Professional poker player Phil Ivey is being sued by an Atlantic City casino after he allegedly won $9.6 million (£5.7 million) in a card-cheating scheme in baccarat.
The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Phillip Ivey Jr., who is considered one of the best poker players in the world.
It claimed that Ivey and an associate exploited a defect in cards made by a Kansas City manufacturer that enabled them to sort and arrange good cards and gave him an unfair advantage in baccarat on four occasions between April and October 2012.
The casino said the technique, called edge sorting, breaks New Jersey casino gambling rules. Joe Lupo, the Borgata's senior vice president, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Mr Ivey's lawyer also declined to comment.
The lawsuit claimed the cards, manufactured by Gemaco Inc., were defective in that the pattern on the back of them was not uniform. The cards have rows of small white circles designed to look like the tops of cut diamonds, but the Borgata claimed some of them were only a half diamond or a quarter of one.
Ivey and his companion instructed a dealer to flip cards in particular ways, depending on whether it was a desirable card in baccarat, the lawsuit said. The numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9 are considered good cards. Other “bad” cards would be flipped in different directions, so that after several hands of cards, the “good” ones were arranged in a certain manner - with the irregular side of the card facing in a specific direction - that, allegedly, Ivey could spot when they came out of the dealer chute.
The suit claimed Ivey wanted the cards shuffled by an automatic shuffling machine, which would not alter the way each card was aligned.
A lawsuit filed in Britain’s High Court by the Malaysia-based Genting Group, a major casino operator, makes a similar claim against Ivey. It alleged Ivey and an accomplice amassed almost $12 million (£7 million) by cheating at baccarat. In that case, Ivey has denied any misconduct.
Ivey has won nine World Series of Poker bracelets. He compares himself on his website to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali.
Additional reporting by Associated Press