Borgata Could Hand Phil Ivey a $16 Million Bad Beat

November 11th, 2016 | by Kaycee James
Phil Ivey may owe Borgata $16 million.

Phil Ivey may have to pay the Borgata almost $16 million in the wake of his edge sorting case. (Image:

Phil Ivey might have thought his battle with the Borgata was over, but it seems the Atlantic City casino has other ideas.

At the end of October, Ivey was given the disappointing news that his lawsuit against the Borgata had been unsuccessful.

After fighting the venue for $9.6 million in baccarat winnings since 2012, Ivey recently learned that his appeal to recoup his money had been unsuccessful.

During the initial hearing, a judge ruled against Ivey and insisted that his actions (using an accomplice to read small manufacturing errors on a deck of cards) breached the rules of the game.

Unhappy with the ruling, Ivey appealed but Judge Noel Hillman was unable to overturn the decision.

Ivey Didn’t Cheat but it Doesn’t Matter

Despite suggesting that Ivey hadn’t cheated, Hillman believed his strategy to be beyond the realms of legitimate play and, therefore, the Borgata was within its rights to withhold his winnings. Although Hillman’s conclusion was far from ideal, it looked as though that was the end of it. Or, that’s what Ivey thought.

With 20 days to outline the damages it may have suffered at the hands of Ivey and his partner, Cheng Yin Sun, the Borgata has decided to bring its own suit against Ivey.

Because Hillman ruled that Ivey had breached his “contract” (the unwritten playing code), the Borgata has put together a list of said breaches and their associated costs.

As outlined by’s John Brennan, the Borgata wants its $10.1 million in winnings back, plus an additional $249,000 the casino reportedly gave him in comps.

To make matters worse for Ivey, the casino feels it’s entitled to $5.4 million in theoretical lost earnings.

Are Theoretical Losses Fair Game?

After assessing the size of Ivey’s average bet and calculating the average win rate for baccarat (i.e. the loss rate), the Borgata believes Ivey would have lost $5.4 million had he not found a way to gain an advantage.

In total, Ivey may now owe the casino just short of $16 million. Of course, a judge will have to review the case first and then accept the Borgata’s claim it’s entitled to money that may or may not have been lost at the table.

However, if Ivey does suffer another negative ruling then it could leave Ivey with a very large hole in his bank account. Naturally, with more than $23 million in live tournament earnings, regular wins in the largest cash games in the world and various business interests, there’s a strong chance Ivey would be able to foot the bill.

But, regardless of his ability to pay, the outcome would be considered a bad beat for the American poker pro.


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