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Found 49 results

  1. 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 NJ.com. 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. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. The Borgatain Atlantic City has taken the initiative to beef up security in its poker tournaments by introducing brand new chips boasting several modern-day features designed to thwart counterfeiters. The purchase of the high-tech chips was reportedly the direct result of the scandal allegedly caused at least in part by Christian Lusardi, a North Carolina man who was charged with introducing fake chips into an event in January. "This was very expensive, but very necessary," Borgata Senior Vice President Joe Lupo said to the Atlantic City press. "In order to have the biggest tournaments in Atlantic City and as the market leader, we need to ensure the integrity of the games." The new tournament chips will display a more intricate design, make use of more colors, and come installed with an authentication device that can be checked under ultraviolet light. On top of that, security will now make rounds to periodically verify that the chips are genuine in a measure Lupo called "the new normal." In January, Lusardi won $6,814 in the tournament allegedly with the help of the phony chips, which he later admitted to purchasing from China and hiding in the casino's bathroom. Eventually, players realized that the chips weren't genuine and alerted Borgata's staff, who suspended the tournament and launched an investigation. Lusardi(pictured) later returned to his hotel at Harrah's Atlantic City, but sensing his scheme had been uncovered, apparently flushed the rest of his $2.8 million in bogus chips down the toilet. The move proved to be his downfall, though, as the chips clogged the hotel's drainage system, causing guests to complain about leaking pipes and leading maintenance men to find the strange source of the problem in Lusardi's room. While the North Carolina man was subsequently arrested, his actions caused a whole host of problems for Borgata and the players involved in the tournament. The event was frozen with 27 players remaining, but not after several finishers had already been paid. In February, affected players filed a class-action lawsuit against the casino alleging that Borgata had committed fraud by failing to provide adequate supervision of the tournament. They now seek to be refunded their buy-ins plus food, travel, and hotel costs. As part of the investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Gaming Enforcement, the $1.5 million in remaining prize money has been frozen and certain denominations of chips have been sequestered. In fact, the casino's need to replenish its stock was one factor that led to the purchase of the new high-tech chips. Lusardi's troubles didn't end with the tournament, either. After police raided his Fayetteville home, they found a collection of 37,500 pirated DVDs, DVD burners, and packaging equipment allegedly used to distribute the illegal material. For the tournament cheating scandal alone, Lusardi, who has already been arrested on gambling offenses in the past, has been charged with theft and rigging a public contest. He remains in custody awaiting trial while authorities continue to investigate his bootlegging activities. At Borgata, the new chips were already in play on Tuesday after being debuted during the Spring Poker Open. Along with the new chips, the casino has vowed to add more security during its poker events and conduct more chip counts each day. "Considering that we have biggest poker tournaments on the East Coast and we expect to continue to do so, it's imperative that we ensure that our customers have confidence in the integrity of the tournaments," said Lupo. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed. Photo credit Luke Edwards
  3. The end-of-season World Poker Tour Championship is on the move. This year, the tournament will move across the United States from its old digs at the Bellagio in Las Vegas to the Borgata in Atlantic City. The action begins on April 21 and features the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker, or NJCOP, running alongside it, giving players the chance to battle offline and online. Sign up for PartyPoker New Jerseyand sign up for Borgata Poker today. WPT President Adam Pliska commented in a press release that a change of scenery for the WPT Championship should provide a fresh start: "After 11 years in Las Vegas, we saw an interesting opportunity to shake things up and update our iconic Championship. With the move to New Jersey, the lower buy-in, and the support of PartyPoker, which is qualifying players online, we're giving players who may never have been able to join us for this prestigious event a chance to enjoy the ultimate WPT experience." New Jersey players will have a unique opportunity, as PartyPoker and Borgata Poker are qualifying players for the WPT Championship. There are three ways to score a WPT Championship seat, including a 64-player Heads-Up Shootout on April 13 at 4:00pm Eastern Time, three freezeouts the same day that range in buy-in from $100 to $2,000, and a Last Chance Qualifier on April 17. The Borgata has been the site of five of the six largest WPT events ever, including Season X's Borgata Poker Open, which drew 1,313 entrants, and January's Borgata Winter Poker Open, which attracted 1,229 entrants. First place in the WPT Championship is guaranteed $1.35 million. This year, the tournament boasts a more affordable $15,400 buy-in. One PartyPoker official told PocketFives that the WPT Championship represents "one of the best TV poker events in the world and the crown jewel of the WPT." The same source added, "Making the WPT Championship a success in New Jersey would be great for all of us: for PartyPoker, for Borgata, and for the New Jersey poker landscape." Last year, David "Chino" Rheem won the WPT Championshipand earned $1.1 million, defeating Erick Lindgren heads-up in a final table that also included PocketFiver David Davidp18 Peters, who finished sixth. The 2013 WPT Championship, which had a $25,500 buy-in, drew 146 entrants. The NJCOP runs from April 19 to 27, concurrently with the WPT Championship, and has a $500 High Roller on April 27 that guarantees $20,000 to first place. The NJCOP will shell out at least $600,000 total across 15 events. Sign up for PartyPoker New Jerseyand sign up for Borgata Poker today. You don't have to be a New Jersey resident to play on either site; instead, you just need to be physically located in the Garden State. Best of luck to all PocketFivers entering the WPT Championship and NJCOP! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. To start off 2014, the opening event of the Borgata Winter Poker Open was canceled when 27 players remained after officials found "a significant number of counterfeit chips." The tournament carried a healthy $2 million guarantee and first place was scheduled to make $372,000. Two months later, its remaining participants are anxiously awaiting a resolution. One of the final 27 shared an update on TwoPlusTwo saying that Borgata contacted him on March 21. "Borgata had been actively meeting with the [New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement]for several weeks trying to clarify the event that was cancelled and also regulations regarding future events…. 'Near future' was the only time frame offered." Christian Lusardi was taken into custodyin late January after allegedly trying to flush the fake chips down the toilet of his hotel room at Harrah's Atlantic City. He was charged with rigging a publicly exhibited contest, criminal attempt, and theft by deception. Lusardi (pictured) was also hit with charges of bootlegging DVDs. According to the same poster, "We all knew Borgata was not sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for the DGE, but working with them; this seemed to me like the first time Borgata expressed that they were not passively 'cooperating,' but actively trying to resolve the situation… I would like to think they are now just calculating how to chop the prize pool amongst the final 27, but it seems plausible that there is still a legal cluster**** with a medley of lawyers' voices." In late February, a class-action lawsuit was filed, with Jacob Musterel serving as its face. According to the Press of Atlantic City, "The claim seeks refunds of the players' buy-in money and entry fees as well as reimbursement for incidental damages, such as travel costs." The poster on TwoPlusTwo noted that he'd soon consider a legal battle in order to resolve the situation: "I wouldn't even consider talking to a lawyer until at least three months have passed. That day is coming in a few weeks, but I am still… of the mindset that there is really nothing to do but wait and that I will be getting my equity… eventually." Meanwhile, other members of the 27 tossed around the idea of showing up at the Borgata Spring Poker Open, which starts on April 8, in order to "get some face time… as a group if we do not have a resolution by then." We'll keep you posted on the latest right here on PocketFives. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. Daniel Negreanu (pictured) recently made his opinions about Borgata's lawsuit against Phil Ivey abundantly clear, going on several 140-character-fueled tirades defending his friend on Twitter. The Atlantic City casino is suing the poker legend for $9.6 million, claiming he won the cash using a technique it considers to be illegal. Negreanu, never afraid to speak his mind, started out by questioning the judgment of the casino staff, who allowed Ivey to allegedly run his "edge-sorting" scheme in the first place: "Been reading up on poker news lately and the people running the Borgata high-limit pit have to be incredibly stupid overall." In the Tweet, Negreanu is likely referring to the fact that casino management agreed to allow Ivey to raise his betting limit from $50,000 to $100,000 per hand after he had already won millions of dollars playing baccarat and then continued to allow him to play even though he had been accused of using "edge-sorting" at a London casino. He had praise for Ivey and reiterated the sentiment of many gamblers, saying, "My hat's off to any man who can get an edge on a big-time casino. It's just straight baller and I have zero empathy for the big fish." Going back to the mistakes made by management, Negreanu Tweeted, "Big fish sets all the rules, okays all the rules, they need to eat it when they get beat and not be whiny biatches about it." The "rules" to which he refers are the conditions for the high-limit session of baccarat set by Ivey (pictured) and approved by the casino. The seemingly strange requests included a dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese and shuffled using an automatic shuffler, a private pit, the ability to have a guest at the table, and, most importantly, a deck of purple Gemaco playing cards. "It's appalling to free-roll customers," Negreanu continued. "Take their money if they lose but don't pay when they win? Are you for real Borgata? That's dirty." Negreanu continued the mini-tirade and called into question how Borgata's image could suffer with gamblers after the incident. "Suing customers who crushed your souls is a bad look. You got bent over. Might as well smile and enjoy it," he ranted. "No one in the world has empathy for Borgata in this. Stop playing victim because your hustle wasn't as good as Ivey's." The consummate gambler even admitted to having been played in the past, but always settled his debts. "I've been hustled before, but the idea of not paying was never even a consideration! Borgata - you got hustled bad. Get over it already," Negreanu said. In one of his final Tweets on the matter, Negreanu summed up how many gamblers view the whole situation. "Borgata, you thought Ivey was stupid and you tried to bury him. He hustled you, smoked you, and left you feeling silly. Stand responsible!" Borgata is suing Ivey, along with his alleged partner in the scheme Cheng Yin Sun and card manufacturer Gemacofor lack of quality control. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. On Monday, New Jersey gaming officials and Borgataannounced the resolution to the counterfeit chip incident that plagued the first event of the Borgata Poker Open in January. At the time the fake chips were discovered, the tournament was frozen with 27 players remaining. As we told you on Monday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement ruled that those 27 players will each receive $19,323, while over 2,100 entrants will receive their buy-in and fee back, a total of $560 per person. Since the ruling was made, reaction has been swift in the poker community. Poker players took to the forums on Two Plus Two to express their feelings, most of which was outrage. The problem most people have is that the top 27 players are receiving a little more than half-a-million dollars collectively, while they were actually playing for about $1.4 million that remained in the prize pool. The difference is going to the players who did not cash but were ruled eligible for a refund. As Thomas "SrslySirius" Keeling put it, "That just seems absolutely horrendous to me." Many posts reflected this same sentiment, calling the ruling a "robbery" and "terrible." Many have suggested that the final 27 players seek legal counsel and there's already a class-action lawsuit pending. A few of the 27 posted in a thread, frustrated and torn on what to do. Jack Rocaberte, posting under the screen name "Pair Draw," said, "Unreal. I'm torn right now. I'm 7th in chips, which is well above the middle of the pack. Idk whether to waste the 'winnings' on a lawyer or suck it up." Another player, "Pninwin," wrote, "Just got email from Borgata letting us know they will be mailing our check for $19,323 over the next 10 days… No acknowledgement that the full prize pool is not being allocated to final 27 or suggestion that we should expect any more." Nick Guagenti, who was second in chips when the tournament stopped, Tweeted, "E-mailed and received a response from Joe Lupo, Borgata VP. Decision is final. Borgata has washed their hands of the situation." Not everyone thinks it's a horrible decision, though. Poster "Lovesantiques" said, "I can see this from more than one perspective. On the surface, yes - the 27 are getting shafted. However, if play had not been affected, then who knows what the actual outcome might have been." Poster "frommagio" opted to give Borgata and New Jersey gaming personnel the benefit of the doubt, writing, "It seems to be reasonably fair, and well thought out - largely along the lines of what I anticipated. I did expect that there would be a slowly increasing payout according to stack size for the final 27, but instead they chose to pay everyone the same. I can't really argue against that, however, since (a) the larger issue was dealt with, ensuring that all the affected players who busted out receive refunds, and (b) the nominal final 27 are making out pretty well compared to other players who are just as deserving." But still, the overall tone of the reactions is anger. One poster summed it up for many. Named "Oneof27," presumably because he is one of the 27 players remaining in the tournament, he wrote, "They stole 2/3 of the remaining players prize pool to pay the bust-outs. When they determine the payouts, it is all done by a percentage of the prize pool. 450 - 28 all have received the original payout as a percentage of the total prize pool. Why? Why does the burden fall on the 27?" What do you think? Leave a comment here and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  7. It has been three long months, but we have a resolution in a tournament marred by fake chips at Borgatain Atlantic City. New Jersey gaming officials and Borgata announced on Monday that each of the final 27 players, who have watched the prize pool sit frozen since January, will receive $19,323. Read the ruling. First place was scheduled to make $372,000 and the top four players would have received over $100,000 had the tournament, the opening event of the Borgata Poker Open, played out like normal. The $19,323 payout is about what 10th place would have made. In late January, Christian Lusardi was charged with introducing fake chips into the tournament, which was cancelled when 27 players remained after casino staff found "a significant number" of fake 5,000-unit chips. A total of 2,143 players in the event will receive $560 back, which represents the tournament's $500 buy-in plus $60 in juice paid to Borgata. They include, according to PokerNews: 1. All entrants who played Tuesday, January 14 on Day 1A beginning at 10:00am, with the exception of those entrants who played in the Event Center and busted out prior to 4:30pm (those entrants could not have come into contact with Lusardi). 2. All entrants who played Wednesday, January 15 on Day 1B beginning at 10:00am, with the exception of those entrants who played in the Signature Room and Poker Room on that day and were eliminated (those entrants could not have come into contact with Lusardi). 3. All entrants who played Thursday, January 16 on Day 2. 4. Entrants who re-entered any Day 1 after busting out may also be eligible for a refund of $560 per entry, depending on the above criteria. Players in the above four groups, according to Borgata, "may have been impacted by the counterfeit chips," but did not make the top 450. As we mentioned, the top 27 players will each receive $19,323 and, as Borgata explained, "Entrants who finished in 28th to 450th place who have already received their prize money will not receive any further disbursements. Borgata has paid a total of $892,690 to this group to date. All entrants in this group who have not yet been paid will receive the amount they would have been entitled to according to their order of finish." There's already a class-action lawsuit filed against Borgata and several posters on Two Plus Two who were irate with Monday's ruling were frenetically looking up information about it. Borgata is distributing $1.7 million, which according to PokerNews includes the $1.4 million in remaining prize money that should have been paid to the top 27 plus $60 in juice for 2,143 entrants added by Borgata. Players will be paid by check within 10 business days. Lusardi(pictured) was picked up after he flushed many of the fake chips down the toilet of his Harrah's Atlantic City hotel room. That prompted plumbing issues and Lusardi's plot was quickly unearthed. So far, he is the only person who has been arrested in connection with the misgiving. Lusardi also faces charges of a bootlegging DVDs. Stay tuned for more on this still-developing story. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  8. After lying dormant for much of the last few months, the lawsuit filed by Borgata in Atlantic City against poker pro Phil Ivey (pictured) over $9.6 million that Ivey won at baccarat has heated up in recent weeks. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- The original lawsuit filed by Borgata in April had been quiet as of late, but Ivey's attorneys reopened the battle with a motion to dismiss the caseearlier this month. According to John Brennan's Meadowlands Matters blog, the motion asked to dismiss the case on the grounds that Borgata did not file its complaint in the required time frame and that Borgata's claims are inadmissible because a private company cannot make them in court. The motion also stated that the New Jersey court system isn't the place for solving such issues, noting that the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and Division of Gaming Enforcement normally handle disagreements. On Tuesday, Borgata fired back with its own motion to dismiss Ivey's motion. In it, Borgata's attorneys stated, "This case involves a premeditated, practiced, and intricate scheme by [Ivey] and Cheng Yin Sun to gain an advantage playing baccarat. Although their motion cleverly attempts to apply existing case law to the facts in this case, defendants cannot escape the fact that it is only casinos, and not casino patrons, that are regulated by New Jersey's Casino Control Act." Borgata's motion went on to state that the casino is completely within its rights to file a lawsuit against Ivey and Sun. In a previous case that involved players at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, a court found that a "private right of action" is allowed by the court system for a casino against a patron. "This was the only way for the Golden Nugget to recover its alleged damages." The case hinges on several visits by Ivey to Borgata in 2012, where he requested that the casino provide him with an outlet for baccarat. Playing at $50,000 per hand, Ivey put $1 million on the table, but had several requests that Borgata had to comply with in order to get his business. Ivey requested a private area where he could play, a dealer who could speak Mandarin Chinese, the ability to bring a guest (allegedly Sun), one deck of purple cards from Gemaco, and an automatic shuffler. Borgata acquiesced to these requests and over the span of four sessions from April to October 2012, Ivey was able to book $9.6 million in profits. The Borgata sessions were done at the same time that Ivey and Sun allegedly went to London for a similar game at Crockfords Casino. In several sessions in August 2012, Ivey is alleged to have won £7.3 million that Crockfords has, to this point, refused to pay out. That case is still awaiting adjudication. Both casinos are alleging that, through the use of "edge-sorting," Sun would direct the dealer to turn particular cards a certain way, stating that it was an Ivey "superstition," so he could recognize said cards when they came out of the deck. The knowledge of the cards could swing the advantage from the casino to Ivey, both casinos profess, and Ivey hasn't denied that he and Sun did this in either case: Ivey and Sun have 12 counts against them in the Borgata lawsuit, including violations of RICO laws. A New Jersey magistrate judge, Ann Marie Donato, has scheduled a conference between the two sides for August 5 in which the discovery process will begin. That process could take up to eight months to play out, meaning that any potential trial wouldn't begin until 2015. In the meantime, Donato has suggested that both sides attempt to mediate the situation and avoid a long and costly court battle. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  9. In April, the BorgataHotel, Casino, and Spa in Atlantic City filed a lawsuitin the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against Phil Ivey (pictured), saying he allegedly cheated during several sessions of high-stakes baccarat in 2012 resulting winnings of nearly $10 million. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- Ivey and his gaming partner, Cheng Yin Sun, were sued on 12 counts, including Fraudulent Inducement, Breach of Contract, and Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Ivey has now filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. To recap the issue at hand, Ivey and Sun allegedly knew of a defect in the way the Gemaco-brand playing cards used by Borgata were cut, making the pattern on the back of the cards asymmetrical. In advance of a visit in April 2012, Ivey allegedly contacted Borgata to make special arrangements for the high-stakes baccarat game he wanted to play. He allegedly asked for a dealer that spoke Mandarin Chinese, an eight-deck shoe of purple Gemaco cards, permission to have his guest sit with him, a private gaming area, and an automatic card shuffler. His requests were granted and he also agreed to a maximum bet of $50,000 and an advance deposit of $1 million. During four visits spanning from April to October, Ivey and Sun allegedly asked the dealer to rotate key cards in the shoe once their values were revealed. Because of the asymmetrical patterns resulting from the miscut cards, it was possible to identify these cards before they were dealt from the shoe, giving Ivey a huge advantage. The automatic shuffler was key because it does not change the orientation of the cards, thus keeping this "edge-sorting" tactic in play. Over the course of the visits, Ivey won $9.8 million. Here's an infographic of a similar incident that occurred in London showing how edge-sorting works: Furious, Borgata sued Ivey in April of this year claiming he defrauded the casino by making his special requests under the pretext of superstition when he allegedly knew that he was going to be able to edge-sort if the requests were granted. In the motion to dismiss, Ivey's legal team made three main arguments. One is that Ivey and Sun simply did not cheat. They did nothing but use their eyes and intelligence to win; any unusual advantage they may have had was the result of concessions Borgata granted. "Plaintiff's complaint belies its own imaginative pleading," the motion read. "It was Borgata, and only Borgata, that produced, possessed, and maintained absolute control over all the implements of gambling, from the cards to the shoe to the automatic shuffler at all times while Ivey remained on its property." "The use of nothing more than his eyesight and his reliance upon information that was equally available to every single casino customer in no way equates with the [action and wrongful intent] required to accomplish any of the multiple criminal statutes upon which plaintiff relies," the motion added. Another argument Ivey's attorneys made is that even if what Ivey did were illegal, the six-month statute of limitations has expired. "As is obvious from the complaint, Borgata never reported any of the alleged 'illegalities' to the exclusive agency empowered to make that determination, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement," they stated in the motion. Along those lines, the third argument made in the motion is that it is the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement that is allowed to go after Ivey, not the casino. The poker community has not had much reaction to the latest chapter in the Ivey/Borgata saga, but there was much discussion about it when Borgata originally filed its lawsuit. For example, poker pro Daniel Negreanu sided with Ivey at the time, Tweeting, "Big fish sets all the rules, okays all the rules, they need to eat it when they get beat and not be whiny biatches about it," adding, "It's appalling to freeroll customers. Take their money if they lose, but don't pay when they win? Are you for real Borgata? That's dirty." Negreanu is pictured. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest on this developing story. