Phil Ivey Ordered to Repay Millions Following Edge Sorting Scandal
The ten time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Ivey and his associate Cheung Yin Sun have been ordered by a federal judge to return $10.1 million in winnings to the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City two years after the casino sued the pair for cheating.
The ruling is extremely controversial as Ivey and Sun argue that they simply used observation and skill to exploit a flaw in the casino’s game and to maximise their chances of winning.
The process, which is known as edge-sorting, has earned the pair millions of dollars across the world but now casinos are trying to fight back.
Sun developed the strategy after being arrested for a gambling debt. She bought numerous decks of cards from casino gift shops and carefully studied the backs of the cards. She noticed that some had a crisscross pattern that went right to all four edges. The patterns on these cards were trimmed slightly differently on top and bottom which resulted in an uneven margin. Sun trained herself to recognise the variation on particular cards and then developed a strategy to maximise her winnings with this knowledge.
She then used the technique to win $1 million from the Aria casino in 2011 before bringing Ivey into the scheme. He then started wiring seven figure sums at various casinos. Sun did the edge sorting and tipped of Ivey about which way to bet. It is thought that their combined winnings have reached eight figures.
This isn’t the first time Ivey has lost a case relating to edge-sorting. In 2012 he won over $10 million at a London casino using the technique but the casino refused to pay claiming he was cheating. Ivey sued but eventually lost the case.