Casino sues poker star for using "marked" deck


Hmm…It seems from the link that the Casino provided the deck of Gemaco playing cards, by request. Is using a defect in the game cheating? Or is it good playing skills?

The casino alleges that Phil Ivey tricked the dealer into turning specific cards over in a specific way so that those cards would be obvious to Ivey even after the cards were shuffled by machine and replaced in the shoe, giving him an advantage.

Normally I’m all over casinos who have double standards: when patrons lose, well then, of course everything is fine. If they win, then they are plied with free drinks to get them drunk and loose their winnings (a practice that should be illegal). If they are card counters (which is just playing by the rules really well to get a minute edge) they are thrown out and black listed across all casinos. (If card counters can win and casinos don’t want that casinos should have an obligation to change the way the game is played, not the ability to throw out good players).

However, in this case Ivey allegedly actively had the cards manipulated to give him the advantage. If he had just passively used the asymmetry of the cards the casino provided to give him an advantage the casino would be full of it, but if Ivey had the cards manipulated before shuffling by the dealer using pretextual instructions, then it seems like Ivey was sharping.


He has sullied the good name of cardsharks everywhere. For shame Phil, for shame.



A contributing liability was the clueless dealer who went along with turning the cards to meet Ivey’s claim of Chinese superstition.


We were greedy and agreed to a list of demands that we would never agree to for a normal person and got screwed wahhaaaaa.

They opened themselves up to this.


Organization that thrives on predatory practices gets taken by a predator… hmm I’m having trouble feeling any sympathy for either party.

Is there a way that the ten million can be seized and given to charity?


I’m not a judge but if I was, the transcripts would pretty much show me laughing for 20 minutes and then throwing this case out.


Pretty soon, knowing the rules of the game will warrant life-time expulsion by the casinos.


Casinos do everything they can to tip things in their favor. Free drinks, lighting, lack of windows, no clocks. Phil Ivy used nothing at the table that the casino didn’t willingly supply. Once they accepted his bets, they were obligated to carry though on whatever the result was.

How many times have you heard of the lawsuits where players claim the casino took advantage of them while drunk, or by other means, and actually win.

I believe the operative phrase here is “hoisted by their own petard.”


If you see the cards themselves, it’s amazing how subtle the difference is in the edging that was the giveaway for which cards are which. That said, it’s enough of a difference that someone like Ivey – not just a noted poker player, but a noted massive gambler – would jump on it instantly.

If I’m the casino, I’m suing Gemaco for making cards with an obvious flaw. For a whale like Ivey, it’s just so many minnows.


How dare he stack a game against a casino!!! Doesn’t he he know that only casinos are allowed to do that and the very nature of every game they offer is designed to stack the odds against the player?

The casino bets (gambles) that by offering these specific games, the odds will always be in their favor, but sometimes they lose that bet and one out of a huge number of players finds a way to work the odds back into their favor, like card counting, etc. Guess you can’t win all the time eh casinos?


Regarding card counting, they did in fact change the way the game is played - casinos started dealing from combinations of multiple decks, making it effectively impossible to count cards effectively due to the duplicates.

Anyway, I say if anyone is at fault, it’s the casino and the dealer for accomodating his requests. The casino agreed to use the deck he requested, and the dealer complied with dealing the cards in a requested manner.


If you actually win one of those big slot-machine payouts standard practice at the casinos is to say “mechanical error”, give you your twenty five cents back and kick you out. And if you have a good run of cards or sometimes even one good hand they can and do ban you.

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Yeah, the casino supplied the cards and the dealer.

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Yes, casinos did change to multideck - but to attract players, many casinos offer game play with limited numbers of decks, and then ban extraordinarily rare players who can actually take advantage of the limited number of decks.

Gambling is all about trying to use the rules and the game play to your advantage, and that is what Ivey did. He played by rules that the casino agreed to, they are mad that they didn’t know the reasons for the rules they agreed to and want a do over.


Citation for the mechanical error thing? If a casino allowed malfunctioning slots on the floor it would be in very deep shit with the state gaming commission. And if the machine isn’t malfunctioning the casino operator has committed grand larceny, which not only gets the license to print money revoked but also carries a jail sentence.

Assuming you’re talking about legal casinos in the U.S. and not some underground clip joint, that would be about the dumbest thing they could do, since no matter how big the payout, it’s almost certain to end up back in their safe after they entice the winner with a comped suite and lots of free shit (that costs the house almost nothing) to stay and keep on that “hot streak.” If not, c’est la vie, cost of doing business. Their daily profits dwarf the biggest individual jackpots available.


Single- and double-deck blackjack does exist, but I’ve only seen it at smaller casinos, and never at a high-dollar table. Sure, you could make money counting with $25 hands but it would take so long and require so much concentration (and luck in not getting thrown out) that you’d be better off getting a regular job.


IAAL, but I don’t know jack about Nevada gaming law, and this surely isn’t legal advice–just spouting unresearched opinions on the interwebs.

Unless the law specifically says that what he did is illegal, it strikes me as odd that what looks an awful lot like like negligence on the casino’s part would translate into liability on the player’s. I’m paraphrasing and probably misremembering torts, but my recollection is that negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. And I’d say that the extraordinary precautions casinos generally take to catch cheaters means that “reasonable care” under these particular circumstances is a pretty high bar. Heck, even if the law is on the casino’s side here, my gut (that famous jurist) says it should lose.

Here’s one.

“Software Error”


That was in Austria. According to the article the maximum legal jackpot there is €2M, so the machine indicating a €45M win clearly had something wrong with it. The spinners showed 4/5 matching symbols while the software read 5/5.

Anyway, looks like he wound up getting €1M after bringing suit. No mention of any fines or other regulatory discipline for the casino, but given the quality of that later article who knows.