For four years, poker icon Phil Ivey has been battling an appeal with Crockfords Casino in London in hopes to reclaim £7.8 million he won playing Punto Banco in August 2012. After it was deemed that Ivey utilized a controversial edge-sorting technique to win, a High Court in London ruled in favor of Crockfords and denied Ivey his winnings. Ivey was later granted permission to appeal and that court battle began yesterday, April 13, with a ruling expected in the coming days.
Ivey decided to take legal action in May 2013, commencing at the time was the biggest legal battle in UK casino history.
"I am deeply saddened that Crockfords has left me no alternative but to proceed with legal action, following its decision to withhold my winnings,” Ivey shared when he announced his decision to sue the casino. "I have much respect for Genting's, which has made this a very difficult decision for me."
During the court hearing, Ivey admitted to using the edge-sorting technique, which identifies small variations in the pattern printed on the backs of the cards. To Ivey's disappointment, he initially lost the case, with Judge John Mitting ruling that Ivey's tactics constituted cheating under civil law.
"I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy and we did nothing more than exploit Crockfords' failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability," expressed Ivey through a spokesperson after the ruling. "Clearly today the judge did not agree."
Ivey's attorneys immediately attempted to appeal the verdict, but was rejected permission to appeal the verdict. In October 2014, the poker pro's attorneys did just that filing papers at the Court of Appeal.
"I can confirm that Phil Ivey filed papers at the Court of Appeal last week," Ivey’s lawyer, Matthew Dowd of Archerfield Partners, told F5Poker. "Phil is seeking to appeal the decision on the basis that the Judge was incorrect in both fact and law to conclude that ‘edge sorting’ was cheating, particularly in circumstances where the Judge made it very clear in his judgment that he considered Phil to be a truthful witness and that he accepted that Phil genuinely believes that his actions during the game at Crockfords did not constitute cheating."
One year later, in November 2015, the 10-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner's legal battle was granted a second life by the Court of Appeal based on Ivey's reason of appeal to "raise an important question of law and have a real prospect of success."
Ivey, enthusiastic by the decision, shared with The Daily Mail, "This is really great news. I am getting a second shot and I'm hoping we will win this time around. It is not in my nature to cheat, which is why I was so bitterly disappointed by the judge's decision a year ago, even though he said I was a truthful witness."
Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in Ivey's legal battle against Crockford's Casino in London.