Judge Rules Against Phil Ivey in London Edge-Sorting Case

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Poker legend Phil Ivey (pictured) took one of the most expensive beats of his career on Wednesday when a London judge dismissed his $12.5 million suit against Crockfords Casino, ruling that the 38-year-old’s actions had constituted cheating.

“Crockfords is pleased with the judgment of the High Court today, supporting its defense of the claim by Ivey,” said a spokesman for the Genting-owned casino. “We attach the greatest importance to our exemplary reputation for fair, honest, and professional conduct, and today’s ruling vindicates the steps we have taken in this manner.”

Ivey also gave his response through a spokesman: “I’m obviously disappointed with this judge’s decision. As I said in court, it is not my nature to cheat and I would never do anything to risk my reputation. I am pleased that the judge acknowledged in court that I was a truthful witness.”

But as the judge said in his ruling, it didn’t matter whether Ivey believed that using edge-sorting as a winning strategy was cheating or not. “The fact that Mr. Ivey was generally convinced that he did not cheat and that the practice commanded considerable support from others was not determinative of the question of whether it amounted to cheating,” he said.

In 2012, Ivey, along with well-known “advantage player” Cheng Yin Sun, arranged to play high-stakes Punto Banco at the London casino. As part of the deal, the pair requested that Crockfords supply a specific shuffling machine, a purple deck of Gemaco playing cards, and a Mandarin-speaking Asian dealer.

The casino agreed and Ivey went on to score the eight-figure win after just two sessions. After an investigation though, Crockfords cried foul, refunded his £1 million deposit, and refused to pay the rest.

“What Mr. Ivey and Miss Sun did was to persuade the croupier to turn some of the cards in the dealing shoe to permit them to know that they were or were very likely to be sevens, eights, or nines,” the judge said.

He reasoned that Ivey was not simply taking advantage of an error made by the dealer or an anomaly practiced by the casino which he had no part in bringing about. “He was doing it in circumstances where he knew that she and her superiors did not know the consequences of what she had done at his instigation.”

In conclusion, he stated, “This is, in my view, cheating for the purpose of civil law.” The case was then dismissed with costs, with the judge stating it was “immaterial that the casino could have protected itself” simply by using correctly cut playing cards.

Ivey’s battle with Crockfords is the first of two lawsuits brought on by his use of edge-sorting to win millions at the tables. During the same year, the poker pro played several sessions of mini baccarat at Borgata, winning and cashing out $9.6 million. Once the Atlantic City casino caught wind of Crockfords’ investigation, they claimed Ivey had “cheated” them as well and sued to get their money back.

Wednesday’s ruling will certainly buoy Borgata executives, but it is unclear whether the decision will have any effect on settlement talks between the casino and the poker pro. For now, Ivey will have to write off the Crockfords decision as a bad beat. The judge refused his request to appeal the verdict, although he may apply to the Court of Appeal directly.

A judge ruled against poker pro Phil Ivey in a case involving edge-sorting at Crockfords Casino in London. Ivey faces a lawsuit from Borgata.

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24 COMMENTS

    • stupid stupid stupid. just because hes smarter then the casino doesn’t mean hes cheating.. the fact that he could notice these flaws in the cards alone is impressive and should be paid.. I personally think the casino’s should be happy to pay him because now they cant get beat by more people using this strategy. it could potentially save them hundreds of millions in the long run…

      but that’s just my opinion

    • stupid stupid stupid. just because hes smarter then the casino doesn’t mean hes cheating.. the fact that he could notice these flaws in the cards alone is impressive and should be paid.. I personally think the casino’s should be happy to pay him because now they cant get beat by more people using this strategy. it could potentially save them hundreds of millions in the long run…

      but that’s just my opinion

      Being a former part-time blackjack pro makes me understand really well how ridiculous this decision is!! As a card counter I was accused of cheating in many casinos, which is total bullshit of course. Honestly am shocked at this ruling, but as far as we know the casino gave the judge a bribe or something. This shit still happens everyday kiddies. Be careful out there.

    • I guess since the cards were defective whoever played the game since then will get there money back.

      You don’t gamble much do you? The cards get sold at the gift shop at the end of the day or they are shredded. Casinos don’t use blackjack cards for more than a day.

