POKER PRO LOSES BORGATA CASE
Federal judge rules that Phil Ivey and his partners conduct was wrong.
Phil Ivey has lost in his four-year legal tussle with the Borgata over baccarat winnings; on Friday a US federal judge ruled that he and a companion violated New Jersey state gambling regulations in the manner in which they won nearly $10 million playing at the Atlantic City casino.
U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman found that the duo did not meet their obligation to follow gambling regulations on four occasions in 2012 by having a dealer at the Borgata arrange Baccarat cards so they could tell what kind of card was coming next, thus shifting the odds unfairly in their favour.
However, the judge dismissed Borgata charges that the pair had committed fraud, and the casino now has 20 days to outline the damages it says it suffered.
"Borgata and Ivey had the same goal when they entered into their arrangement: to profit at the others expense," the judge wrote. "Trust is a misplaced sentiment in this context."
Our readers will recall that Ivey and his partner Cheng Yin Sun were accused of exploiting a defect in the manufacture of the cards to edge-sort, which is against state gambling regulations.
Ivey responded by claiming his win was the result of skill and keen observation.
The judge noted that Ivey and companion instructed dealers to arrange the cards in a certain way, which is permitted under the rules of the game, after Sun noticed minute differences in them. But he ruled those actions did violate state Casino Control Act and their contractual obligation to abide by it in gambling at the casino.
Ivey and Sun, the judge wrote, "view their actions to be akin to cunning, but not rule-breaking, maneuvers performed in many games." He added that Suns "mental acumen" in spotting the minute differences in the patterns on the back of the cards was "remarkable."
"But even though Ivey and Suns cunning and skill did not break the rules of Baccarat," the judge wrote, "what sets Ivey and Suns actions apart from deceitful maneuvers in other games is that those maneuvers broke the rules of gambling as defined in this state."