Crockfords Casino has today (Wednesday) won a “landmark” case against Phil Ivey, a professional poker player who sued the Genting-owned casino over claims it had unfairly withheld £7.8m (€8.8m/$10.3m) in Baccarat winnings from him.
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the casino in a unanimous decision from five judges.
The case stretches back to 2012 when Ivey played Baccarat at the London casino across two consecutive nights, winning a total of £7.8m in the process.
However, the casino refused to pay out after it became suspicious about methods Ivey employed throughout the game.
In 2014, Ivey opted to take Genting UK to the High Court in an effort to claim the winnings as rightfully his and at the hearing, there was no real dispute between the parties as to what Ivey did when he played the game.
Ivey said that he had employed a technique known as ‘edge sorting’ to help him identify the cards that were being dealt, something that was made possible by an asymmetry on the design of the back of cards.
Although Ivey maintained this was a legitimate gambling technique, Crockfords classed the method as cheating and held firm on its decision not to pay out.
In October 2014, Justice Mitting ruled Ivey’s conduct did constitute as cheating for the purposes of civil law, but Ivey was later given permission to appeal the decision.
While Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision in November 2016, Ivey was granted permission in February this year to appeal to the Supreme Court.
However, the Supreme Court today ruled in favour of the casino and Genting UK, describing the High Court’s conclusion that Ivey had cheated as “unassailable”.
The Supreme Court said Ivey staged a “carefully planned and executed sting” and “took positive steps to fix the deck”, concluding this form of conduct, in a game dependent on random delivery of unknown cards, was “inevitably cheating”.
Paul Willcock, president and chief operating officer of Genting UK, said: “We are delighted that the High Court, the Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court have all found in Genting's favour, confirming that we acted fairly and properly at all times and that Mr Ivey's conduct did indeed amount to cheating.
“This entirely vindicates Genting’s decision not to pay Mr Ivey, a decision that was not taken lightly.”