In another twist to the Phil Ivey versus Crockfords casino court battle, Ivey has admitted to “being an advantage player” during his £7.8 million win at the Mayfair casino in London, according to the Daily Mail report.
Although Ivey has said that he was trying to get an advantage over the house, he has also said that what he was doing was not illegal and so the casino should pay-out what is owed to him. In the game of Punto Blanco in question, Crockfords only paid Ivey back his initial £1 million stake and informed him that they would transfer the remaining amount at a later date due to the size of this win. However, Ivey heard nothing from the casino in due course.
Ivey’s account of the incident was that he and his female companion were acting as a team to spot cards that would help them get an edge on the house. This is known as ‘edging’ in the casino world. Kelly, his female associate, would ask the dealer to change the pack of cards after every hand was played, claiming each pack to be a bad luck charm when the dealer enquired. Due to the £50,000 stakes wagered on each hand by Ivey being so high, the dealer was only too happy to keep his high stakes customers happy.
Eventually Kelly called to stop on a pack of cards and said that the card was good. Again for good luck Kelly made another request, but this time it was to turn the card she nominated as good in the opposite direction to the other cards in the deck. This continued with the same pack of cards, giving Ivey and her key cards in the pack of cards that would give them edge in the game.
The reason this was possible was because the casino use a particular type of cards known as full bleed cards. Most casinos avoid this cut and print because they are susceptible to cutting and printing errors for exactly the reasons stated above.
Ivey has said that it is entirely the casino’s fault for using these card types and for not knowing the tactics used in Punto Blanco when using this brand of cards. He also went onto to say that he is an advantage casino player that looks for casinos that will offer the opportunity for the punter to be able to gain an edge in the game. All his methods used are entirely legal and so any ensuing court battle should end up ruling in his favour as there is no law against what he has done.
Whether or not he has broken a particular Crockford’s policy remains to be seen. Most of the time, the casinos do come on top in these types of battles, but both the casino and Ivey have the power of money backing them up, so the result may not be as straight forward as casino policy means Crockfords Mayfair casino are not obliged to pay out the win.