    • You don’t gamble much do you? The cards get sold at the gift shop at the end of the day or they are shredded. Casinos don’t use blackjack cards for more than a day.

      It was more then just one deck on more then just one day.

      http://www.pocketfives.com/articles/phil-ivey-files-motion-dismiss-borgata-edge-sorting-lawsuit-589755/

    • You don’t gamble much do you? The cards get sold at the gift shop at the end of the day or they are shredded. Casinos don’t use blackjack cards for more than a day.

      And you don’t read much do you? I missed the part where Ivey was playing blackjack but I am be incorrect.

    • I think the judge ruled correctly in the end because Ivey manipulated the dealer to turn the cards. If he won the money without that happening then it would be legit in my book and quite possibly the judges as well. That is the one big thing the judge mentioned when he made his ruling.

    • I think the judge ruled correctly in the end because Ivey manipulated the dealer to turn the cards. If he won the money without that happening then it would be legit in my book and quite possibly the judges as well. That is the one big thing the judge mentioned when he made his ruling.

      I didn’t know that part of it. But, still I believe is a bad ruling cause if in any way one of us as players were ‘cheated’ in any way there isn’t really anyone who can do anything about it or protect us. Bottom line is that casinos are allowed to legally rob you but we can’t legally get an edge on them, will never change I guess.

    • Even though Ivey had the dealer position cards it never guaranteed he would win any particular hand. The odds may have been shifted but nothing was guarenteed to be a positive outcome for Ivey. All the hands that he would play to get the cards where he needed them were still winning and losing hands.

    • I think the judge ruled correctly in the end because Ivey manipulated the dealer to turn the cards. If he won the money without that happening then it would be legit in my book and quite possibly the judges as well. That is the one big thing the judge mentioned when he made his ruling.

      The dealer could have said no.

    • While I’m not surprised at the overwhelming negative reaction to the judges decision, I do feel like I need to interject a little logic and reasoning to this conversation. I think most of you are letting the emotional side of your brains override the part that controls reason(a bad thing for poker players). The Judge was bang on in his decision. Let me try and convince you…

      Most of your arguments/comments seem to revolve around the same central theme- “Casinos evil, Phil Ivey outsmarts evil casino at it’s own game”. I’ve heard so far, several variations of the house always wins, the game is rigged against the players, when casinos scam us, there is no recourse etc etc… The only reasonable argument stated is that Phil Ivey set the terms of the game, the casino agreed, Phil Ivey won, so pay that man his money! I disagree with this line of reasoning as well.

      Casinos are not good, nor are they evil. Casinos are, well…simply casinos, and much like poker either you understand the math behind casinos, or you don’t. Understand this…the house has an edge on every game they run. If this wasn’t the case, there would be no such thing as casinos as we know them now. If casino games were a completely 50/50 proposition, your free drinks would cost the same as they do in some Dbag EDM club, and the tables would all have some sort of rake. When you lose at a casino, you have not been ripped off or scammed. You just don’t understand the math. It should be a simple formula for poker players to understand.. stay long enough fighting that small house advantage, odds are you will lose. Sit at a poker table with players more skilled than you…long term, odds are you will lose. Small advantages over large samples become huge.

      Casinos nowadays run a square game(I don’t know about when the Mob ran things). Your bank, or the obscure poker site based out of Nigeria that you just deposited on is far more likely to rip you off. The industry is highly regulated and monitored. They don’t have to cheat you, their advantage is built in.

      Sometimes however, an exceptionally skilled player can gain an advantage over the house. The best examples of this are the math whizzes who can maintain a card count over the course of a shoe of blackjack(ffing impossible for me…I’ve tried). This isn’t cheating as far as I’m aware. Yes the casino will ban you, if successful and caught, but legally they must pay up any winnings. In this scenario you played the casino’s game under their rules and beat it straight up using nothing but your brain. I’m not sure what the legality is when players count as teams like the M.I.T guys.

