Legal action is a big deal

Stuart Barber.
Stuart Barber.

A millionaire gambler has gone to the High Court in London to try to persuade a judge to order a casino to hand over £7.3 million he says he ‘won’ playing cards.

Crockfords of Mayfair is refusing to pay up because they say poker ace Phil Ivey cheated his way to the fortune.

Apparently, the 38-year-old American ‘read’ the cards during a game of punto banco and they say the cash is staying in its vault.

In the biggest legal battle in casino history, he will claim he used a legitimate technique called ‘edge sorting’ to gain a mathematical advantage over the casino and break the bank.

He will explain that in London he was accompanied by a fellow poker player who helped him exploit tiny flaws in the cards’ design –asymmetrical pattern differences on the back that are the result of mistakes during the manufacturing process. During the game two years ago Mr Ivey regularly asked for the decks to be changed. Once a deck where the pattern on the reverse side was asymmetrical – one ‘long’ side was different from the opposite side – was identified, the associate asked the dealer to reveal each card in turn by lifting the edge. When they were key cards, a seven, eight or nine, the dealer was asked to rotate it in the opposite direction to the others – the long edges then becoming distiguishable from the rest.

Yes, I read this 10 times and didn’t understand it either, but given the remarkable mental dexterity shown and stack that up against the many millions Crockfords must make from less talented players, in my view they should pay the man.