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Borgata to sue Phil Ivey for $9.6M

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thePOGG
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Borgata to sue Phil Ivey for $9.6M

Postby thePOGG » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:11 am

Looks like the Borgata in Atlantic City is going to try and sue Phil Ivey (WSOP superstar Phil Ivey) because they were too slow to pick up an obvious advantage play - http://news.yahoo.com/borgata-casino-lawsuit-gambler-cheated-won-9-6m-204337332.html.

Ivey was beating them by using a slight misalignment in the pattern on the back of the cards. Because the pattern wasn't even, Ivey and his partner could request that good cards were turned one way and bad cards the other - allowing them to read from the back of the card whether it was likely to be good or bad for the player.

If everything is as the above report claims, I just don't see how the Borgata expect to win this one. Much like training their dealers', the casino are responsible for ensuring that their equipment is maintained and fit for purpose. If they a) failed to do sufficient checks to make sure their cards met required standards and b) allowed Ivey discretionary procedural changes because they liked his play, that's their problem.
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Postby UK-21 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:29 pm

thePOGG wrote:Looks like the Borgata in Atlantic City is going to try and sue Phil Ivey (WSOP superstar Phil Ivey) because they were too slow to pick up an obvious advantage play - . . .


Depends on the strength of the legal arguments around what constitutes cheating? In the States, and in the UK, the definition of cheating includes "deception" of the table or floor staff - so deceiving a dealer to make a higher than correct payout (ie by distracting them whilst someone adds chips to their wager after the result was known) would be cheating, and the Borgata might use this one, that his request resulted in him receiving an unfair advantage at the game in question.

Old Phil needs to tread with care with these techniques - if he is found wanting, and the State of Nevada subsequently choose to bring a criminal case, he could find himself banned from every casino in the state if he's convicted, which for a professional poker play would be a major disadvantage.
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Postby thePOGG » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:56 am

UK-21 wrote:Depends on the strength of the legal arguments around what constitutes cheating? In the States, and in the UK, the definition of cheating includes "deception" of the table or floor staff - so deceiving a dealer to make a higher than correct payout (ie by distracting them whilst someone adds chips to their wager after the result was known) would be cheating, and the Borgata might use this one, that his request resulted in him receiving an unfair advantage at the game in question.


I think their legal team would really be reaching on this one. Remember that both hole carding and team play/passing information covertly at the table or signling another player onto the table have been found legal in both NJ and Nevada. Alongside this - while I'm not saying that the Borgata may not try this argument - I doubt the argument would hold up in court. Of course distracting the dealer while you add more chips is cheating - that's called capping and is illegal regardless of whether or not you distract the dealer. Simply trying to add the chips after the wager is the illegal part of that play regardless of how you go about it.

In this instances Ivey requested a auto shuffler and asked the dealer to rotate cards. The dealer doesn't have the authorisation to give the player these perks by themselves so the requests will have had to be okayed further up the chain. Any member of that chain were free to question why Ivey wanted these things, I'd strongly suspect that they didn't, instead assuming a superstitious high roller.

More than that, if we accept that team play in the form of Big Player counting and hole carding - wherein one player counts the cards until they find a good deck or spots the dealers down card and in both instances passes the information subtlety to another player to do the betting - have been ruled legal plays in the US, I really find it difficult to believe that edge sorting would be rule more deceptive than these plays.

UK-21 wrote:Old Phil needs to tread with care with these techniques - if he is found wanting, and the State of Nevada subsequently choose to bring a criminal case, he could find himself banned from every casino in the state if he's convicted, which for a professional poker play would be a major disadvantage.


I would suggest Ivey's AP days are now behind him. Both the Borgata and the Crockfords incidents occurred within a 12 month period and have been very high profile. Every casino in the world will now be watching him whenever he walks through the doors. Anthony Curtis describes the problems of being an AP when he started winning tournaments with Wong's team in a recent interview I did with him (http://thepogg.com/thepogg-interviews-anthony-curtis-owner-of-the-las-vegas-advisor/). I suspect many casinos will start simply turning Ivey's action away.
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Postby UK-21 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:51 am

As I'm sure you've already gathered, Mr Justice Mitting ruled that he "cheated".

Bearing in mind that cheating is a criminal offence (under the Gambling Act 2005) a fair question is why, having made this ruling, the judge didn't direct that Mr I should be put under immediate arrest to stand trial at a criminal hearing???????????
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Postby thePOGG » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:43 pm

UK-21 wrote:As I'm sure you've already gathered, Mr Justice Mitting ruled that he "cheated".

Bearing in mind that cheating is a criminal offence (under the Gambling Act 2005) a fair question is why, having made this ruling, the judge didn't direct that Mr I should be put under immediate arrest to stand trial at a criminal hearing???????????