      So to the Ivey incident. I think if Ivey sat down at the Blanco table knowing that they were using improperly cut Gemco cards and used that to his advantage and won, you have to pay that man his money. I think he can come back day after day winning, with zero obligation to inform the casino of the flawed cards, and they are obligated to pay him. Where he crossed the line was when he tried(and succeeded) to further heighten his advantage by manipulating the dealer to arrange the cards so he and his companion could get a read on them. Would we be having this conversation if Ivey’s requests were say…a mirror somewhere infront of him at a blackjack table so his hot Asian friend could do her makeup, an anorexic thin blackjack dealer, and during the course of play would the dealer mind shifting a bit to the left as we are superstitious about where she is standing. Hellooo exposed hole card. Obviously what Ivey and friend did was super sophisticated compared to my ridiculous example, but the spirit is the same, a manipulation that amounts to cheating. And yeah, the casino agreed to his requests, and the meathead who made that decision should be fired. But when Ivey wanted a Mandarin speaking dealer, who his friend could manipulate, without the pit boss or floor manager being aware, into turning the cards a specific way, he crossed a line. The casino didn’t consent to that.

      My happy ending to this story is actually probably the same as yours. It involves Phil Ivey, or better yet me, or even you, but mostly me riding off into the sunset with millions of dollars of the casinos money. I have no sympathy for Crockfords or any casino, or any corporation(of which casinos all are these days). Kid Poker was right, what Ivey did was straight up gangster, it was brilliant, what cojones. But these are all emotional responses. Logically and most importantly LEGALLY, the Judge got it right.

      Whether or not what happened was criminal…is a totally different question.

    • ^^ all this mumbo jumbo for nothing. Bottom line the casino agreed to the term, they licked there chops when Ivey transferred millions to play. When they were out smarted they ran to the lawyers like all the kiddies do today. He found the flaws and jump on it, as would anyone else who gambles on anything. A long typed up speech that wouldn’t convince anyone with a brain, sorry buddy.

    • Its exactly like card counting being illegal.

      Casino provide the game’s rules, someone that can use the rules to his advantage is a cheater.. meh..

      Instead of whining after the facts are done, they should not allowed the player to play BEFORE that would seems a bit more fair (still..). Once its in the air Mr casino, sorry but its too late !!

      As said, casino always win, like gov always win, like big bosses always win. F them all.

    • Its exactly like card counting being illegal.

      Casino provide the game’s rules, someone that can use the rules to his advantage is a cheater.. meh..

      Instead of whining after the facts are done, they should not allowed the player to play BEFORE that would seems a bit more fair (still..). Once its in the air Mr casino, sorry but its too late !!

      As said, casino always win, like gov always win, like big bosses always win. F them all.

      Card counting using only your wits is not “illegal”. You are confusing illegal with against casino policy. Yes the casino will ban you, but you will be paid. If they didn’t pay you could sue and would be a lock to win.

      Casinos don’t always win( FFS learn the math!). In blackjack if you are playing optimally its something like 46/54 in the houses favour. You actually win something very close to half the time. My advice.. if you are playing blackjack(hopefully for entertainment purposes) and you go on a heater and are up… leave. Do the exact opposite if you are involved in a juicy poker game and think you have an edge

    • lol dealer made a mistake so then it counts but when a player makes mistake (and believe me I do plenty of -EV plays) it’s not? What a load of crap.

      Next time I fold aces can I sue you that I made a mistake?

    • lol dealer made a mistake so then it counts but when a player makes mistake (and believe me I do plenty of -EV plays) it’s not? What a load of crap.

      Next time I fold aces can I sue you that I made a mistake?

      I don’t have the slightest clue what you are talking about. Is English your second language?

    • ^^ all this mumbo jumbo for nothing. Bottom line the casino agreed to the term, they licked there chops when Ivey transferred millions to play. When they were out smarted they ran to the lawyers like all the kiddies do today. He found the flaws and jump on it, as would anyone else who gambles on anything. A long typed up speech that wouldn’t convince anyone with a brain, sorry buddy.

      Tks CuzziD,
      I needed a good chuckle today. You obviously have a very keen legal mind. I will keep you in mind if I am ever charged with a serious crime or am facing a lawsuit that could ruin me. Honestly, I thought I dumbed my writing down sufficiently for the likes of you. Oh well…
      What you were unable take away from my mini-article was that your feeling based opinions on this matter are completely irrelevant. The issues at stake here were all legal ones, and anybody, truly anybody with any background knowledge in civil law could have told you that Ivey didn’t stand a chance. A first year law student with a D minus average could have looked over the facts in this case and quickly concluded..”this guy is going to lose”. Crockfords was 100 percent correct legally in withholding his winnings. The Judge was 100 percent correct in his ruling which was based on sound legal principles.
      I will write another article a bit later about what is going on with Ivey and his legal team for those of you who are able to think objectively.
      But in the meantime CuzziD, why don’t you tell me how you feel? I truly value your informed legal opinion.

