Did Borgata Seize More Than $130K Phil Ivey Won At The 2019 WSOP?

Written By Martin Derbyshire on August 1, 2019 - Last Updated on March 3, 2020

Fans always turn up in droves at the World Series of Poker to cheer on heroes like former New Jersey pro poker player, Phil Ivey. But this year one group seemed more interested in his particular results than anyone else.

Borgata Casino kept a close eye on Ivey throughout the 2019 WSOP, hoping he’d win somewhere near the more than $10 million he owes the casino and its lawyers could swoop in and seize it.

As first reported by the website FlushDraw.net, Borgata’s legal team served notice to the WSOP during the series of a writ of execution it secured from the US District Court in Nevada on June 18. The writ gives Borgata the right to go after more than $10.1 million awarded to it in a case against Ivey three years ago.

That meant the Atlantic City casino could have potentially seized anything Ivey won during the series. Although it remains unclear if it did.

Ivey takes Borgata for $9.6 million

The judgment against Ivey stems from a 2012 gambling session at Borgata. Ivey and fellow gambler, Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun, won $9.6 million playing baccarat using an advantage-play technique called edge sorting.

Edge sorting is a technique whereby players are able to identify card values due to design flaws on the backs. Crockfords Casino in London refused to pay £7.7 million in winnings Ivey and Sun accumulated using the technique there. Then, Borgata sued to get its money back claiming edge sorting is cheating.

Ivey also sued Crockfords to try to recover the pair’s winnings.

In both cases, he and Sun admitted to using the technique. However, they said they convinced both casinos to agree to a variety of stipulations throughout the sessions. Those stipulations included using the very cards that allowed them to edge sort.

But Borgata wants its money back

Ivey and his legal team failed to overturn on appeal the UK court’s decision declaring that edge sorting is cheating. Therefore, Crockfords never paid out the money.

Here in New Jersey, District Court Judge Noel Hillman granted Borgata a $10.1 million judgment against Ivey and Sun in 2016. Borgata has tried various legal techniques to recover the money, but none have been successful.

Borgata goes after Ivey’s Nevada assets

This includes a February 2018 ruling Borgata obtained, allowing it to seize Ivey’s assets in Nevada. He proved to have none remaining in New Jersey.

Borgata did not serve notice of this latest writ it obtained to the WSOP until June 27. WSOP VP and Tournament Director Jack Effel signed acknowledging its receipt.

That means Borgata likely did not get its hands on the almost $9,000 in small WSOP cashes Ivey earned before that date, one of which came from an online poker event.

Ivey cashes for $124,410

However, the same day the WSOP received notice, Ivey cashed for $124,410 finishing eighth in the 2019 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship.

Ivey did not cash again at the 2019 WSOP.

Whether any of Ivey’s WSOP winnings were actually seized remains a mystery. All sides have refused to comment regarding ongoing litigation.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than 10 years of experience reporting on the online poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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