Phil Ivey Missing WSOP Main to Fight Edge Sorting Case in the UK

Phil Ivey is back in a UK court, this time in a bid to clear his name and overturn a £7.7 million baccarat loss.

Phil Ivey edge sorting.

Phil Ivey is missing out on the WSOP Main Event to fight for £7.7 million in the UK’s Supreme Court. (Image: Getty/

The ongoing battle between Ivey and Crockfords Casino resumed on July 13 when the poker pro and his legal team appeared at the Supreme Court, London.

Despite losing an appeal in November 2016, Ivey has taken his case to the UK’s highest court in an attempt to reverse a previous ruling.

During the hearing on July 13, Ivey’s lawyer Richard Spearman QC told the court his client had gained an advantage over the house during a 2012 sessions of Punto Banco (a version of baccarat).

However, it’s now up to the judges to decide whether his strategy, known as edge sorting, constituted a “legitimate advantage.”

A Long Running Saga

Ivey first took the case before a judge in 2014. Believing that his process of reading small printing imperfections on the backs of certain playing cards (edge sorting) wasn’t cheating, he asked the court to grant him his £7.7 million winnings that Crockfords Casino had withheld.

However, despite asserting that Ivey had been “honest” in his testimony and intentions, Mr Justice Mitting concluded that it is still cheating even if the player is convinced their strategy is legal.

“The fact that Mr Ivey was genuinely convinced that he did not cheat and that the practice commanded considerable support from others was not determinative of the question of whether it amounted to cheating,” said Mitting.

Based on this, the judge stated that Ivey had cheated and ruled in favour of Crockfords Casino and its parent company, Genting Bhd.

“This is, in my view, is cheating for the purpose of civil law,” Mitting summarised.

Ivey Won’t Fold His Hand

Not willing to accept the decision, Ivey was granted another hearing at the appellate court in 2016. However, on this occasion, he lost by a split decision and the original ruling was upheld.

During his 2016 appeal, all three judges agreed with the assumption that Ivey had been honest in his intentions.

But this wasn’t enough for Lady Justice Arden or Lord Justice Tomlinson who maintained that even if it wasn’t his intention to cheat, his tactic still interfered with the processes of the game.

One judge, however, disagreed. Lady Justice Sharp said that the High Court’s ruling construed the issue of cheating in an “inappropriate way.” Buoyed by this, Ivey was granted a final appeal at the Supreme Court and has now had his chance to put his case forward once again.

Speaking at the one day hearing, Ivey told Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Hughes and Lord Thomas that the previous decisions made “no sense” to him. The potential WSOP Poker Hall of Fame inductee also explained that integrity in gaming is more important in his industry than money, which is why he would never cheat.

“The original trial judge ruled that I was not dishonest and none of the three Appeal Court judges disagreed, and yet the decision went against me by a majority of two to one. I am so pleased that the Supreme Court has granted me permission to fight for what I genuinely believe is right,” Ivey said in court.

With this being the last roll of the dice, Ivey will now have to wait to see if a fresh set of legal experts agree that his ability to exploit the casino’s weakness was just good strategy or illegal cheating.

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