Professional poker pro Phil Ivey is taking legal action against Crockfords, one of the oldest casinos in Britain, for its refusal to pay him his winnings of £7.3 million.
According to Ivey, Crockfords, a land casino property at Mayfair in London, has not paid him the amount he won while playing a private Punto Banco game in August 2012. Considered to be the sixth biggest Punto Banco tournament earner in the world, Ivey’s Punto Banco winnings have touched the $14.6 million mark. Punto Banco is a baccarat variant.
Speaking about the issue, Ivey stated that he felt “deeply saddened” to move the High Court against Crockfords, but that he had no other choice. He said:
Over the years, I have won and lost substantial sums at Crockfords and I have always honored 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.
The 35-year-old poker pro visited Crockfords with his female companion in August 2012 and hit into a winning streak while playing Punto Banco. The aim of Punto Banco players is to create a combination of value nine or as close to it as possible with the intention of beating the house. Phil Ivey, who won close to £2.3 million on the first night continued winning on the second night, and when he had done playing, he had won as much as £7.3 million.
However, Crockfords owner Genting allegedly declared that it will have to withhold his winnings and investigate Phil Ivey’s game.
Accordingly, investigators from Kuala Lumpur flew to London to interview Crockfords staff, review video footage, and study the cards that Ivey used.
Many of Ivey’s fans have pointed out that Punto Banco is purely a game of chance, in which one plays against the house. Baccarat experts say that it is similar to roulette in that it is not possible for players to use strategies to alter outcomes.
Matthew Dowd, Ivey’s legal representative, said:
It is with great regret that Phil has been forced to issue court proceedings against Crockfords to secure payment of his winnings.
Established in 1828, Crockfords Casino is hailed as Britain’s oldest casino, today owned by Genting, a gambling company based in Malaysia. While refusing to comment on individuals involved, a Genting spokesperson said that it is a rare case, adding that the company’s position has the support of “strong legal advice.”