Poker star Phil Ivey wins $11.5 million, but casino refuses to pay


Poker star Phil Ivey won $11.5 million in a London casino in August, but the gambling club is refusing to pay him.

Ivey was playing a card game called Punto Banco, in which skill plays no role. The winner is determined strictly by luck of the draw.

In August, Ivey, 35, and a female companion played at the London casino Crockfords. Over the course of two days, Ivey won $11.5 million. When it was time to cash in, officials at the casino said Ivey’s winnings would be transferred to his bank account.


But here we are in October, and Ivey says he still doesn’t have his money. Why? The casino isn’t talking, but many believe it is because Ivey’s companion had a suspended membership with another casino.

“There’s nothing in his past that would hint at his being a cheater or unethical in any way,” Lance Bradley, editor of Bluff magazine, told ABC News. “People say he’s arguably the best poker player in the world; but, really, there’s no argument: He’s No. 1. He’s known both for his skill and for his love of high-stakes games.”

According to ABC, the casino has had its investigators inspect every detail of Ivey’s play. The dealer was interviewed at length and all the cards inspected. Video recorded by 10 overhead cameras also was reviewed, but apparently failed to disclose any wrongdoing.

So why would the casino balk at paying Ivey despite no evidence that he cheated?

“Casinos love high-rollers. But not high-rollers who win,” Bradley said. “Essentially, they’re firing their customer.”



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