Poker player loses €9.7m casino challenge

Top poker player Phil Ivey has lost his High Court case against the owners of London’s Crockfords Club over his £7.7m (€9.7m) winnings.

The 38-year-old American sued over a version of baccarat known as Punto Banco which he played at the Mayfair casino over two days in August 2012. After four sessions, he was told the money would be wired to him and he left for the US, but it never arrived, although his stake money of £1m was returned.

Genting Casinos UK, which owns more than 40 casinos in the UK, including Crockfords, said the technique of “edge-sorting” which Ivey used — which aims to provide the customer with an element of “first card advantage” — was not a legitimate strategy and that the casino had no liability to him.

Its lawyers told Mr Justice Mitting in London that Ivey’s conduct defeated the essential premise of the game of baccarat so there was no gaming contract or constituted cheating.

A spokesman for Crockfords said later: “Crockfords is pleased with the judgement of the High Court today supporting its defence of a claim by Mr Ivey.

“It is our policy not to discuss our clients’ affairs in public and we very much regret that proceedings were brought against us.

Speaking through a spokesman, Mr Ivey said: “ I am 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.

Lawyers for Mr Ivey were refused permission to appeal although they can renew their application to the Court of Appeal directly.


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