Judges Rule Against Phil Ivey in Final Round of Edge Sorting Case

October 25th, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

Phil Ivey has lost his edge sorting case against Crockfords Casino at a recent hearing inside the UK’s Supreme Court.

Phil Ivey Punto Banco.

Phil Ivey finally loses his high stakes Punto Banco case against London’s Crockfords Casino. (Image: YouTube/BluffMagVideos)

The October 25 ruling by the UK’s highest court marks the end of a case that stretches back to 2012 and two consecutive sessions of a baccarat variant known as Punto Banco.

Subtle Move Led to Large Profit

After learning about a printing error on the reverse of certain Gemaco cards, Ivey and a partner, Cheung Yin Sun, employed a technique later known as edge sorting.

By asking the dealers to turn the cards on their edge, Ivey and Sun were able to note the imperfections and get an insight into its potential value. The system allowed Ivey to overturn an initial £1 million ($1.3) loss inside Crockfords and, eventually, bank £7.7 million ($10.2 million) in profit.

Once the error was spotted, Crockfords’ parent company Genting put a hold on the poker pro’s payout. With this money in limbo, Ivey eventually took the case to court, but lost when a judge ruled against his claim in 2014.

Unhappy with the ruling, Ivey’s legal team presented his case at the High Court in 2015 and then to Court of Appeals in 2016.

A New Perspective on Cheating

During both hearings, Ivey’s legal team argued that his actions couldn’t be properly construed as cheating because he wasn’t being dishonest.

Under UK law, defendants can only be guilty if their conduct was dishonest by the standards of ordinary, reasonable and honest people. During the 2016 appeal, two judges ruled that it’s still possible to cheat even if a person’s actions aren’t dishonest or intended to deceive.

However, Lady Justice Sharp ruled that Ivey has honest. This gave him the ability to go through a final appeal at the Supreme Court in London on July 13, 2017.

Reviewing the case in its entirety, five judges ultimately sided with Crockfords. The decision not only brings an end to Ivey’s claim, but it will redefine the dynamic between cheating and honesty and likely set a precedent for all future casino cases in the UK. 

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