Borgata: Poker Star Phil Ivey Cheated Us Out of $10 Million Using Edge Sorting

The Atlantic City casino lays out the allegations in a federal lawsuit.


The Borgata in Atlantic City has filed a federal lawsuit against poker star Phil Ivey, claiming that the professional gambler cheated the casino out of nearly $10 million during high-stakes baccarat play.

Ivey visited the Borgata several times in 2012. According to the suit, his baccarat play started with a maximum bet of $50,000 per hand. Over the course of the year, Ivey won large sums of money ($4.79 million over 17 hours of play in July 2012 alone), and the casino raised his maximum bet to $100,000 per hand.

The lawsuit alleges that Ivey insisted that the casino use purple Gemaco playing cards, and the Borgata now claims that Ivey exploited a defect in those playing cards to his advantage.

Here is what the back of the card should have looked like:


And here is what the defective cards looked like, says the Borgata. (The annotations are found in the suit.)


To the untrained eye, these cards look the same. But to the poker pro, these differences can be used to influence the odds that you will win a hand. And that’s what Ivey allegedly did. According to the suit, Ivey managed to change the odds of the game from a 1.06% house advantage to a 6.765% advantage for himself.

This isn’t the first time that Ivey has been accused of edge sorting. In 2013, Ivey sued Britain’s oldest casino after the establishment withheld some of his winnings, alleging that he used edge sorting to beat the house. Ivey has publicly admitted using the technique but insists that edge sorting isn’t cheating. The Borgata is also suing the playing card manufacturer.

Ivey is largely considered to be the best poker player alive today. He has won nine World Series of Poker bracelets and one World Poker Tour title.

PHOTO: Creative Commons via Wikipedia

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