Borgata Wants $15.5m from Phil Ivey in Baccarat Case

Last month, a federal judge ruled that Phil Ivey broke New Jersey state gaming regulations during his $9.6 million baccarat win. The Borgata Hotel Spa & Casino must smell blood in the water because now they want $15.5 – well beyond the $9.6 million that Ivey won.

Besides the $9.6 million in winnings, the Borgata also wants $249,000 in comps paid to Ivey and his edge-sorting partner, Cheng Yin Sun, along with $5.4 million in expected losses.

The expected losses bit is controversial, given that Borgata is basically using the 1.01% single-deck baccarat house edge to award themselves winnings that they didn’t really earn. But it shows just how bitter this case has become between the casino and Ivey.

The Borgata arrived at the $5.4 million expected-losses figure by calculating that Ivey played 8,618 hands during four sessions, with an average bet of $62,500 per hand.

That’s $538,625,000 total wagered during Ivey’s four high-stakes baccarat sessions in 2012. And when applying the standard 1.01% house edge for single-deck baccarat, that’s approximately $5.4 million in expected losses.

It’s up to the courts to decide whether or not the Borgata is actually due extra money beyond the $9.6 million in winnings. Chances are that they’ll at least receive the comps back along with the winnings. But again, it could be a stretch to get expected losses given that the Borgata lost money anyways.

Ivey used a controversial advantage-play method called edge sorting to win the massive sum from Borgata. He and Sun requested a Mandarin Chinese-speaking dealer, cards rotated at a 180-degree angle, and a special Gemaco deck.

The Gemaco deck had flawed card backs that allowed Ivey to better tell what some of the card values were before they were flipped over. He wanted the cards rotated 180 degrees because this allowed him to better see the flawed card backs.

The good news for Ivey is that the judge ruled he isn’t guilty of fraud because edge-sorting is an honest advantage play method, and Borgata agreed to the special requests.

But given that the judge also ruled that Ivey’s actions went beyond simple advantage play, to the point where they violated New Jersey’s Casino Control Act, he’ll likely be paying millions back to the casino that he won so much from in 2012.