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16
JUN

The Phil Ivey Controversy

Author: Harry Von Schlussel

“I’ve been told I’m intimidating,” Ivey says, “that sitting across from me is frightening. Or that my stare alone is enough to make a player crumble. But I’m just sitting here, playing the same game you are. … Well, kind of.”

Phillip Dennis “Phil” Ivey Jr. is a professional American poker player who has won a daunting ten World Series of Poker (WSOP) and one World Poker Tour Title. He is one of the greatest poker players to have ever graced the gambling world, but his fame and fortune has not come without controversy…

In the year 2012, Ivey won over $20 million from the game of baccarat. It’s been said that he used a technique called edge sorting in order to beat the odds and successfully pulled it off by taking note of flawed printing marks on the back of the cards. Apparently Ivey requested a specific brand of cards be used on his table - a make called Gemaco, with the back of the cards in purple print. He also requested the dealer use an automatic shuffler, instead of manually shuffling the cards.

While his requests seemed rather straightforward, it could have had a big impact on whether he won another tournament at Crockfords in London or not and to make sure the casino followed through with his requests, Ivey deposited a seven figure sum to secure his requests. The deposits following the commencement of the tournament were not for the feint hearted, we’re talking about $50.000 - $150.000 deposits in one go.

With the help of Cheng Yin Sun (Ivey’s assistant at the time), who instructed the dealer to rotate the cards in a specific way, to ensure the defects on the cards were obvious to Ivey. He won millions in pay outs - a staggering $12.1 million to be exact, but the high-profile casino refused to pay Ivey out and he is now suing the casino.

Did he cheat or is he just really that good at gambling? You decide.

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