In today’s day of gambling or any professional competition, just because you win doesn’t mean you immediately get your prize. So many talks of cheating or contest rigging when a win is so dramatically blown out of the water, leads many game organizers to question the results of the win and launch an investigation as to whether something more nefarious took place. This is currently the case for one of poker’s biggest names; in a questionable win of Punto Banco.
Phil Ivey is now in a legal battle for his winnings in a game of Punto Banco, a version of baccarat favoured by high rollers. Ivey was playing at Crockfords private gaming club in the Mayfair region of London, England six weeks ago when he went on an unbelievable hot streak. The casino originally agreed to transfer Ivey’s $11.5 million winnings into his bank account but after six weeks of waiting, only his original stake has been returned to him.
For 2 days Ivey tested his odds in Punto Banco initially betting £50,000 per hand that was then increased to £150,000 with the dealer’s permission. As he continued to lay his bets, Ivey found himself in the hole over £500,000; before going on a wild recovery that by the end of the first night saw him up £2.3 million. After one more night he cashed out with winnings of £7.3 million which translates into about $11.5 million.
What makes the case interesting is that Ivey still has yet to be formally accused of anything and investigations inside Crockfords at the table he was playing, the decks being used, the shoe holding the cards have all turned up nothing out of the ordinary. Police were never called in to press any legal charges but lawyers on both sides are now gearing up for a vicious battle over Ivey’s rights to claim his winnings.
It seems part of the investigation may be due to his reputation in poker as a “hit and run” player, where he gambles a few hands until he wins big and then makes for the exit shortly thereafter. But with security cameras filming every move he made along with investigations revealing nothing out of the ordinary in his winnings, it’s hard to find how Crockfords plans to make a case to hold the money that Ivey legitimately appears to have won.