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  10. There were 538 entrants in the first ever Borgata PocketFives Open live event in Atlantic City. The $400 buy-in tournament passed its $150,000 guarantee by $38,000 and a four-way chop around 10:30pm local time on Tuesday ended it. There was a huge Day 1B turnout on Monday that included eight bounty players. This author went out with A-K against A-J all-in pre-flop on Day 1B and watched as fellow PocketFives Admins Cal Spearsand Adam Small (on his third or fourth bullet) dropped within an hour of me. The setting was top-notch, the staff was helpful and organized, and the tournament ran rather smoothly. Thank you to Borgata for putting on such a professional event, which brought out a host of old school PocketFivers. Mike Barletta (pictured above) was your winner after a four-way chop and told us, "I feel pretty good. I had more than half the chips in play, but I know what can happen in tournaments, so it's a lot better than second place money. I'm always willing to chop for a profit." Barletta took home $34,000. Barletta has been playing poker for a "long, long time" and added, "I'm mostly a cash player. I'm pretty much here [at Borgata] four or five days per week playing cash and I started playing tournaments about two months ago. I've been playing pretty well." Barletta is from Toms River, New Jersey. Marlboro, New Jersey's Steve gboro780 Gross (pictured), a World Series of Poker bracelet winner and longtime PocketFiver, finished in second place and had a rather large revolving rail for much of Day 2 on Tuesday. Gross said of his willingness to deal, "I didn't really want to deal, but it was a turbo and I was the short stack and they gave me a good deal." Despite having the short stack, he cashed for $24,000, which was $1,000 less than second place was scheduled to make. "I'm glad you guys invited me," the seemingly humble man known as gboro780 said with a smile. "I love PocketFives. I've known the guys forever." Gross has been part of our community since our first year in business and has $6.2 million in tracked scores, the 16th highest total of anyone on our site. He was seen at B Bar at Borgata as late as 1:00am the night before Day 2 and was the last surviving bounty. We asked Gross to evaluate the field's skill level. After all, he has competed in some of the highest stakes games around and plans to head to the Seminole Hard Rock shortly for a $10 million guaranteed event in that Florida casino. He responded, "I thought Day 1, it was pretty soft. By the end, everyone knew how to play. There were no soft spots by the end. I told them if they wanted to give me a good deal, I'd do it. They were willing to do it." Third place belonged to Justin PocketProfitsWong (pictured), another member of the New Jersey poker community, who cashed for $19,000. He said, "It's a great feeling. I've wanted to go deep in one of these for a while, so I felt like I was due. The time finally came. I always come down to Borgata. It's one of my regular casinos. I always come down for the tournaments. It's a great place and has great structures. And I came for PocketFives since I'm a member of the site." Other top finishers included John Dibella, who won the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $1.7 million. Borgata reported the official results, so that's what we're posting here: 1. Michael Barletta - $45,473 2. Steve gboro780Gross - $25,571 3. Justin PocketProfitsWong - $16,439 4. Mikhail Volfson- $13,060 5. Onofrio Reina - $10,228 6. Charles Furey - $8,402 7. John Dibella - $6,667 8. Neville Darrell - $5,206 9. Lionel Saban - $3,653 Thank you very much to everyone who came out, to Borgata for hosting, and to BorgataPoker.com for qualifying eight players.. It was quite a unique experience and an opportunity to catch up with a "who's who" of our community over the last decade. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  11. From July 27 to 29, PocketFives and Borgata in Atlantic City will host the first ever Borgata PocketFives Open. The live re-entry tournament, which comes complete with a $150,000 guaranteed prize pool, will take place in Borgata's poker room and feature a $350 + $50 buy-in. There will be plenty of opportunities to satellite in via BorgataPoker.com, a regulated online poker site in New Jersey. Day 1A will take place on Sunday, July 27, while Day 1B will take place on Monday, July 28. The field will combine on Day 2 on Tuesday, July 29 and play down to a winner. Online satellites, which will largely be $10 Rebuys on BorgataPoker.com, will run daily from July 18 to 25 at 8:00pm ET. All satellites will offer one seat to the Borgata PocketFives Open except the qualifier on July 20, which will have five seats guaranteed. The July 20 qualifier is a $50 Rebuy. Here are the details: Tournament Name: Borgata PocketFives Open Location: Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey Dates: July 27 to July 29, 2014 Buy-In: $350 + $50 Guarantee: $150,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool Re-Entries: Permitted First 6 Hours of Each Day 1 PocketFives Party: July 28 at Gypsy Bar Hotel Reservations: Call 1-609-317-1000 Special P5s Open Room Rate: $119 Per Night, Must Present Tourney Receipt at Checkout Online Satellites: Daily from July 18 to July 25 at BorgataPoker.com Here's the schedule: Day 1A: Sunday, July 27 at 11:00am ET Day 1B: Monday, July 28 at 11:00am ET Day 2, Final Table: Tuesday, July 29 at Noon ET PocketFives co-founders Cal Spears and Adam Small as well as Editor-in-Chief Dan Cypra will all be in attendance, and a variety of bounties are scheduled to be in the field, including Mike Gags30Gagliano, Off Topic legend Jaybone2315, Dennis DloricanLopez, and World Series of Poker bracelet winners Steve gboro780Gross and Chris Fox Wallace. Discounted hotel rooms are available for July 27, 28, and 29. The price is $119 per night and you'll show your tournament receipt after you've entered to activate the discount. Borgata Senior VP of Operations Joe Lupocommented, "The upcoming Borgata PocketFives Open signifies an important synergy between our online and land-based brands. We are happy to partner with a great online poker community such as PocketFives to extend to our customers this unique and momentous tournament." PocketFives co-founder Adam Small (pictured) was looking forward to giving back to the active New Jersey Poker Community on PocketFives: "I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to present an event like this for our members. As the market-leading casino property in Atlantic City, Borgata is the perfect place for us to host a live poker tournament. The PocketFives New Jersey community has been incredible since the launch of internet gaming and this event, along with the party, will be a great way to show our appreciation and give back to them." On Monday, July 28 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm, Gypsy Bar will play host to a special PocketFives member party. The event will provide a unique opportunity for PocketFives members to interact with each other in person and talk with members of PocketFives' staff. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  12. The Borgata Fall Poker Open is currently taking place in Atlantic City at the Borgata Hotel and Spa through November 21. PocketFives caught up with one of its own members and Event #4 champion, Jake jtsnakesPerry (pictured, image courtesy of Borgata blog), which was a $560 buy-in two-day event that attracted 207 entrants for a prize pool of $103,500. Visit PocketFives' New Jersey poker community for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players. As of late, Perry has been on a tear on the live poker scene, as back in October, he finished second in the Parx Big Stax Main Event for his largest live score of $68,501, bringing him to over $100,000 in winnings in less than a month. Here were the final results of this tournament as reported by Borgata: 1. JACOB PERRY - $28,107 2. DAVID GERASSI - $16,565 3. EDGAR LEMUS-ARGUETA - $9,538 4. ROBERT CAMPION - $7,730 5. ANDREA SALAMONE - $6,024 6. PETER EADICICCO - $5,020 7. JEREMY BARNETT - $4,016 8. JOSEPH GALAZZO - $3,012 9. KEVIN CHANG - $2,008 10. TIMOTHY JOHN STONE - $1,30 PocketFives: Congrats on your win in Event #4 the Borgata Fall Poker Open for $28,207. Tell us how you are feeling and what this win means to you. Jake Perry: I was more relieved than anything. Shipping a live tournament is something that has avoided me for a long time. At the end of the day, it is just money and it is time to go back to work the next day. What it really meant to me: I should not have played the next day because I punted a decent stack because I was tired of poker from the day before. PocketFives: Back in October, you finished second in the Parx Big Stax Main Event for $68,501. Which tournament field did you feel was tougher to navigate? Jake Perry: Parx was piles tougher. If you go back to the final 40 of the Parx event, it was a sick, sick field. Looking at Borgata, I only know a couple of names of the people that cashed. Like all tournaments, though, there were different challenges. PocketFives: Do any hands from the Borgata Fall Poker Open win stick out? Jake Perry: There were a couple of big swing hands at the final table. I got in 9-9 vs A-To to double up about eight-handed, which put me just below average but was a huge confidence-builder. Seven-handed, I got another double with A-J vs A-T, which put me in the virtual chip lead. One hand sticks out from Level 4 of Day 1, actually. I got A-A and a super-agro guy did not pile in A-K for any more money. That was the second worst beat I took the whole tournament. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? Jake Perry: Not really. I may take a vacation in January, but only if it does not conflict with anything I want to play. My real plan is to continue putting more money on top of that money. I would like to repeat this process as often as possible. PocketFives: What have your friends and family said about the win? Jake Perry: The standard congratulations. I have made consistent money in this game for a long time, so I can't really say anyone was shocked. PocketFives: To what do you attribute your current success in the live arena? Jake Perry: Live or online, my game has hit another level thanks to Mike Gags30Gagliano and Mike Lav519 Lavenberg. Opening things up and realizing that I am much better post-flop than I thought I was has helped and with the knowledge I have of that, I have been able to play a slightly more aggressive pre-flop style. And obviously I am going to run better with fedora magic on the rail.
