Is Phil Ivey a Cheater or Is Borgata a Sore Loser?

US gambling laws - GamingZion

The attorneys’ latest argument in the case against Borgata is that the casino’s “only valid complaint is that it lost”.

Whether we’re talking about poker tournaments of lawsuits, everyone knows things are about to get interesting when Phil Ivey’s name comes up. Between the spicy divorce case last year and this year’s scandal involving the Borgata casino, the poker star has been in and out of court.

His attorneys are trying to do their best to make sure Ivey doesn’t lose another case, because if he does, it will definitely cost him. A lot. The Atlantic city casinos says it was cheated out of $9.6 million, while the defendant’s attorneys argued Ivey was an “advantage player”, saying that owners of the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa are nothing but sore losers.

“Premeditated” edge sorting

Phil Ivey has won 10 World Series of Poker bracelets throughout his career, playing in the following tournaments:

• $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha (2000)
• $2,500 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo (2002)
• $2,000 S.H.O.E. (2002)
• $1,500 7 Card Stud (2002)
• $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha (2005)
• $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball (2009)
• $2,500 Omaha Hi/Lo / 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo (2009)
• $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. (2010)
• A$2,200 Mixed Event (2013)
• $1,500 Eight Game Mix (2014)s

Not long ago, a huge scandal broke out after the casino accused Ivey and his lovely female Asian companion of something called “edge sorting”. They said the technique was used to gain an unfair advantage at the Atlantic City casino’s baccarat tables, way back in 2012.

As far as Ivey is concerned, the player admitted to using the sneaky method to beat the casino, but argued that edge sorting was not illegal. Furthermore, the poker player said it was the casino’s own fault, because it granted his allegedly illegal card-related requests, hoping that Ivey would leave millions of dollars at the table. Besides, the player added, the statute of limitations has expired.

Ivey’s attorneys asked for a motion to dismiss, hoping that the judge will throw the case out. But Borgata responded by saying that the poker player’s actions were “premeditated, practiced and intricate”. The same accusations were thrown at his alleged co-conspirator Cheng Yin Sun.

While the team of lawyers representing the Borgata also noted that, while such cases might also fall under the responsibility of the local regulating body, American gambling laws do not give the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) power to force casino patrons to do anything. This is why Borgata sought the court’s help in this delicate matter.

Exaggerated accusations

The saga continues as Ivey’s attorneys recently responded to these accusations, claiming that courts have rejected private lawsuits before, when they proved to be based on alleged violations of the Casino Control Act (CCA).

The defendant’s lawyers also believe that the allegations of “swindling, fraud and cheating” to be greatly exaggerated. Otherwise, if all this was true and Borgata could prove it, the casino would have had to file criminal charges against the two players they’re suing.

They also pointed out that Borgata forgot to ask the DGE whether a violation of the CCA had occurred in the poker player’s case. Attorneys wondered why the casino failed to do this, adding that, in a similar case where the Golden Nugget sued individuals in an unshuffled cards scandal, the DGE had previously determined that regulations had indeed been violated.

The final blow

In a final blow to the entire casino industry, Ivey’s attorneys closed their arguments by saying that, after all, all of these gambling venues make their profits by “orchestrating a plethora of deceptive practices” to create the perfect atmosphere to “loosen up” and their customers and, ultimately, encourage them to lose money.

Among others, the lawyers mentioned “techniques” such as loud noises, all those flashing lights installed on slot machines, not allowing clocks or watches, making it as difficult as possible to find exit signs, making cocktail waitresses wear provocative or revealing clothes and offering players large amounts of alcohol. It’s an experience that certainly cannot compare to what an online poker site in the US has to offer.

All these are meant to “encourage patrons to lose money,” attorneys said, which is why it would seem unfair to say that patrons are the ones taking advantage of the casino. Of course, none of these sneaky methods have an effect on professional players, who are not only used to these things, but also know what to expect.

And Phil Ivey being one of them, lawyers said that the casino’s “only valid complaint is that it lost.” Even so, it is likely that the case will go on for a while longer, so keep checking in to find out the latest industry news here, on GamingZion.

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