Phil Ivey has been ordered to pay back $10.1 million he won from the Borgata Casino in 2012 while using an advantage play method known as, “edge sorting.”

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman ruled that Ivey’s methods violated the New Jersey Gaming Control Act which made the massive roll illegal. Ivey will not, however, be on the hook for additional damages as was demanded by the Borgata.

Ivey’s unusual baccarat odyssey began back in 2012 when Ivey and an associate named Cheng Yin Sun walked into a high roller’s baccarat room at the Borgata with a few odd requests. The two men asked for, and received, a Mandarin-speaking dealer; the use of the same deck of cards during all of their play; as well as an automatic card shuffler that retained each card’s original orientation.

Borgata staff missed all of these glaring warning signs and failed to realize that Ivey and Sun were about to indulge in a seriously advanced form of advantage play known as edge sorting. During their marathon two-day baccarat session, Ivey and Cheng memorized imperfections on the edges of the cards and used that information to inform their wagers.

By the time they walked away, the two men had won more than $10.1 million. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to keep it for long.

Borgata officials very quickly figured out what had happened (maybe they Googled, “Phil Ivey Baccarat”?) and the two sides have been battling it out in court ever since.

Judge Hillman ruled that Ivey’s methods constituted the use of marked cards and was, consequently, a violation of the New Jersey Gaming Control Act. On Thursday he ordered the men to repay the money, which included $500,000 they won playing craps with their baccarat winnings.

He did not, however, honor the Borgata’s request that the men pay expectation damages, which refers to the money the casion would have won if Ivey didn’t have a photographic memory, according to a report in the New Jersey Law Journal. In his ruling he stated that expectation damages were, “too speculative.”

Ivey pulled a similar move at Crockford’s Casino in London and was ordered to pay back his winnings in that case, too.


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