Phil Ivey is considered in a lot of circles as the best poker player in the world. Apparently, he’s also quite skilled in the lesser known game Punto Banco.
In a recent run at Crockfords, considered as one of the oldest private casinos in the world, Ivey, accompanied by an Asian female friend, went on the kind of run that will arguably go down as the stuff of legends, turning a £1 million deposit into the casino’s bank account into £7.3 million in winnings.
You’d think that with a run like that, Ivey’s would’ve cashed his latest gambling score with a big ol’ smile on his face. Except, according to the Daily Mail, that hasn’t been the case.
That’s because Crockfords has yet to give Ivey the money. All £7.3 million of it. Although they did return his £1 million deposit, the casino has refused to give Ivey his winnings, so much so, that they’ve even begun an investigation on how he managed to win that much money on a game that people describe as a skill-free game. It’s quite possible that Ivey just had a run of good luck that would make leprechauns jealous. But Crockfords has been apprehensive about Ivey’s impressive run and has taken the steps to conduct a thorough investigation on the circumstances of that night’s action.
The casino did interviews with the staff, looked through hours of surveillance footage, inspected the cards, and even investigated the aforementioned Asian female friend, whom they discovered to have had her membership suspended in another casino in the area. With the exception of the shady record of Ivey’s companion, Crockford’s investigation has yet to yield any wrongdoing on Ivey’s part, despite the casino having initially said it would pay off Ivey’s winnings.
Barry Carter, the author of the Mental Game of Poker, believes that Ivey’s winnings were all on the up-and-up, pointing out the difficulty in influencing a game like Punto Banco. “I don’t think for one minute that he cheated,” Carter told The Daily Mail. “It is almost impossible for him to have an influence in a game of pure chance like Punto Banco.”
The game of probability also has runs like this, Carter explained. “Just because it’s statistically unlikely doesn’t mean you can’t have such a long winning streak — it is the nature of probability.”
The question now is if Crockfords will pony up and pay Ivey or if they’re going to let this whole ordeal drag on. If they do end up choosing the latter, we can, at the very least, expect a lengthy court battle between Ivey and Crockfords soon.