Phil Ivey Forced to Pay Borgata $10.1 Million

December 16th, 2016 | by Brian Corlisse
Ivey to pay Borgata $10.1 million.

Phil Ivey dealt another bad beat as he’s ordered to pay the Borgata $10.1 million. (Image: USA Today/Eileen Blass)

Phil Ivey has been ordered to repay $10.1 million to the Borgata by a US District Judge after losing his appeal against claims he cheated at baccarat.

The long running battle between Ivey and New Jersey’s Borgata came to a disappointing end for the poker pro on December 15 after judge Noel Hillman ruled that he was obligated to repay the casino.

As per his verdict, Hillman concluded that Ivey and his partner Cheng Yin Sun breached their playing agreement with the Borgata and, as such, they must return their winnings.

Judge Maintains Status Quo

Although the news certainly won’t thrill Ivey, the judge did take his side with regards to the amount that needs to be paid back. Using a “status quo ante theory,” Hillman simply ordered Ivey and his partner to repay the amount won before the formation of a contract i.e. the amount Ivey took away after the session.

Had Hillman taken a less forgiving position, Ivey could have been on the hook for more than $16 million. After the Borgata won its case against Ivey and Sun, it was given the option to claim back any damages it believed were incurred because of the incident.

Quick to take that option, the Borgata’s legal team put together a list of payments it felt it was entitled to. On top of the $10.1 million in baccarat winnings it wanted back, the Borgata also filed a claim for $249,000 in comps given to Ivey during his session.

Interestingly, the casino also tacked on an additional claim for $5.6 million that Ivey “would have lost” had he continued to play without the marked cards.

Common Sense Prevails

Although Ivey wasn’t responsible for the markings on the cards or the fact they Borgata were using them in their games, a judge was forced to rule that he exploited that flaw and, therefore, breached his fair play contract with the casino.

Fortunately, the judge didn’t accept the Borgata’s additional claims, calling them “too speculative a remedy.”

Had the judge ruled in favor of the Borgata on this issue as well, it could have set a nasty precedent for the US casino industry. Having the ability to claim expected or theoretical losses from a player could have opened the floodgates to some ludicrous claims in similar cases.

For now, however, one of the world’s greatest poker players will have to lick his wounds, pay back the house and move on. Naturally, that’s great news for the Borgata, but it could spell trouble for members of the high stakes poker community.

With a debt to pay and a fire under him, Ivey could be ready to go on a rampage through the biggest cash games in the world which is a scary proposition for any pro.


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