The decision that Phil Ivey had been waiting for many months has finally came, but it is not what he wanted to hear. He has just lost his £7.7M dispute against a London casino at the Court of Appeal, as a judge stated that his "edge sorting" technique was equivalent to cheating despite the fact that he was not dishonest.
Ivey lost his appeal against Genting Casinos UK, owner of Crockfords Club in Mayfair, over his £7.7M winnings because of his use of a technique called edge sorting, which exploits a defect in the printing of the cards. Ivey was trying to appeal the 2014 ruling that he was cheating when he and his companion Cheung Yin Sun were playing a type of baccarat game called Punto Banco at the Crockfords Casino back in August 2012.
In a press release issued by his UK legal team, Ivey said, "This decision makes no sense to me. The trial judge said that I was not dishonest and the three appeal judges agreed but somehow the decision has gone against me. Can someone tell me how you can have honest cheating?"
He added, "I'd like to add that I am very grateful to Lady Justice Sharp who decided that the trial judge was ‘wrong' to decide that I had cheated. The public should read her judgment. It makes perfect sense."
Back in May 2013, Ivey admitted he used edge sorting when he played Punto Banco, but said that the casino should have recognized it. What he did was nothing more than take advantage of Crockford's failures to take the proper steps to protect themselves against a player of his ability. On a statement in May 2013, he said, "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."
In October 2014, a high court ruled in favor of Crockfords casino, but Ivey appealed, filing in late 2014 the papers at the Court of Appeal in London for reconsideration in December.
Ivey's lawyer Matthew Dowd stated, "The Court of Appeal's decision leaves the law totally unclear as to what constitutes cheating at gambling. Four judges have looked at this issue now and none of them have been able to agree on the correct interpretation of section 42 of the Gambling Act. It is essential that the law is clarified and in light of today's decision we are seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court."
The decision came in just 2 weeks since it was publicly announced that Ivey "broke the rules of gambling as defined in [New Jersey] when he won $10 million from the Borgata casino in 2012.
Ivey and his gambling partner Sun were found not to have committed fraud as Borgata had accused. Borgata must now outline what it believes to be the damages it has suffered and then Ivey will have a chance to take action before a final determination is made.
What do you think - Is edge sorting legal or not?