    • Tks CuzziD,
      I needed a good chuckle today. You obviously have a very keen legal mind. I will keep you in mind if I am ever charged with a serious crime or am facing a lawsuit that could ruin me. Honestly, I thought I dumbed my writing down sufficiently for the likes of you. Oh well…
      What you were unable take away from my mini-article was that your feeling based opinions on this matter are completely irrelevant. The issues at stake here were all legal ones, and anybody, truly anybody with any background knowledge in civil law could have told you that Ivey didn’t stand a chance. A first year law student with a D minus average could have looked over the facts in this case and quickly concluded..”this guy is going to lose”. Crockfords was 100 percent correct legally in withholding his winnings. The Judge was 100 percent correct in his ruling which was based on sound legal principles.
      I will write another article a bit later about what is going on with Ivey and his legal team for those of you who are able to think objectively.
      But in the meantime CuzziD, why don’t you tell me how you feel? I truly value your informed legal opinion.

      AHAHAAHA this is even more comical!! Was anything illegal done here? hmmm NO! So your law student analogy is a moot point because as far as my opinion goes, yes in my opinion this is a terrible ruling, unfortunately it was in the judges OPINION to feel differently for Ivey. Facts are facts and the facts remain that nothing illegal was done at all. If you can find ONE illegal action taken here than you would have an inkling of knowledge. Unfortunately for you, you do not. However, you have a lot to say will little knowledge at all and I also find it hilarious that you have even more to say AFTER the ruling.

      PS, before you say “I am confusing illegal vs against policy” I am not. I am not because that policy goes out the window when casino obliged to Ivey’s demands. God I hope you don’t represent our legal system, if you do well that is truly the countries problem. If it isn’t illegal to beat a casino in advantage play, well… I’ll let you think for a moment.

      You have four posts and only on this subject that you are witless in. Nothing to add to the poker community and unknowledgeable in the legal system community. Please troll elsewhere.

    • AHAHAAHA this is even more comical!! Was anything illegal done here? hmmm NO! So your law student analogy is a moot point because as far as my opinion goes, yes in my opinion this is a terrible ruling, unfortunately it was in the judges OPINION to feel differently for Ivey. Facts are facts and the facts remain that nothing illegal was done at all. If you can find ONE illegal action taken here than you would have an inkling of knowledge. Unfortunately for you, you do not. However, you have a lot to say will little knowledge at all and I also find it hilarious that you have even more to say AFTER the ruling.

      PS, before you say “I am confusing illegal vs against policy” I am not. I am not because that policy goes out the window when casino obliged to Ivey’s demands. God I hope you don’t represent our legal system, if you do well that is truly the countries problem. If it isn’t illegal to beat a casino in advantage play, well… I’ll let you think for a moment.

      You have four posts and only on this subject that you are witless in. Nothing to add to the poker community and unknowledgeable in the legal system community. Please troll elsewhere.

      CuzziD,
      Thank you again for your insightful and well informed legal opinion. This time you got a great big belly laugh out of me. I can’t thank you enough for the entertainment you are providing. Did you know, that debating with you is like arguing with a Drunk at a Bar? It’s a delightful mix of stupid, ignorant, and stubborn all rolled into one. But, like arguing with some lush, it grows stale quickly. This will be our last communication. I’m no longer trying to convince you of anything(it can’t be done). My goal here is to demonstrate what a complete ignoramus you are, so that others reading can be entertained, much like debating with you has entertained me. At your expense of course.