  13. This week has featured poker pro Phil Ivey (pictured) spinning his side of his now infamous edge-sorting tale. Ivey, a 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, has been in hot water on both sides of the Atlantic by virtue of allegedly edge-sorting in order to gain an advantage at forms of baccarat. As we reported last week, you can catch his side of the story on a special "60 Minutes Sports" segment on October 7. Ivey gave his reasoning in a witness statement for his trial in London, according to Bloomberg. The news agency reported that Ivey argued, "As a professional gambler, my job is to seek to lawfully reverse or reduce the perceived house edge… I would not be doing my job very well if I did not seek to use to my benefit weaknesses that I identify in the way that casinos set up or offer particular casino games." Ivey had allegedly exploited errors in a deck of playing cards in order to gain an advantage against Crockfords Casino in London and against Borgata in Atlantic City. His actions could be akin to counting cards in blackjack, which is generally frowned upon by the casino. Whether the practice of edge-sorting is illegal, or merely shunned, is apparently up to the courts to decide. To that end, Ivey contended, "It is not in my nature to cheat, nor would I risk my reputation by acting unlawfully in any manner… Casinos don't like card counters, shuffle trackers, bias wheel players, or any skilled or advantage players, though none of these advantage-play strategies are considered illegal." Ivey's lawsuit in London is against Genting Casinos, which runs Crockfords. Ivey won £7 million in August 2012 playing a variant of baccarat called punto banco. In May 2013, Ivey filed a lawsuit against Crockfords after the casino refused to pay out his winnings. He pointed out at the time, "I have won and lost substantial sums at Crockfords and I have always honored my commitments. At the time, I was given a receipt for my winnings, but Crockfords subsequently withheld payment. I, therefore, feel I have no alternative but to take legal action." Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest on this still developing story. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  14. PocketFives had to opportunity to catch up with New Jersey poker pro Daniel wildman75Buzgon (pictured, image courtesy of Borgata), who recently won Event #15, a $1,000,000 guarantee, of the Borgata Winter Open for a cool $194,509. Buzgon outlasted a field of 2,882 runners to capture his first live tournament win. He has over $2 million in recorded online cashes and over $1 million in live cashes to date. Some of his notable online accomplishments include a win in the 888 PokerBig Sunday $10,000 Guarantee for $3,000, a fifth place finish in the FTOPS XIX Main Event in February 2011 for $321,400, and a runner-up performance in a PokerStarsWCOOP event in September 2007 for $99,115. Visit PocketFives' New Jersey poker community for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players. PocketFives: Congrats on your win in the Borgata Winter Poker Open. Tell us how you are feeling and what this win means to you. Daniel Buzgon: Thank you. The emotional high from winning this tournament has pretty much worn off by now and I am starting to get back to reality. This win means a lot to me since it was my first win in a live tournament. I have had a few close calls in smaller tournaments in the last few months and not winning one definitely starts to get frustrating. It shouldn't, but it does. Most of us are extremely competitive in the poker world and I am no exception. Winning this one kind of takes that weight off my shoulders. I also feel extremely fortunate. I will probably never run or get starting hands like that in a tournament for a very long time. After the first hand on Day 2, I was left with seven big blinds. On the money bubble, I had seven big blinds. And at the final table, I spent way too many hands under 10 big blinds for my liking. After the money bubble, the average stack in this tournament probably never exceeded 25 big blinds. So, I definitely needed a little bit more luck in surviving this field then others. But I'll take it! PocketFives: Do any hands from this tournament win stick out? Daniel Buzgon: There are a couple of key hands that definitely stick out in my mind from this tournament. The first one happened when we were on the exact bubble of this tournament early on Day 2. I was severely short-stacked and was fortunate enough to look down at AA. I got called by two other players who were holding KK and JJ. An ace on the turn would lock up the hand for me and send me out of the danger zone with over 20 big blinds. Another hand that sticks out in my mind occurred when we were three-handed. I was the short stack with around 20 big blinds and opened on the button with A3 offsuit. The small blind folded and the big blind called. The flop came 832 with two diamonds. Before I could decide how I was going to play my hand, the big blind led out into me, which definitely took me by surprise. From what I could remember, I had not seen him do this before and was not quite sure what to make of it. There are just so few value hands he should have on this board. I thought there was a chance he could be light because of the huge money jump from third to second, but also did not think he would want to jeopardize his chip lead by running a big bluff. I am not sure I have any other option than to just call at this point, but was not thrilled about it because he probably will keep applying pressure and there are a lot of bad turn cards for my hand if I have the best hand. The turn came an offsuit 6 and he bet again. This card helps his most likely semi-bluffs of 54, 65, and 64, but for some reason I just did not believe him yet. The river came another 6, with the flopped flush draw missing. He took a few seconds and bet enough to put me all-in. I tanked for a long time trying to figure what he could possibly have and if he was really willing to risk most of his chips in this spot with nothing. I remember saying out loud that the old me would never fold in this spot. Like a lot of people, I like to sleep well at night, know what my opponents have in these spots, and call a lot more than I probably should. Eventually, I folded and decided he was not bluffing enough in this spot to justify making the call. This fold would save my tournament because while watching the replay of the live stream, I learned that he had A8 and had me in bad shape the entire way. Maybe it should have been an easier fold on the turn or river, but I am just glad I eventually made it on the river. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? Daniel Buzgon: I do not really have any plans for the money, but that's because I did not get to keep the majority of it. I had been backed for tournaments since February 2010. It was always nice to have that security blanket of knowing you couldn't lose your own money if things went bad for an extended period of time. And giving away part of the profits when things went well was a price that I was willing to take. Fortunately, I was able to take away enough money from this score that I thought it was in my best interest to go back on my own. I try to focus more of my time on online cash games over tournaments these days, so being backed for tournaments did not make as much sense for me now as it did in the past. This score might not give me as much money as I would have liked, but it will give me some of the freedom back to play when and what I want that I have not really experienced in a very long time. Every backed player knows that feeling of being buried in make-up and not knowing how long, if ever, it will take them to get out. It sucks. Plain and simple. Just know with a lot of hard work and a little (or a lot) of luck you can get out. PocketFives: Give us your thoughts and experiences of regulated online poker in New Jersey. Daniel Buzgon: As much as I complain about the current state of online poker in New Jersey, I know how fortunate I am to live in a state where it is "legal." I love being able to play online from the comfort of my own home and not have to move out of the country like so many of my friends have chosen to do. But, it's almost like the current sites in New Jersey don't know what they are doing or don't care. I know these sites have to go through the Division of Gaming Enforcement, where it is no easy process to change the smallest of things. The people running some of these sites just don't know poker. And it's very apparent in the way their sites operate. They employ professional poker players, yet hardly listen to what they have to say. I know it's going to take a while to fix all the bugs, but I feel like they are not doing nearly enough in the meantime. Everyone is anticipating the arrival of PokerStars into the market. This is both exciting and scary. Many assume they will show up and on Day 1 and all the players will jump ship to play on their software. They have the capital and marketing budget to make these other sites obsolete. I truly hope this doesn't happen because we need competition in this market. This is why I can't understand why the other sites are not doing everything in their powers to keep their regulars and recreational players as happy and as loyal as possible before PokerStars gets here. I hope the other sites start to shape up before it's too late. PocketFives: What are your favorite New Jersey online poker sites to play on and why? Daniel Buzgon: I like how 888 has tournament buy-ins that cater to everyone. Having three different tournaments with buy-ins of $100 or more on Sunday is great. Borgata has finally come around to this and added a few bigger buy-in Turbos, which I enjoy playing. I think all the sites have a decent Sunday tournament schedule, but could definitely be improved. I am excited to see what PokerStars has to offer for us on Sundays if and when they show up to the party. PocketFives: How did you get started in poker originally? Why was it appealing? Daniel Buzgon: I got started in poker way back in 2003 during the Chris Moneymaker boom. We started playing small cash games and tournaments in my friend's basement. A few months later, I started to get hooked while playing in the dorms at Arizona State University. That's where I would fine online poker and start taking the game somewhat seriously. The money was the most appealing part by far. I was working at a golf course making $6 per hour as part of an internship. Having the opportunity to make a couple hundred dollars in a night seemed like a much better alternative even if I lost most of the time. After graduating, poker became a full-time thing. PocketFives: What do you do away from poker? What else interests you? Daniel Buzgon: My main hobby outside of poker is golf. If I weren't playing poker, I would be working in the golf business in some capacity. I also enjoy watching and playing soccer. I am a big Liverpool supporter. I also enjoy cooking or at least trying to cook.
