Phil Ivey Out of Options, Must Now Pay $10 Million to Borgata, NJ District Court Rules

3 min read

Phil Ivey just lost the biggest pot of his life. A New Jersey District Court judge ruled against the poker Hall of Famer’s motion to stay a $10.1 million judgment, and he must now pay that money back to Atlantic City’s Borgata casino.

Phil Ivey Borgata
Phil Ivey is running out of options after a district court judge ruled against his stay motion, and must now pay back Borgata $10 million. (Image:

Ivey, who recently made his return to the tournament poker circuit, and his co-defendant Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun lost a civil case against the casino in 2016. Borgata alleged the poker pro cheated the casino out of millions during a 2012 baccarat session.

Was it Illegal?

The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner used a technique called edge-sorting, which allows gamblers to determine if a face-down card is likely to be high or low, giving the player an advantage over the house.

It’s illegal to cheat a casino, but there has been much debate on social media and in the courtroom as to whether Ivey actually did in fact cheat.

The poker pro doesn’t deny the edge-sorting allegations, but he claims the casino approved of his game play terms and conditions, including the specific deck of cards to be used, prior to spreading the game. Therefore, Ivey claims, he isn’t responsible for the casino’s loss.

The court, however, didn’t agree and ruled in 2016 he must pay back the $10 million he won. Ivey has since filed and lost an appeal but has never surrendered any of the money.

Knowing recovering the money from the poker player would be difficult, the casino went after the card manufacturer, Gemaco, earlier this year, and won. Kind of.

The judge ruled Gemaco is responsible for a whopping $27, while Ivey and Sun must pay the remaining $10.1 million balance.

Following that court ruling, the civil suit losers filed a motion to stay the judgment pending appeal, which is a court order that temporarily suspends court proceedings or the effect of a judgment. A defendant files a motion for stay pending appeal to stay or stop all proceedings.

Casino Wants its Money

Ivey has since returned from Macau to grind the high roller and WSOP tournament circuits. On August 4, Borgata argued that since he can afford to play high stakes tournaments, he has no excuse for avoiding payment.

US District Court Judge Noel Hillman denied Ivey’s stay motion on Tuesday. That means he’s running out of options to avoid paying the casino back. He has 30 days from the judge’s ruling to file what could be a final appeal.

Related Posts

Did you know about our poker forum? Discuss all the latest poker news in the CardsChat forum

Popular Stories