Phil Ivey Suing Crockfords Casino for Unpaid Winnings

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Phil Ivey wants his money and he wants it now. In a follow-up to a situation dating back to August 2012, the man who most consider the greatest poker player in the world is suing London’s Crockfords casino for winnings he is owed.

The UK’s Daily Mail broke the original story in October, reporting that the prestigious casino was withholding £7.3 million from Ivey. In late August, Ivey sat down with £1 million at a high stakes game of punto banco, wagering £50,000 per hand. Some time later, he was allowed to increase his bets to £150,000. During his first punto banco session, Ivey lost about £500,000 but then went on a terrific run, finishing £2.3 million in the black. The following night, he did even better, winning £5 million.

When Ivey went to cash out, he asked that the £7.3 million be transferred directly to his bank account. It was a banking holiday in the UK, though, so the casino was unable to process the transaction at that moment. Ivey was told that the transfer would be made on Tuesday, August 28th. Little did Ivey know, however, that when he left, Crockfords was going to initiate an investigation into the possibility of the poker pro cheating in his punto banco games.

At the time, there did not appear to be any evidence that Ivey had cheated. The only thing that drew any sort of suspicion was the presence of a female companion who had had her membership at another local casino suspended. Aside from the suspension, there was no reason given as to why she was considered a suspicious character.

Genting, the parent company of Crockfords, sent an investigator to interview all casino employees who were present during Ivey’s punto banco sessions, to review security footage, and to examine the cards that were used. No signs of impropriety were found.

Despite all this, Crockfords is still holding onto Ivey’s money. Thus, he has resorted to a lawsuit.

In a statement, Ivey said:

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.

Phil Ivey’s attorney, Matthew Dowd of Archerfield Partners, said, “It is with great regret that Phil has been forced to issue court proceedings against Crockfords to secure payment of his winnings. The matter is now in the hands of the Court.”

It may seem a bit odd that six weeks elapsed between Ivey’s unpaid gambling sessions and the public revelation of what happened, but that may be simply because of Ivey’s silence on the matter. When asked about it in October, Ivey’s mother said, “He never mentioned it. It can’t have been very important to him, or I think he’d have mentioned it.”

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