      CuzziD do you think that Judges pull their verdicts out of a hat in the same way that Magicians produce a rabbit? Taaaa Daaaa! Verdicts are arrived at in a very methodical fashion. Judges will look at all the relevant facts in a case, weigh the arguments from both sides, research the applicable case law, and arrive at a decision. Sometimes the issues are amazingly complex and other times like the Ivey Vs Crockfords case they are relatively simple and straight forward. When the Judge ruled against Ivey he stated in very clear, very plain English WHY IT DIDN’T MATTER THAT THE CASINO HAD AGREED TO ALL OF PHIL IVEY’S REQUESTS. Did you not read the Judges decision? You disagree with this decision. I get it. But WHY do you disagree with this decision? Are you in possession of some obscure British legal precedent that neither the Judge nor anybody else associated with this case is aware of? Now is the time to share it my Legal Eagle friend!! Set the legal world afire with your brilliance!! No…? Nothing….? I think it’s pretty safe to assume that you are still stuck at “Duuhhh, but the casino agreed to all of Phil Ivey’s requests! duuhhh”.

      Your words, not mine “facts are facts and the facts remain that nothing illegal was done at all. If you can find One illegal action than you would have an inkling of knowledge” Beautifully written my friend! For once I agree with you. Nothing illegal transpired here. I never said that it did. Neither did the Judge. You are showing your complete ignorance of law by confusing CRIMINAL LAW with CIVIL LAW. Illegal is only used in criminal law. Let me refresh your memory since I know it has been a long time since you have passed the bar. Criminal law is when the state takes action against individuals through their agents, the police and here in Canada the Crown. For the U.S.A you can substitute the District Attorney for the Crown. Illegal can be something as small as a traffic violation, to something as serious as murder.
      Civil Law is when one party is suing another party. Someone feels they have been wronged and goes to court seeking compensation of some sort. There is no “illegal” in Civil law. If what Ivey did was considered illegal he would be charged with fraud and tried in criminal court. But you knew all this right? You just forgot somewhere along the line my legal Ace friend?

      I’m going to give you some assignments CuzziD. You should complete them as they will improve you as a person.
      1. Learn how to use the English language. This is an essential skill. Work on grammar, sentence structure, how to construct an argument etc… If I received a cover letter and resume from you, for an entry level position at the company where I am employed, and it contained your laughable language skills, it would be in the wastebasket in no time. Your words, not mine “they licked there chops”.
      It’s THEIR dummy! We learn this in 3rd Grade.

      2. Learn to admit when you know nothing about a certain subject. There is no shame in it. You could even learn something. When you insist on arguing about something you have zero knowledge of, you come off looking like a fool. Seriously, I would never tell you how to construct a Big Mac or what the correct protocols are for cleaning the washroom at Mcdonalds. I’m better than that(so much better than that).

      So in closing CuzziD, what I’m trying to say is that you are stupid. The worst kind of stupid. So stupid that you don’t know that you are stupid. A final thought in language that you will be able to understand.. YOUSE NEED TA GET MO EDUMACATION!

      Adhill out.

    • CuzziD,
      Thank you again for your insightful and well informed legal opinion. This time you got a great big belly laugh out of me. I can’t thank you enough for the entertainment you are providing. Did you know, that debating with you is like arguing with a Drunk at a Bar? It’s a delightful mix of stupid, ignorant, and stubborn all rolled into one. But, like arguing with some lush, it grows stale quickly. This will be our last communication. I’m no longer trying to convince you of anything(it can’t be done). My goal here is to demonstrate what a complete ignoramus you are, so that others reading can be entertained, much like debating with you has entertained me. At your expense of course.

      CuzziD do you think that Judges pull their verdicts out of a hat in the same way that Magicians produce a rabbit? Taaaa Daaaa! Verdicts are arrived at in a very methodical fashion. Judges will look at all the relevant facts in a case, weigh the arguments from both sides, research the applicable case law, and arrive at a decision. Sometimes the issues are amazingly complex and other times like the Ivey Vs Crockfords case they are relatively simple and straight forward. When the Judge ruled against Ivey he stated in very clear, very plain English WHY IT DIDN’T MATTER THAT THE CASINO HAD AGREED TO ALL OF PHIL IVEY’S REQUESTS. Did you not read the Judges decision? You disagree with this decision. I get it. But WHY do you disagree with this decision? Are you in possession of some obscure British legal precedent that neither the Judge nor anybody else associated with this case is aware of? Now is the time to share it my Legal Eagle friend!! Set the legal world afire with your brilliance!! No…? Nothing….? I think it’s pretty safe to assume that you are still stuck at “Duuhhh, but the casino agreed to all of Phil Ivey’s requests! duuhhh”.

