Borgata Sues Phil Ivey Over $9.6 Million Baccarat Win


According to NJ.comand a variety of other outlets, the Borgatain Atlantic City has filed suit against poker pro Phil Ivey (pictured) over a $9.6 million baccarat win that occurred two years ago. The site explained, “While playing,Ivey allegedly cheated by fixating on pattern flaws on the back of the cards, a technique commonly known as ‘edge sorting,’ according to the lawsuit.”

If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. In 2012, the same year Borgata alleged the cheating at its casino took place, Ivey booked a £7.3 million win at Punto Banco at Crockfords in London, but that casino refused to pay out.

Punto Banco, as you might know, is a variation of baccarat and, according to our original story on the matter, “The card backs were emblazoned with a diamond pattern that is normally symmetrical. The cards in the game that night, though, were allegedly miscut at the factory, producing an asymmetrical pattern, one where the diamonds on one edge were sliced in half.” Read how Crockfords alleged Ivey cheated.

At both Borgata and Crockfords, Ivey reportedly asked the casino to rotate cards, hold the shoe, and allegedly exploited his knowledge of the mis-cut cards. Our article pointed out, “Crockfords alleges that because of the asymmetrical card backs, the cards that were turned were easily identifiable. Ivey and his friend supposedly used that information to their advantage during later deals.” Here’s a graphic from the Daily Mail that shows the alleged process:

Borgata has also filed suit against Kansas City-based card designer Gemaco, and “a female partner of Ivey’s, Cheng Yin Sun, who allegedly gave instructions to the dealer,” according to

The Press of Atlantic City detailed that in April 2012, “Ivey contacted Borgata to arrange a high-stakes game of baccarat in which he agreed to wire a deposit of $1 million and a maximum bet at $50,000 per hand. Ivey also made special arrangements, including having a private area, or pit, a casino dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese, one eight-deck shoe of purple Gemaco playing cards to be used for each session of the play, and an automatic card shuffling device.”

The same news source added, “Borgata said in the lawsuit that Ivey told them he made these requests because he was superstitious.” However, each of Ivey’s demands, according to Borgata, furthered his ability to “surreptitiously manipulate what he knew to be a defect.”

The automatic card shuffler, for example, would prevent each card from being turned and the purple Gemaco playing cards contained the critical defect. Ivey also visited Borgata in May, July, and October 2012, according to the Press.

CardPlayer revealed that the Crockfords incident is still pending. Borgata officials PocketFives contacted late Friday declined to comment, instead instructing us to get in touch with the casino’s legal department, which was closed for business for the weekend. It remains to be seen if Ivey would be allowed in the casino for the World Poker Tour Championship, which will emanate from Borgata later this month.

Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest.

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    • Is it not the casino’s fault for obliging all his requests? Is it illegal to use the knowledge of this defect to your advantage?

    • you’d think a casino would do a little research on these cards before they used them at 50k per bet.

    • How could it possibly be Ivey’s fault the casino used faulty cards.

      This is what I was thinking. The casino gave him what he needed with no problem it is there fault.

    • I’m still a little confused how Ivey could see the card for the next hand if it is still in the shoe when he places his bet. If they let the cards come out (even face down) before he placed his bet, then it shouldn’t be Ivey getting sued, it should be whatever moron made the decision to let him do that.

    • My attitude towards casinos has always been the same, if they win $9.6m off Ivey through the % edge they give themselves through the games they have created over the years, would you see Ivey sue them? The casino would laugh in his face.Also if there stupid enough not to check the cards before play when a $50k bet was involved and if the croupier allowed his Chinese counterpart to ask for the card to be turned with the croupier either being aware this was allowed, or not being aware that this was not allowed but let it it occur anyway. Then whose fault is this overall?Ivey for spotting the mistake and allowed this to be his % edge? Or the casino for not spotting the mistake and doing the necessary checks before playing?Casinos allow drunk members of the public, blow loads when they should stop them playing due to being intoxicated and not being of sound mind. But they do anyway. So frankly this is karma the way I see it.

