A New Jersey-based federal judge gave Borgata Hotel & Casino the right to go after Phil Ivey’s Nevada assets in a follow-up to a highly publicized lawsuit. The Atlantic City casino sued poker professional Phi Ivey for $10.16 million to recover money lost in an edge-sorting scandal involving high stakes baccarat played at the Borgata in 2012.
The lawsuit stemmed from two high stakes sessions of baccarat Phil Ivey and gaming partner Cheng Yin Sun played at Borgata in the spring and summer of 2012. In the May session, Phil Ivey played for $50,000 a hand and won over $3 million in the baccarat session.
In August 2012, Borgata wooed back Ivey and Sun with promises of $100,000 a hand baccarat. This time, Phil Ivey won another $6 million-plus, bringing his total winnings to $9.6 million.
The story might have ended there, but Phil Ivey sued Crockford‘s Casino in London the next year when it refused to pay his baccarat winnings. Crockford’s accused Ivey and Sun of edge sorting, a method used to give a baccarat player a mathematical advantage over the casino.
Borgata v. Phil Ivey
Borgata sued to recover the money Phil Ivey won in 2012, claiming he used the same technique in his Borgata sessions. Ivey admitted to using the technique in court, but claimed he was using good tactics to beat the house. A New Jersey court did not see it that way and awarded Borgata $10.16 million in damages in 2016 — $9.6 million for the winnings plus roughly $500 thousand in comps the casino gave Phil Ivey for his high dollar play.
Once Borgata won the case, it found that Phil Ivey did not have significant assets in the State of New Jersey. He had a single Wells Fargo account, but its money had been transferred to an account in Mexico.
Oct 2018 Filing to Seize Assets
In October 2018, Borgata filed a motion to find where Ivey’s main assets were. It turned out they are located in Nevada, so Borgata filed the current motion to gain the right to access those funds.
Borgata’s legal team wrote: “Although the extent of Defendant Ivey’s business holdings is unclear, it is believed that Ivey Poker, LLC is the entity behind Ivey League, Ivey’s poker oriented website. Ivey’s holdings have been estimated at $100 million, and the above shows these holdings, at least those that are ascertainable, are based in Nevada.”
“Ivey has also disclosed a luxury home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on his social media account. It is possible that one of Ivey’s Nevada entities is the ultimate owner of this home.”
Phil Ivey’s Nevada Assets
Borgata’s lawyers filed a motion with Judge Hillman’s court in New Jersey on January 28 asking for the ability to go after Phil Ivey’s assets in Nevada. Judge Hillman ruled this week that Borgata’s lawyers could proceed with asset seizure. Phil Ivey’s lawyers did not protest the court decision.
As this story develops further, BOC will update the court decisions.
Kelly Sun Signs a Hollywood Film Deal
In the meantime, Kelly Sun, Phil Ivey’s partner in the edge-sorting scheme, has signed a deal with Ivanhoe Picture and Jeffrey Sharp of Sharp Independent Pictures to produce a Hollywood film about Sun’s life. The movie is tentatively called The Baccarat Queen.
Kelly Sun’s life is worthy of a Hollywood movie. She was born the daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman. In her twenties, Sun loved casino gaming so much that she lost as much as $20 million of her father’s money jetsetting around the globe to play in casinos. At one point, she owed MGM Resorts International $100,000, so the Nevada casino company had her placed in a Las Vegas jail.
Attacked by more than one female cellmate, Kelly Sun decided she would learn how to beat the casinos. She learned edge-sorting — a method by which a high stakes baccarat player can gain an advantage over a casino — and took her revenge on casinos everywhere. A chance meeting with Phil Ivey in an Australian casino led to the fateful baccarat sessions in Atlantic City and London.