Borgata Says Manufacturer In Ivey Case Knew Cards Were Marked

[toc]A judge already found Phil Ivey culpable for the $10 million he won playing Baccarat at the Borgata tables. The New Jersey casino is not done placing the blame, though.

Next up for Borgata is its case against Gemaco, the playing card manufacturer who provided the cards used by Ivey and his partner, Kelly Sun. The casino would like the company to pay the $10 million it lost.

Gemaco cards featured manufacturing error that led to edge-sorting

The reason Ivey and Sun managed to win so much at the Baccarat tables is because of defects in the playing cards. The name of the technique is edge-sorting. As Sun explained on a recent ESPN podcast, borderless decks like the Gemaco decks have barely perceptible differences in the card backs. She knows which differences correspond to which card and plays accordingly.

Not only did Sun and Ivey request Gemaco cards. They alo requested a single Gemaco deck instead of letting the dealer frequently change cards out. Because Ivey is such a high roller, the Atlantic City casino let these odd requests slide. Some of the other things Ivey asked for were a dealer who spoke Mandarin and for that dealer to manually shift the direction of the cards.

By shifting the direction of the cards, Sun could better see the cards’ imperfections and tell Ivey what to do. Over the course of four sessions, the two earned $9.6 million at the tables.

Borgata claims Gemaco knew about the defect in the cards

According to, the paperwork Borgata filed as part of the suit says Gemaco was aware of the defect before they sold Borgata the decks. With that in mind, the casino alleges the card company is culpable for damages stemming from the card defects.

This is where things will be tricky for the judge.

If Borgata is correct and Gemaco knowingly issued the decks with the flaws, there is still a lack of clarity as to who is really to blame. After all, Borgata staffers are the people who agreed to Ivey’s numerous requests. Had the casino denied Ivey, the plan to win millions likely would not have worked.

Borgata thinks the card company should pay the $10.1 million judgment in their favor. Currently, courts say Ivey is liable to pay as well. His case is pending appeal at the moment. The court will not hear Ivey’s appeal until the Gemaco case is closed.

If Borgata is successful with Gemaco, there is a chance the casino gets $10 million from both parties.

Ivey staying busy with Crockfords case

While Borgata spars with Gemaco, Ivey is sparring with Crockfords in London. The British casino sued Ivey in another Baccarat-related case. The property is trying to make Ivey pay back the £7.7 million he and Sun won at the Crockfords tables in 2012.

The lower courts all sided with Crockfords, but the British Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last month. There is no final judgment in the case yet.

In both the Borgata and Crockfords trials, the court would not go so far as to say Ivey and Sun were cheating. They did, however, break the unspoken contract with the casinos in the eyes of the judges.

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About the Author

Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media and online gambling world. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for Welman has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.