Phil Ivey Given Green Light to Pursue Supreme Court Appeal in UK


Phil Ivey has won a last chance at overturning his case against Crockfords Casino in London (WPT photo)

Phil Ivey is going back to court. The ten-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner has been granted permission by the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom to appeal the decision handed down in November that ruled he had essentially cheated to win £7.8 million playing Punto Banco, a variant of Baccarat.

“Last November’s Court of Appeal ruling made no sense to me. The original trial judge ruled that I was not dishonest and none of the three Appeal Court judges disagreed, and yet the decision went against me by a majority of 2 to 1,” said Ivey, in a statement released by his legal team.

Ivey has been in and out of courtrooms on both sides of the Atlantic in an attempt to clear his name and have winnings awarded to him from controversial Punto Banco and Baccarat sessions at the Mayfair Casino in London and the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.

In August 2012, Ivey beat the Mayfair in London for £7.8 million playing Punto Banco.The casino withheld Ivey’s winnings after reviewing surveillance footage and determining he had used edge sorting – a technique that gives the players a small advantage – to beat the house. Ivey eventually sued Crockfords, the company that owns Mayfair, but lost his case and the subsequent appeal.

A technique used in advantage gambling where a player determines whether a face-down playing card is likely to be low or high by observing and exploiting subtle unintentional differences on the backs of some card types, after persuading a croupier to cooperate by unwittingly sorting the cards into low and high.

Tuesday’s announcement means Ivey is taking his case to the highest court of appeal for civil cases in the UK. Ivey has admitted during testimony to using edge sorting, but doesn’t believe it constitutes cheating of any kind.

“I am so pleased that the Supreme Court has granted me permission to fight for what I genuinely believe is the right thing to do in my circumstances, and for the entire gaming industry. I look forward to the Supreme Court reversing the decision against me,” said Ivey.

The Borgata case is also far from over. The court ruled Ivey had to pay back the $10.1 million he won playing Baccarat from the Atlantic City-based property in 2012. That ruling has also moved on to appeal.

Ivey has largely been absent from the tournament poker scene over the last 1.5 years. He made a Main Event-only appearance at the 2016 WSOP and recently played at the Triton Cup in Manila.