Phil Ivey, a 10-time winner of the World Series of Poker tournament who’s suing a Genting Bhd. (GENT) unit for 7.7 million pounds ($12.3 million) in unpaid winnings, said he uses every strategy that is legal to boost his chances.
“As a professional gambler, my job is to seek to lawfully reverse or reduce the perceived house edge,” Ivey said in a witness statement on the second day of a London trial.
Ivey, 38, won the money playing a form of Baccarat called Punto Banco, using a technique known as edge sorting, at Genting’s Crockfords casino in London, according to his lawyers. Genting refused to pay up, saying the practice is unfair.
“I would not be doing my job very well if I did not seek to use to my benefit weaknesses that I identify in the way that casinos set up or offer particular casino games,” he said in his statement made available by the court.
Genting is Southeast Asia’s largest casino operator with a market capitalization of over $35 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Last year it bought a Las Vegas site, once home to the Stardust resort, for $350 million.
Both sides agree that Ivey was in the casino in August 2012 and that he won the money. “The issue is whether it amounted to cheating,” Christopher Pymont, Genting’s lawyer, said in documents filed at London’s High Court.
Edge Sorting ???
Edge sorting is a way a card player can gain an advantage by working out the value of a card by spotting flaws or particular patterns on the back of certain cards.
Ivey, a U.S. citizen, said that he believes all his techniques to be lawful. “It is not in my nature to cheat and nor would I risk my reputation by acting unlawfully in any manner,” he said in his witness statement.
Ivey has career earnings of more than $21 million from live tournaments alone, according to his website, which says he is considered as “the greatest poker player in the game.”
Ivey describes himself as an “advantage player,” someone who is highly skilled at trying to tip the odds in his favor. Casinos will either bar people they have identified as advantage players or invite them to play games they think the player won’t get an edge, he said in his statement.
Examples of advantage players are card counters, shuffle trackers and bias wheel players, who statistically find evidence of bias in roulette wheels to aid their betting strategies, he said.
“Casinos don’t like card counters, shuffle trackers, bias wheel players or any skilled or advantage players, though none of these advantage-play strategies are considered illegal,” Ivey said in his statement.
The case is Ivey v. Genting Casinos, High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, no. HQ13X05873