  15. Last week, a judge ruled against Phil Iveyin his high-stakes lawsuit against Crockfords casino in London, concluding that the poker pro had cheated by using edge-sorting to win $12.5 million at the baccarat tables. Daniel Negreanu (pictured), a six-time bracelet winner and friend of Ivey's, was stunned by the verdict and had some harsh words for the casino and the presiding judge in a recent interview. "I think it's ludicrous, I think it's absurd, completely unfair, and absolutely wrong," he told PokerListings. "Casinos, by nature, are designed to take advantage of people by manipulating and deceiving them into thinking they can win," he said. "A player gets the best of them, in the sense that he finds flaws in what they're offering, and they should go, 'Oops, we screwed up.' They should pay it like honorable people and then move on and address their issues." Crockfords, of course, had a very different opinion of the matter and was quick to withhold Ivey's massive win after deciding he and his partner, Cheng Yin Sun, used edge-sorting to gain an advantage with the prohibited technique. In his recent interview on "60 Minutes Sports", Ivey (pictured) made no attempt to hide the fact that he used the controversial strategy to win the cash. "The casino is my opponent and it's my job to exploit weaknesses in the house and give myself the best opportunity to win," he said. Not only does Negreanu believe the dismissal of Ivey's case to be unfair, he also believes the incident could have a negative effect on Crockfords' bottom line by scaring away high rollers. "It sets a bad precedent for gamblers who are going to gamble high," he said. "You could win a bunch of money and then all of a sudden – without doing anything that's considered cheating – be told you're not getting your money." While Crockfords acted quick enough to freeze Ivey's winnings, Borgata (pictured below) in Atlantic City wasn't so lucky. In 2012, Ivey and Sun used the same strategy there to add another $9.6 million to their baccarat profits. The casino paid out the cash before the 38-year-old's London exploits came to light. They are now suing Ivey, Sun, and Gemaco to try and recoup the losses. Negreanu spoke out in his friend's favor in that case in a series of Tweets in April: "It's appalling to free-roll customers. Take their money if they lose but don't pay when they win? Are you for real Borgata? That's dirty… My hat's off to any man who can get an edge on a big-time casino… I have zero empathy for the big fish." About the recent Crockfords decision, his anger was clear: "In every logical human being's mind, it's an open and shut case, but the judge ****ed him in the ass," he said. Due to his involvement with the Crockfords trial, Ivey has missed most of WSOP APAC this year, but Negreanu isn't worried for him. "He'll be fine," he assured. "But I've talked to him and he's not happy about it. He felt good about the case. I think if there is an option to appeal, he will appeal." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  16. In recent days, the World Poker Tour wrapped up its annual end-of-season Championship event from the Borgata in Atlantic City. This year, the tournament attracted 239 entries, down 27% from the 328 recorded last year. PokerNews' Donnie Peters (pictured) called the development "worrisome," so PocketFives took to Twitter to figure out why attendance slid so much. Peters gave his take on why the WPT Championship headcount dropped, Tweeting, "5% no High Roller and Super High Roller, 20% timing on schedule, 75% location." The European Poker Tour's Grand Final was taking place concurrently across "The Pond," meaning many poker pros were camped out there rather than in aging Atlantic City, the site of the WPT Championship. Kevin Mathersadded on Twitter, "Also no re-entry, second Day 1 flight, and no guaranteed prize pool." The 2014 WPT Championship had a $5 million guarantee, while no guarantee existed this year. Getting to Atlantic City is no easy feat. A small airport exists about 10 miles away, but is largely just served by Spirit Airlines. Instead, most players fly into cities like Philadelphia and then drive over an hour. Speaking to that, Online Poker Report's Chris GroveTweeted, "Lot harder to get to via plane than some other places." Contrast Atlantic City with a place like Las Vegas, where the airport, which is served by dozens of carriers, is a stone's throw from the Strip. United Airlines formerly served Atlantic City's airport, but discontinued service in December. Thus, only three airlines serve 13 destinations. Compare that with McCarren Airport in Las Vegas, which has over 30 airlines and is one of the busiest hubs in the entire world. We had a few high-profile players lend their thoughts on the declining WPT Championship attendance. Mike Gags30Gagliano, who is from New Jersey, commented, "Lack of guarantee versus last year, also timing made it tougher to do this and Monte Carlo." Christian charder Harder (pictured), who made the WPT Championship final table in 2009, added, "It was reentry last year and not this year." Peters said on Twitter that there were only 12 reentries last year. "Poker Life Podcast" host Chicago Joey said the cab ride to and from the Atlantic City airport put him on life tilt: "Last time I was out there, the ride to and from airport was so tilting." The WPT Championship moved from Las Vegas to Atlantic City for the first time in 2014, but as the team from Pokerfusechimed in on Twitter, "WPT Championship attendance declined for six of the last last years before it moved to AC." With that in mind, here are the attendance numbers for the WPT Championship each year it has been held. The event switched from a $25,000 buy-in to a $15,000 buy-in last year (Season 12): Season 1: 111 Season 2: 343 Season 3: 453 Season 4: 605 Season 5: 649 Season 6: 545 Season 7: 338 Season 8: 195 Season 9: 220 Season 10: 152 Season 11: 146 Season 12: 328 Season 13: 239 What do you think? Comment here and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  17. Last week, Christian Lusardi (pictured), the alleged mastermind behind the Borgata "chipgate" scandal, pled guilty to two federal charges: copyright infringement and trafficking in counterfeit labels. He earned a five-year prison sentence and another three years of probationfollowing his release. Lusardi will also have to pay restitution of over $1.1 million. The case against Lusardi was actually ongoing when he allegedly committed his acts in New Jersey that brought his name to light in the poker world. An investigation by the Department of Homeland Security had Lusardi under surveillance since 2010 and he was a person of interest in a case dating back to 2012. After Lusardi was arrested last year for fake chips at Borgata, the feds were able to get a look inside his home and were stunned at what they found. The search of Lusardi's home in Fayetteville, North Carolina turned up more than 37,000 pirated DVDs, which Lusardi would sell online, at pawn shops, and at flea markets. DVD burners, packaging equipment, and shipping labels were also found in the home, demonstrating that he was sending the product around North Carolina. The success of DVD piracy is allegedly one of the things that led Lusardi to think that he could counterfeit poker chips. Authorities spoke with Lusardi's ex-wife, who admitted that fake chips were part of the shipments that were coming from China. She also discussed how Lusardi had used his own daughter to help construct the counterfeits. Lusardi's then-girlfriend confirmed the ex-wife's story, stating that prior to the start of the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open, Lusardi had sent himself a package to the hotel. The first event of the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open was a $2 million guaranteed event with a $500 buy-in. Lusardi bought into the tournament and was one of the leaders of the event as it reached its final days. The reason for Lusardi's success? He allegedly had introduced 800,000 of his counterfeit stash of chips (pictured) into the tournament. Once the counterfeit chips were discovered, Borgata officials immediately shut down the tournament, which had three tables left. Lusardi, who had busted in the money, had already fled the Borgata grounds and checked out of his room at Harrah's, but not before dumping the remainder of the counterfeit chips into the commode. The resulting clog brought repairmen at first and then security officials, who immediately put the spotlight on Lusardi by issuing an arrest warrant. He was apprehended a few days later at another Atlantic City hotel. The resolution of the federal case against Lusardi may have many wondering what will happen with the charges from the Borgata case. As federal cases often overrule state cases, the resolution of the federal piracy charges was going to get first dibs. With the resulting five years in federal prison and three years' probation, New Jersey officials may not want to pursue the case against Lusardi, figuring that the federal case would be more punishment than they could administer. There is a possibility that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement could try Lusardi while in federal prison, but any sentence might run concurrent with his federal time instead of consecutively. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  18. A year-and-a-half after allegedly introducing counterfeit chipsinto the opening event of the Borgata Winter Poker Open, Christian Lusardi(pictured) was officially indicted. According to the Press of Atlantic City, on Wednesday, Lusardi "was indicted by an Atlantic County grand jury on charges of second-degree trademark counterfeiting, second-degree attempted theft by deception, and third-degree criminal mischief." He was originally arrested in January 2014. The Acting Attorney General in New Jersey commented to the paper, "Lusardi's alleged scheme to play high-stakes poker with counterfeit chips played out like a Hollywood movie plot. As theatrical as this was, we cannot lose sight of the serious nature of this financial crime. By allegedly betting with phony chips, Lusardi cheated other players and cost the Borgata hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tournament revenues." Lusardi played in the tournament and, after he busted, he reportedly returned to his hotel room at Harrah's Atlantic City and tried to flush the remaining chips down the toilet, causing $10,000 in damage. As the Press of Atlantic City explained, "Police say he ordered the poker chips over the internet from a Chinese manufacturer and affixed the counterfeit logo stickers to them." Lusardi cashed for almost $7,000 in the tournament, which was paused when three tables remained after the bogus chips were discovered. Meanwhile, Lusardi was jailed in April 2015 for copyright infringement for pirating DVDs. He earned a five-year prison sentence and another three years of probation following his release. Lusardi also had to pay restitution of over $1.1 million. In February 2014, a class-action lawsuitspearheaded by Jacob Musterel was filed against Borgata. Two months later, almost $20,000 was paid out to each remaining playerfrom the prize pool, about what 10th place would have made had the tournament played out normally. Over 2,100 other players received their $560 buy-in back. Shortly thereafter, members of the final 27 sued. We'll keep you posted on the latest. