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Poker News | World Poker News

Phil Ivey's £7.8 Million Punto Banco controversy with Crockfords

Crockfords Casino
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The news hit last week that Phil Ivey had filed suit against Crockfords, a British-based casino, for withholding the £7.8 million ($12.1 million) he won back in August of 2012 while playing Punto Banco.

The has a new report out that the Genting-owned Crockfords has reason to believe that Ivey and his female companion were able to "read" cards that had tiny manufacturer flaws which were caused by “a mistake during the cutting process at an overseas manufacturing plant.

The Daily Mail originally brought the news to light of Ivey's good-sized Punto Banco win when he played over two nights at £50,000-£150,000 per hand. At one point Ivey was down £500,000 but managed to find a winning streak that not only got him even, but put him up for the night with a £2.3 million profit. The next night he scored an additional £5.5 million courtesy of Crockfords.

The flaw: When turned 180 degrees, the cards did not look exactly the same which allows players to use a system known as "Playing the turn."

“By turning an asymmetrical card 180 degrees it is possible to identify what the value of the card is before it is revealed,” leading casino surveillance specialist Willy Allison explained in the Daily Mail. “You simply glance at the edges on the back of the card ... Essentially, playing the turn has the same effect as marking the cards and gives players a huge house edge ... Who needs invisible ink and red-tinted sunglasses when you’ve got manufacturer-made 'marked cards?'”

The Daily Mail provided a depiction of how the game may have unfolded:

Ivey is represented by Archerfield Partners and Richard Spearman QC and commented on the suit last week.

“I am deeply saddened that Crockfords has left me no alternative but to proceed with legal action, following its decision to withhold my winnings. I have much respect for Gentings, which has made this a very difficult decision for me.

“Over the years I have won and lost substantial sums at Crockfords and I have always honoured my commitments. At the time, I was given a receipt for my winnings but Crockfords subsequently withheld payment. I, therefore, feel I have no alternative but to take legal action.”

The 184-year-old casino did return Ivey’s initial £1 million stake and have taken the stand that they “shall be defending [Ivey’s claim] vigorously.”

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