Phil Ivey Loses Another $9.6 Million After Court Rules in Favor of Crockfords

November 4th, 2016 | by Kaycee James
Ivey loses Crockfords appeal.

Phil Ivey loses his appeal against Crockfords Casino and misses out on $9.6 million. (Image: Eileen Blass, USA TODAY)

Phil Ivey may want to forget his last few weeks in court as he’s seen more than $18 million slip from his grasp.

Ivey has been battling London’s Crockfords Casino since 2012, but following a ruling by Lady Justice Arden it now looks as though he’ll have to give up the fight.

To fill in the gaps, Ivey originally entered into a court battle with Crockfords after it withheld £7.7 million ($9.6 million) in baccarat winnings.

After spending two days at the casino’s high stakes Punto Banco tables, Ivey manage to reverse a seven-figure deficit and walk away with what he thought was a sizeable prize.

But, after reviewing the strategy of Ivey and his accomplice, Cheng Yin Sun, the Genting-owned venue decided to withhold his payment.

Ivey Found an Edge

Although Ivey did receive his $1.25 million stake money back, Crockfords refused to pay him his winnings because it claimed he used illicit tactics. Ivey denied the allegations and the case eventually ended up in court.

Arguing his case, Ivey explained that printing errors on the cards were not his fault and that his strategy of being able to identify these imperfections wasn’t cheating.

A drawn-out process of hearings and rulings ensued before a judge finally ruled against Ivey. Not wanting to give up without a fight, Ivey rolled the dice a final time and took his case to the Court of Appeal. Unfortunately, after reviewing the facts, Lady Justice Arden wasn’t able to overturn the decision.

Despite saying that Ivey didn’t cheat, she did say that his actions did contravene the “contract” a player enters into with a casino. Pointing to the Gambling Act 2005, Arden explained that there is an implicit understanding that the player wouldn’t cheat in order to win.

“In my judgment, this section provides 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,” said Arden.

A Double Blow for Ivey

For Ivey, the ruling was not only unsatisfactory, but confusing. With Arden seeming to imply that a player can be honest but still cheat, Ivey and his lawyer, Matthew Dowd, questioned the legal definition of “cheating.”

“This ruling leaves the law totally unclear as to what constitutes cheating at gambling,” Dowd lamented.

Although one appeal judge did side with Ivey, the verdicts by Arden and Lord Justice Tomlinson won the day and means that he won’t be getting $9.6 million from Crockfords. To make matters worse, Ivey recently lost his appeal against Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino.

Battling a virtually identical case, Ivey was cleared of cheating by U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman, but once again, the ruling didn’t go his way and $9.6 million was lost. Between his losses in London and Atlantic City, Ivey has not only wasted almost four years of his life, but let more than $19 million slip through his fingers.

Although the loss probably won’t have much impact on Ivey’s day-to-day life, the whole experience will no doubt leave a bitter aftertaste.


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