I wasn't aware of this actually, though I know one of the expert witnesses that testified this week. If that ruling's not overturned at appeal it could have a massive effect on advantage play in the UK. The judge ruled that Ivey had manipulated the dealer into giving him the advantage. Does that mean that choosing your seat because a dealer only flashes to one seat now constitutes cheating?

A very controversial ruling and one that I personally feel has been made by a judge who clearly has insufficient understanding of the history of Advantage Play.
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Postby UK-21 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:43 pm

He wasn't granted leave to appeal, but did have costs awarded against him.

The answer to the question I posed was highlighted to me - as Mr I's evidence was largely self-incriminating (he admitted to his successful attempt to deceive the staff into carrying out actions that they wouldn't normally have done and received an advantage as a result) if he was subsequently charged with a criminal offence he wouldn't receive a fair trial as he wouldn't then be able to decline to give evidence and not incrimiate himself. A fair point.

If you're a gambling man, I think the odds of the ruling being challenged and overturned are a few trillion to one.
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Postby thePOGG » Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:27 pm

UK-21 wrote:as Mr I's evidence was largely self-incriminating (he admitted to his successful attempt to deceive the staff into carrying out actions that they wouldn't normally have done and received an advantage as a result)



I can't agree with you on that point at all, specifically the term "self-incriminating". Ivey requested that Crockford's turn certain cards round. This is a discretionary procedure that casinos offer high rollers who are superstitious. It may not be everyday procedure, but most casinos catering to high rollers will allow these sorts of changes. Crockford's arrogantly believed that Ivey - a very smart and skilled poker player - was too dumb to take advantage of this. That's their misjudgement.

All Crockford's needed to do was to institute a half turn on every second grab during the shuffle (probably far less than that) to protect themselves. This is a tiny procedural change and one that costs next to no time (unlike reducing penetration or adding extra passes for blackjack). The fact that they didn't do this speaks to either incompetence, ignorance or laziness in their security staff. In the same way that a flashing dealer has been poorly trained and it's the casino's job to fix it, lack of basic knowledge about well publicized techniques (by Advantage Play standards) is the casino's issue to resolve.

As I pointed out above, this is a procedure that is offered on a discretionary bases to high rollers. While it's done specifically to indulge superstitions I doubt there's every been a casino turned round to a high rolling client and say "we'll allow this, but only if your system's a load of hokeum". For a start no system player believes that their system doesn't work. The fact that Ivey's 'system' did work is beside the point. The casino will not have defined terms for the application of the procedure to Ivey. If the procedure was offered without terms of use the implied contract of 'the gambler should expect to lose' to attribute guilt is nonsense. No gambler goes in with the intention of losing.
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Postby Lepton » Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:09 am

thePOGG wrote: No gambler goes in with the intention of losing.


I've seen this sentence before, and I can't agree to it. In fact, isn't this the exact definition of a non-recreational player? Casinos welcome players who "know that they are losing but are playing for entertainment" Anyone who has the intention of winning is the opposite of that, be it card counting, bonus hunting, jackpot hustling or anything else.

If the quoted sentence were true, then everyone should be banned from ALL online casinos and most land casinos because all of them have some version of "non-recreational players are not welcomed in the casino". In fact, of all the mountains of controversy in the online casino industry, so many of them stem from a FU term that is "spirit of the bonus", where the player's intent of winning was the sole reason of confiscation of funds.
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Postby thePOGG » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:13 am

Lepton wrote:I've seen this sentence before, and I can't agree to it. In fact, isn't this the exact definition of a non-recreational player? Casinos welcome players who "know that they are losing but are playing for entertainment" Anyone who has the intention of winning is the opposite of that, be it card counting, bonus hunting, jackpot hustling or anything else.

If the quoted sentence were true, then everyone should be banned from ALL online casinos and most land casinos because all of them have some version of "non-recreational players are not welcomed in the casino". In fact, of all the mountains of controversy in the online casino industry, so many of them stem from a FU term that is "spirit of the bonus", where the player's intent of winning was the sole reason of confiscation of funds.


I can't agree with your interpretation of the word "intent". In fact I'd suggest you're mixing it up with "know".

When I go to tile the wall in my bathroom, my intent is to do a professional job. Now I probably know that I won't achieve a professional standard but I'm not starting out with the intent to produce anything less.

Likewise in a casino the recreational player comes out with some money and the knowledge that they're more likely to lose than win, but the intended result is to win. Otherwise with every bet the players would be cheering when they lost rather than when they won.

As to Spirit of the Bonus terms - enforcement of these rules in the genuinely wrong way that was commonplace in the early 2000's isn't so common now. Most casinos when they start quoting these types of terms really mean 'we know this player's running multiple accounts but we don't want to talk about that so we'll give some catch all rule instead'. There are still rare cases where casinos simply don't like the player's play - one against Ace Live or more specifically ViG software springs to mind - but the VAST majority of cases that look like that really aren't when you get down to it.
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