Phil Ivey and the Borgata Hotel and Casino are locked in a blame game over who was taking advantage of whom the night he won $9.6 million playing mini-baccarat.

The folks at the Borgata say Ivey was using an elaborate form of advantage play called, edge sorting, to cheat them out of the money. Ivey says that not only was he not cheating that night, but that the Borgata was actually using high end booze and beautiful babes to take advantage of him.

It’s a novel defense that less-skilled gamblers dream of employing, but might not hold much water in the New Jersey courtroom where the drama is playing out.

In a deposition filed earlier this week, Ivey elaborated on how exactly the Borgata took advantage of him with babes and booze while he was busying memorizing small defects on the backs of playing cards to increase his odds of winning big:

It distracts you from your playing. I mean, anything they can do to give themselves an advantage. Everyone knows that alcohol impairs your judgment, and they offer that, and they have the pretty cocktail waitresses and they’re all very flirty. They’re talking to you, you know. I got quite a few numbers.

Borgata officials haven’t responded publicly to Ivey’s claims, but the complimentary drinks and attractive waitresses he describes are a mainstay of every casino from Mississippi to Macau.

It’s worth noting that Ivey lost a similar lawsuit against Crockford’s Casino in London. In that case he won – and was forced to return – around $12.5 million in baccarat winnings.

Ivey has repeatedly defended his edge sorting strategy and maintains casinos should be doing more to protect themselves before the games starts, not after he’s racked up massive winnings.


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