person can't keep on winning often as it is against probability rules.

So that if somebody wins often and makes a regular profit that person must be cheating as Math says that that is not possible to do as the lottery games are games of chance and the odds are heavily against anybody winning often and making a regular profit.

They are also full of bull, Math people seem to know nothing about statistical prediction.

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