    • Wow. Another slash through the Borgata name. First the chip cheating scandal that wasn’t even caught until the final 27, with the borgata probably having the money sitting somewhere collecting interest until it’s resolved, and now Sue someone who beat your dumbass off your neglect? Get outta here!! Atlantic city and the borgata should be ashamed. It’s really sad and funny how this comes up 2YEARS later? What a bunch of clowns. It’s irritating me now.

    • Just another reason online casinos will eventually win the battle. You cant screw up the die cut cards at the factory on Pokerstars. I wouldn’t doubt the casino eye in the sky tells the dealer what cards the player has or some tendency and gives him info in his ear. Hey Sheldon your casinos are cheaters

    • . I feel that his companion was the catalyst in these scams and she needed a whale that could get some odd requests granted so she could get full advantage of the flawed playing cards.

    • Borgata affords him the opportunity to cheat and then turns around and sues him. Completely laughable. It should have just resulted in an expensive lesson to the Borgata being: look for possible restitution by suing the faulty playing card manufacturer and not the player. My guess is that the employees that approved of using those playing cards are invaluable to the Borgata and therefore they don’t want to rest the true origin of their screw-up on their shoulders. Either that or the employees who had approved of using those playing cards was in on the game. Then again I could just be offering another conspiracy theory in the vein of why are the same players always benefiting from BBJ hits?

    • I said the same thing in the last thread about Iveys win overseas.. The only way he could possibly win that much money in Baccarat in that short of period of time was if it was something shady or something wrong. To win that much money with a 50K max bet is not possible unless you have help. Ive dealtl high stakes bacc for years and there is procedures that we have that would immediatly prevent this.. (which is probably why Ivey only played craps with us) What I dont understand is how does he gain the advantage if he cant see the cards in the shoe.. When we deal a hand of baccarat all the bets are final before any cards are out. So the only card you might be able to see the top card in shoe and you cant see the edges of it you can barely see it at all.. And honestly i have no sympathy for Borgata in this case. To allow it to go that long without immediately noticing something was up is there own fault. You would think that your best employees would be allowed to deal and floor that game with Ivey. If they didnt pick up on something right away then either they are incompetent or part of the scam.

    • AFink93 – I agree. I have played a little Baccarat in Vegas and all the bets were placed BEFORE the cards left the shoe – so it seems the irregular pattern on the card back would only be visible on the first card to come out of the shoe.. I would also think the 8’s and 9’s would be the most important cards in the deck and the 8’s and 9’s are the cards that would be turned upside down to mark them as they come out of the shoe. The first card to come out of the shoe would be a ‘players’ card … so if a bettor knew the first card was an 8 or 9, then perhaps the bettor would bet large on the player hand instead of the dealer hand … but I don’t know how much EV this edge could produce. I would welcome any further details about how this alleged scheme could possibly generate such large profits in such a short amount of time ?

  1. I know this thread is old but AFink93- They could see enough of the edge of the first card in the shoe to know what it was. Ivey requested a dealer that spoke Mandarin Chinese because the girl he was playing with, Cheng Yin Sun, also did so also. She spoke to the dealer only in that language, told them that Ivey was superstitious and wanted certain cards, “good cards” (6,7,8,9) turned one way. It is not unusual to be superstitious in this game. The dealer did this by following her one word answer in Chinese as he flipped over the cards going through the shoe. It took more than one time through the shoe to set all the cards.
    13inches- You’re are mostly correct it was 6,7,8,9 that were rotated. House adv. is in the 1% range on both hands and 4.8% on tied hands. With knowledge of the first card Ivey and Sun had an adv. of 6.7% Furthermore their adv. on player hands could go as high as 21.5% and on dealer hands as high as 5.5%. Also Ivey and Sun made 4 trips to Borgota in which they played for many hours each days over a few days. His average bets were anywhere from $25K on the first trip to $93K on later ones. Once the cards were in order he was making maximum bets $100K. He won almost half of the $9.6M on the third trip.