      Your words, not mine “facts are facts and the facts remain that nothing illegal was done at all. If you can find One illegal action than you would have an inkling of knowledge” Beautifully written my friend! For once I agree with you. Nothing illegal transpired here. I never said that it did. Neither did the Judge. You are showing your complete ignorance of law by confusing CRIMINAL LAW with CIVIL LAW. Illegal is only used in criminal law. Let me refresh your memory since I know it has been a long time since you have passed the bar. Criminal law is when the state takes action against individuals through their agents, the police and here in Canada the Crown. For the U.S.A you can substitute the District Attorney for the Crown. Illegal can be something as small as a traffic violation, to something as serious as murder.
      Civil Law is when one party is suing another party. Someone feels they have been wronged and goes to court seeking compensation of some sort. There is no “illegal” in Civil law. If what Ivey did was considered illegal he would be charged with fraud and tried in criminal court. But you knew all this right? You just forgot somewhere along the line my legal Ace friend?

      I’m going to give you some assignments CuzziD. You should complete them as they will improve you as a person.
      1. Learn how to use the English language. This is an essential skill. Work on grammar, sentence structure, how to construct an argument etc… If I received a cover letter and resume from you, for an entry level position at the company where I am employed, and it contained your laughable language skills, it would be in the wastebasket in no time. Your words, not mine “they licked there chops”.
      It’s THEIR dummy! We learn this in 3rd Grade.

      2. Learn to admit when you know nothing about a certain subject. There is no shame in it. You could even learn something. When you insist on arguing about something you have zero knowledge of, you come off looking like a fool. Seriously, I would never tell you how to construct a Big Mac or what the correct protocols are for cleaning the washroom at Mcdonalds. I’m better than that(so much better than that).

      So in closing CuzziD, what I’m trying to say is that you are stupid. The worst kind of stupid. So stupid that you don’t know that you are stupid. A final thought in language that you will be able to understand.. YOUSE NEED TA GET MO EDUMACATION!

      Adhill out.

      Thank you! I appreciate your opinion. I apologize for my grammar that occurred. I was typing to you about your empty-headed view on this subject while on the toilet, using an iphone and I didn’t realize you would stoop low enough to bash others instead of making valid points. This is where your lack of education, as well as, lack of relationships come into play. Your rather pathetic insight is somewhat arousing. You troll onto a poker site to speak of grammar and the judicial system that you know little to nothing about. (If this is your background I am scared). You can Google all you like sir, that doesn’t change my opinion on the matter. I can blatantly see in your writing how upset you are when your opinion has been weighed on heavily. Anger is a struggle for many. It is completely normal, it’s a human emotion. It seems to me that in your case it may get out of control and turn destructive. This is a problem sir, it can lead to many problems for you, including work, relationships, as I stated before, and your overall quality of your life. You’re at the mercy of an unpredictable emotion that I hope one day you can control.

      Your words not mine- “Verdicts are arrived at in a very methodical fashion. Judges will look at all the relevant facts in a case, weigh the arguments from both sides, research the applicable case law, and arrive at a decision”… AKA a matter of opinion. We agree to disagree I suppose, which is completely fine. The bashing and education you speak of is irrelevant, however I can touch on this if you would like. My educational background is in finance and construction project managing. I’ve since focused on philosophy and psychology, I am not a expert in this either I just enjoy learning new aspects of life, plus I play a lot of poker. I won’t get into how much more money I make annually than you, but its more. Not that any of this really matters but I figured you should know. You’re correct I have not passed the bar, I do not know a lot nor would I ever state that I am an expert at law, I truly hope that you aren’t either. I am just stating an opinion on this and looking at the facts that are presented to us in the case.

      Your (1) & (2) points have continued to show your naïve point of view on life. As you stand to look quite foolish as a human being. I understand how much it means to you to be Canadian, I mean you’ve accomplished so much.

      Here are some quotes from a well known philosopher to help you on your endeavors in life.
      “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing”
      “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us”
      “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil”

      I hope you have a marvelous day and life. I thank you for showing us your educational level, Canadian background, and intelligent knowledge on what seems to be everything. I truly hope you find a way in life, a better direction for yourself, I would say family but they probably hate the person you are.