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  19. Last Friday, Brian Lemke (pictured, image courtesy SPO), known on PocketFives as ship_the_perc, came away with the win in the Borgata Spring Poker Open Main Event in Atlantic City, earning $276,000. However, according to the event's blog, winning was anything but easy: "He bagged 31,700 chips at the end of Day 1 – just barely more than the 30,000 starting stack. He bagged 235,000 at the end of Day 2 – less than the 253,000 average. He entered the final table with 2/3 of an average stack." This is the third time Lemke has won a tournament at Borgata. He took down a $560 No Limit Hold'em Re-Entry event during the 2012 Borgata Spring Poker Open for $111,000 and won the same type of tournament a year later during the casino's Winter Poker Open for another $37,000. Last week's victory came in a $2,700 buy-in event that had 447 entries. If you're an avid reader of PocketFives, then you might remember that Lemke took down a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2009in a $5,000 No Limit Hold'em tournament for almost $700,000. He defeated Fabian Quoss in that event, which drew 655 entrants. Lemke had a critical double-up to set up his big win. According to Borgata, "Right when it looked like Andy Spears was going to run away with the trophy, Lemke doubled up through Spears to gain the chip lead and never gave it back. When he knocked out Ben Zamaniin fourth place and stacked up more than 60% of the chips in play, it was only a matter of time before he claimed another Borgata trophy." Lemke has $516,000 in tracked online tournament winnings in his PocketFives profile, all of which came before Black Friday. He won the Super Tuesday in 2010 for $77,000, his largest online score to date. Congrats to Lemke on his big live win! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  20. A federal judge has denied poker pro Phil Ivey's motion to dismiss a lawsuit levied against himby Marina District Development Co., LLC, parent of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, in conjunction with Ivey's use of "edge-sorting" to win nearly $10 million at the casino in 2012. The case will now proceed into the discovery phase. In April 2012, Borgata filed its lawsuit in United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against Ivey (pictured) and his female companion, Cheng Yin Sun, accusing them of number of crimes including Breach of Contract, Breach of Implied Contract, Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Fraudulent Inducement, and Fraud. The company also sued playing card manufacturer Gemaco on six counts, including Breach of Contract and Negligence. Ivey and his attorneys filed a motion to dismissin July, a motion which Judge Noel L Hillman has now denied. The case stems back to April 2012 when Phil Ivey called Borgata, telling them he was planning on playing there and asked for special arrangements to be made for high-stakes baccarat sessions. According to Borgata, the special requests were made under the pretense of superstition. Ivey requested a private gaming area, a dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese, permission to have a companion sitting with him, an automatic card shuffler, and an eight-deck shoe specifically composed of purple Gemaco playing cards. Wanting a whale's business, Borgata agreed to Ivey's requests and the maximum bet was set at $50,000. Ivey deposited $1 million with the casino in advance of his trip to Atlantic City. Ivey cleaned up. On April 11, 2012, he won $2.4 million, then returned in May with the same conditions and won another $1.6 million. In July, he changed the terms slightly, getting Borgata to double the maximum bet. He then proceeded to win $4.7 million at baccarat. In October, he returned for one more go at it, winning $825,000. Borgata alleged in its lawsuit – and Ivey has since admitted as much – that Ivey's requests were all a part of a plan to work the game to his advantage. Normally, the backs of cards have a symmetrical pattern; when face down, they appear the same no matter how a card is oriented. But Ivey knew those specific Gemaco cards were mis-cut, creating an asymmetrical pattern and giving him an advantage. In a statement, Judge Hillman wrote, that "Borgata has pled plausible claims sounding in fraud" and is allowing the case to move on to discovery. Discovery is a pre-trial phase in which the opposing sides exchange information about evidence and witnesses they intend to use in court. It is designed to avoid, as the American Bar Association puts it, "trial by ambush." We'll keep you posted on the latest. In the meantime, here's a look at the edge-sorting process:
  21. On Thursday, Christian Lusardi (pictured), the mastermind behind the so-called Chipgate at Borgata, was sentenced to five years in jail. According to the Associated Press, "Lusardi also must pay $463,540 in restitution to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa for the revenue it lost when it canceled the 2014 tournament in Atlantic City and $9,455 to Harrah's Casino Hotel for damaging its plumbing." Lusardi was indicted in July. At the time, the Acting Attorney General in New Jersey said, "Lusardi's alleged scheme to play high-stakes poker with counterfeit chips played out like a Hollywood movie plot. As theatrical as this was, we cannot lose sight of the serious nature of this financial crime. By allegedly betting with phony chips, Lusardi cheated other players and cost the Borgata hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tournament revenues." This Hollywood movie plot ended with a half-decade in jail, to be exact. According to the Associated Press, Lusardi officially pleaded guilty to trademark counterfeiting and criminal mischief. He is 43 years of age and also landed in hot water for pirating DVDs in an unrelated incident. The tournament, the opening event of the Borgata Winter Poker Open, was canceled when 27 players remained and the counterfeit chips were discovered. Lusardi had cashed in the event, but was not in the field when it was suspended. It was a $2 million guaranteed Big Stack No Limit Hold'em event. In February 2014, a class-action lawsuitspearheaded by Jacob Musterel was filed against Borgata. Two months later, almost $20,000 was paid out to each remaining playerfrom the prize pool, about what 10th place would have made had the tournament played out normally. Over 2,100 other players received their $560 buy-in back. Shortly thereafter, members of the final 27 sued. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  22. Phil Ivey(pictured) is in a heated legal battle against Atlantic City's Borgata Casino, which is suing the 10-time bracelet winner for $9.6 million, the amount he won at its baccarat tables using a technique that the casino considers to be cheating. In response, Ivey has made counterclaimsalleging it was the casino which tried to take advantage of him using attractive cocktail waitresses and free alcohol. This week, Borgata filed a brief to have those allegations dismissed by summary judgment, a document that revealed new details about the incident. Borgata claims that Ivey and a woman named Cheng Yin Sun committed fraud against the casino via a technique called edge-sorting, in which eagle-eyed players exploit tiny imperfections on the backs of playing cards. Over the course of several sessions, Ivey used his VIP status to make several odd requests that would help him in that scheme, including requiring a purple deck of Gemaco playing cards and a Mandarin-speaking dealer. The pair walked away with nearly $10 million in winnings, with the casino only becoming suspicious after Ivey had been accused of using edge-sorting at Crockfords Casino in London, where he and Sun had won several million dollars as well. In a 19-page brief filed this week, Borgata said the issue simply boiled down to whether edge-sorting was legal. "When the dust kicked up by Defendants' repeated attempts to vilify the casino industry settles, we will have come full circle to the beginning of this case," said Borgata attorney Jeremy Klausner. "This issue is, and has always been a simple one: is edge-sorting, as specifically admitted to and practiced by Mr. Ivey and Ms. Sun, cheating or unfair play?" Borgata also challenged Ivey's claims that he was not able to review the playing cards in question, as they had been destroyed by the casino. "Mr. Ivey is a well-known, high-stakes, professional gambler and a longtime VIP customer of Borgata. Borgata had no reason to suspect Mr. Ivey intended to engage in edge-sorting or any other cheating or unfair play," it stated. Borgata brushed aside Ivey's argument that he was taking advantage of by the casino as well. "The individual playing cards do not change the answer. Complimentary drinks do not change the answer. Cocktail servers do not change the answer," said the brief. "There is no defense that changes the underlying nature of Defendants' edge-sorting scheme. It is either permitted or not, lawful or unlawful, and that is the question before this Court." With the filing came several new details about how Ivey and Sun were able to pull off such stunning wins. In the document, Ivey's partner is referred to as one of the only people in the world who knows how to edge-sort at baccarat. It claims that people have offered to pay Sun to teach them the technique, but she has always refused. Edge-sorting is extremely difficult and took Sun three years to teach herself. To pull off the scheme with Ivey, she instructed the dealer to give her a peek at the next card off the deck before turning it over on the table. But before flipping it, Sun would tell the dealer how to orient the card (for a "superstitious" Ivey) on the felt. It would then be put back into the shoe, but turned in a way where she knew what it would be when it came up again. Advance knowledge of what the first card off the deck will be gives a baccarat player a substantial edge over the casino. "Mathematically, players with first card knowledge have an overall advantage of approximately 6.765% over the house. The advantage is up to 21.5% for 'player' bets and up to 5.5% for 'banker' bets," said the brief. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  23. In March, Phil Ivey (pictured) was deposed in a case involving alleged edge-sorting at Borgata in Atlantic City. The casino sued Ivey for almost $10 millionand, in turn, Ivey counter-sued Borgata. PokerNews managed to obtain a portion of the deposition, which took place in March. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Borgata filed suit against Ivey in April 2014, calling his actions in baccarat "premeditated, practiced, and intricate." His sessions at Borgata occurred in 2012 and involved a private area where he could play, a dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese, the ability to bring a guest, one deck of purple cards from Gemaco, and an automatic shuffler. According to the deposition, no one from Borgata asked any questions about Ivey's demands. The 10-time bracelet winner said, "I played multiple hours and they never asked me to stop or never asked me what I was doing, what was my strategy." All told, Ivey won $9.6 million at baccarat, allegedly by taking advantage of imperfections in the deck, using a colleague to ask the dealer to turn certain cards. Ivey suggested that in order to avoid getting swindled in the future, Borgata (pictured) should use a CSM machine, explaining, "It's a continuous dealing machine where… the cards just get reused and reused but they change the order or something. I'm not sure exactly how the cards work. I just know… we don't have a way of beating it." Ivey also added that simply changing the decks out would also solve the issue. As he put it, if Borgata or any other casino did not want to invest in CSM technology, "A cheap thing they could have done is just not reuse the same deck… That's the easiest way to protect yourself." Some of the deposition that PokerNews posted centered on Borgata's cocktail waitresses. Ivey called them the "prettiest waitresses in town" and said he had an "unlimited budget" for alcohol. All the while, he was playing baccarat for five- and six-figures a hand. You might also recall that Ivey won £7.3 million at Crockfords Casino in London (pictured) playing a game called punto banco. The casino alleges he used the same tacticsas he did at Borgata. Crockfords withheld payment and Ivey sued. In October 2014, a judge ruled against Ivey, dismissing the Crockfords case and leading Ivey to appeal. Ivey said at the time, "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." In the deposition, an update on the Crockfords legal action was also given. Ivey relayed, "We appealed and we got granted the right to appeal the case… We have a new trial in December, which is very difficult to get appeal over there. It's very tough. Once you lose a case… it's usually done with." We'll keep you posted on the latest. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  24. In April 2014, Borgata in Atlantic City sued Phil Ivey for $9.6 millionafter the latter went on an epic winning streak in baccarat. The casino claimed Ivey (pictured), a 10-time bracelet winner, edge-sorted in order to gain an unfair advantage over the house and therefore shouldn't be able to retain his winnings. Now, Ivey is countersuing. Here's why Ivey is countersuing, according to ESPN: "Borgata had destroyed the decks of cards in question. Further, the countersuit claims a representative of the casino acknowledged that the casino was aware playing cards have cutting 'tolerances,' that Ivey never touched the cards, and that granting the special requests of high rollers was not unusual." Ivey reportedly asked for a specific type of playing card that had the irregularities, an automatic card shuffler, an eight-deck shoe, a private dealer, and the companionship of Cheng Yin Sun, who spoke Mandarin to the dealer and reportedly asked for certain cards to be turned. Borgata agreed to all of Ivey's requests. The rest, as they say, is history. According to a previous article here on PocketFives, "Ivey cleaned up. On April 11, 2012, he won $2.4 million, then returned in May with the same conditions and won another $1.6 million. In July, he changed the terms slightly, getting Borgata to double the maximum bet. He then proceeded to win $4.7 million at baccarat. In October, he returned for one more go at it, winning $825,000." The Borgata case moved on to the discovery phase in March of this year. Borgata called Ivey's actions "premeditated, practiced, and intricate." Ivey has been accused by Crockfords Casino in London of using a similar tactic to win at a game called punto banco. The site quoted Ivey as saying last October regarding those allegations, "It's not in my nature to cheat and I would never do anything to risk my reputation… I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy. We did nothing more than exploit Crockfords' failure to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability." An appeal in the Crockfords case will be heard in December, according to ESPN. Ivey won over $12 million from the London establishment. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  25. [caption width="640"] Chris Leong won the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Friday night. (WPT Live Updates/Joe Giron photo)[/caption] While some final tables follow a wire-to-wire run by chip leaders, others see short stacks come from the back of the pack to claim the title. That’s exactly what happened in Atlantic City, as Chris Leong outlasted a massive 1,171 player field to claim the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open title and a $816,246 score. The six-handed table battled through a tactical and slow first level of play, the action really kicked off in one of the first hands of Level 31. Chip leader Rafael Yaraliyev opened to 285,000 from the cutoff and after action folded to Wantman, who was in the big blind, he three-bet to 700,000. Yaraliyev pushed his stack forward to put Wantman to a decision for his remaining 3,400,000 and the Massachusetts native snap-called, turning over [poker card="qh"][poker card="qd"]. It was a flip for the short stack’s life, as Yaraliyev held [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"] and that flip went the chip leader’s way on the [poker card="as"][poker card="8s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="8d"] runout. Wantman hit the rail in sixth place, while Yaraliyev took control of close to 40% of the chips. Yaraliyev then tried to put that chip advantage to use over the next level, as he had 2009 WPT World Champion Yevgeniy Timoshenko on the ropes a few times. The first encounter saw Timoshenko flip for his tournament life with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Qc"] to Yaraliyev’s pocket fours but after the [poker card="8h"][poker card="7c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="6h"] runout, he had to settle for a chop. A few hands later, Timoshenko finally did double his short stack, as his [poker card="jh"][poker card="th"] flopped a straight against Yaraliyev’s [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"] on a board of [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"]. Unfortunately for Timoshenko, the high blinds and antes didn’t allow him to get much traction after that double, as he was eliminated in the next level by Leong. That’s where the New Yorker’s run towards this WPT WPO Championship title started, as he dispatched the former World Champion while holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. Timoshenko re-shoved over Leong’s early position open for just over 10 big blinds and his [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"] couldn’t improve, confirming his fifth place elimination. The only other "world champ" at the final table was next to go, as reigning WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen then found himself as the short stack. He got a handful of shoves through but eventually, he was all-in and at risk to Yaraliyev, who still controlled a sizable chip lead at that stage of the tournament. Yaraliyev held [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"] to McKeehen’s [poker card="kd"][poker card="qh"], with the bracelet winner moving all-in for 3,100,000 after Yaraliyev opened in early position. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"][poker card="js"][poker card="9d"][poker card="7s"] runout completed the elimination and McKeehen bowed out right before the podium spots in 4th place. In the very next hand off the deck, Liam He, another short stack, was all-in and after some thought, Leong called to put him at risk from the small blind. In his encounter with Timoshenko, Leong needed to hold to score the knockout but this time, he needed to hit, as he held [poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"] to He’s [poker card="7h"][poker card="7c"]. He did just that, as the [poker card="9d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3s"] flop gave him a set and left He drawing to running cards or the final two sevens in the deck to stay alive. Neither came, as the [poker card="2s"] and [poker card="kd"] completed the board and moved Leong into heads up play with a 3:2 disadvantage. That disadvantage quickly disappeared, as Leong won a 20,000,000 chip pot in one of the first hands of heads up play, four-betting pre flop and calling two big bets on a board of [poker card="ac"][poker card="8d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="9c"] with [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"]. Top pair-top kicker was good to swing that 3:2 ratio in his advantage and from there, it looked like the title was only going to be a few hands away. That was, until Leong and Yaraliyev exchanged multiple double ups, shifting the chip lead back and forth close to a half dozen times before Leong scored the title winning elimination. With the level set to go up in just a few seconds, Leong moved all-in from the button and Rafael Yaraliyev snap called in the big blind, tabling [poker card="qh"][poker card="qc"]. Leong threw over [poker card="ac"][poker card="8s"] and he was looking for a bit of revenge with his medium ace, as Yaraliyev doubled through Leong in the previous level [poker card="ad"][poker card="7h"] over [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"]. This time, it was Leong’s turn to spike the ace though and he did, as the [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="jd"][poker card="5c"] runout confirmed the elimination and crowned the newest member of the WPT Champions Club. Final Table Payouts Chris Leong - $816,246 Rafael Yaraliyev - $487,288 Liam He - $297,288 Joe McKeehen - $249,267 Yevgeniy Timoshenko - $206,160 Matthew Wantman - $166,803
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