Poker player taking London casino to court over £7.7m winnings

Poker player Phil Ivey is taking his legal battle against a London casino over his £7.7m winnings to the Supreme Court in England.

The 40-year-old American is challenging a 2016 majority decision in the Court of Appeal dismissing his case against Genting Casinos UK, which owns Crockfords Club in Mayfair, London.

After successfully playing a version of baccarat known as Punto Banco there in 2012, Mr Ivey was told the money would be wired to him and he left for Las Vegas, but it never arrived - although his stake money of £1m was returned.

Genting, which owns more than 40 casinos in the UK, said the technique of ''edge-sorting'' he used - which involves identifying small differences in the pattern on the reverse of playing cards and exploiting that information to increase the chances of winning - was not a legitimate strategy and the casino had no liability to him.

Mr Ivey did not personally touch any cards, but persuaded the croupier to rotate the most valuable cards by intimating that he was superstitious.

In the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Arden said that the Gambling Act 2005 provided that "a party may cheat within the meaning of this section without dishonesty or intention to deceive: depending on the circumstances it may be enough that he simply interferes with the process of the game.

"On that basis, the fact that the appellant did not regard himself as cheating is not determinative."

There was no doubt, she added, that the actions of Mr Ivey and another gambler, Cheung Yin Sun, interfered with the process by which Crockfords played the game of Punto Banco with Mr Ivey.

"It is for the court to determine whether the interference was of such a quality as to constitute cheating. In my judgment it had that quality."

Mr Ivey has maintained that he did nothing more than exploit Crockfords' failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of his ability.

''I was upset as I had played an honest game and won fairly. My integrity is infinitely more important to me than a big win."

Before the one day hearing on Thursday before Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Hughes and Lord Thomas, he said: "Last November's 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 two to one.

"I am so pleased that the Supreme Court has granted me permission to fight for what I genuinely believe is right.

"I am hopeful that it will reverse the decision against me and that I will finally receive my winnings which I consider to be the just and proper outcome to this dispute."


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