A United Kingdom High Court judge ruled Wednesday in favor of a British casino that refused to pay American poker champ Phil Ivey 7.6 million pounds, or about $12 million, in baccarat winnings in August 2012. Crockfords casino officials alleged that Ivey’s use of a technique known as “edge-sorting” amounted to cheating.
"Crockfords is pleased with the judgment of the High Court today supporting its defense of a claim by Mr. Ivey,” a casino spokesman said, according to the BBC. "It is our policy not to discuss our clients' affairs in public, and we very much regret that proceedings were brought against us."
"We attach the greatest importance to our exemplary reputation for fair, honest and professional conduct, and today's ruling vindicates the steps we have taken in this matter,” Crockfords added, via ITV.
A professional gambler and 10-time champion at the World Series of Poker, Ivey expressed frustration with the High Court’s ruling. "I am obviously disappointed with this judge's decision. As I said in court, it is not my nature to cheat, and I would never do anything to risk my reputation,” Ivey said through a representative. "I am pleased that the judge acknowledged in court that I was a truthful witness."
“Edge-sorting” is a technique in which a skilled player exploits subtle flaws in the way playing cards are manufactured to identify valuable cards in baccarat. Ivey referred to the technique as “a legitimate strategy” and said Crockfords failed to take “proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability.”
Ivey will be unable to appeal the High Court’s ruling, ITV notes, but his lawyers can apply to renew their claim through the Court of Appeal.
The 38-year-old is embroiled in a similar lawsuit with the Borgata casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In a federal lawsuit filed in April, the Borgata alleged that Ivey used “edge-sorting” to bilk the casino out of $9.6 million in winnings.
In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes Sports,” Ivey denied cheating at either casino. “I’m viewing the casino as my opponent,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s my job to exploit weaknesses in the house and try to give myself the best opportunity to win.”
“Some people believe that it was cheating. I know it wasn’t. The professional gamblers know it’s not. I wouldn’t do anything close to cheating. I mean, my reputation is everything in gambling.”