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Report: Borgata Casino Snags Phil Ivey’s WSOP Winnings

Phil Ivey

It might be awhile before poker fans see Phil Ivey at the World Series of Poker again.

The iconic poker pro made a surprise appearance in the 2019 WSOP despite being involved in a contentious case with Borgata Resort & Casino. The casino was granted permission to seize Ivey’s assets in Nevada earlier this year.

Now several outlets, including FlushDraw and PokerNews, are reporting that Borgata allegedly attempted to seize Ivey’s winnings at the Rio All-Suite Hotel during the WSOP.

A lawyer for Borgata received a writ of execution from a Nevada court to pursue Ivey’s assets on the same day the poker pro made it into the money of the prestigious $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship.

Ivey went on to finish eighth for $124,410. It’s unclear if Borgata was able to successfully seize the cash from him but that would be the last time he cashed in the 2019 WSOP. He played the Main Event but busted out in the first level of play, which was unusual for a player of his skill level.

Borgata Case Dates Back to 2012

Borgata’s issue with Ivey stems from a high-stakes gambling session in 2012 when Ivey and associate Cheng Yin Sun won nearly $10 million playing baccarat by taking advantage of the casino’s defective cards. Ivey used the same strategy (which is called edge-sorting) to beat Crockford’s Casino out of $11 million while playing baccarat.

The major difference between the two incidents is that Borgata initially paid out Ivey’s winnings while Crockford’s refused to pay at all. Borgata would later pursue successful legal action against the poker pro.

Borgata has not had much success extracting the funds from Ivey as the globe-trotting poker pro allegedly didn’t have any assets in New Jersey that the casino could seize. Earlier this year the casino was granted permission to seize his assets in Nevada but so far hasn’t had success there either. It’s also seeking over $200,000 in interest on the debt.

Ivey spends much of his time in Asia, allegedly playing high-stakes games, and also owns property in Mexico, so his assets could be in a variety of places.

That’s not even taking into account whether he has significant assets to seize. He is easily one of the most successful poker pros of all time but variance can be a major issue when playing games as big as he is known to play.

Ivey was also a founding member of Full Tilt Poker but that stream of revenue dried up when Black Friday rocked the U.S. online poker market in 2011.

Ivey had a so-so 2019 WSOP with four cashes and one final table. It didn’t help that he arrived halfway through the series. He officially recorded just over $130,000 in cashes but – as with all poker tournament results – that doesn’t give you any idea what he spent on buy-ins. Here’s a complete look at all four of Ivey’s cashes during the 2019 WSOP:

DateEventPlacePrize
24-Jun-19$50,000 Poker Players Championship8th$124,410.00
23-Jun-19$1,000 NLHE Online Event82nd$2,533.00
19-Jun-19$1,500 NLHE Bounty76th$2,752.00
16-Jun-19$800 NLHE DeepStack64th$3,700.00

Uncertain Legacy for Phil Ivey

It’s unclear what all this means for the legacy of Phil Ivey at the poker table.

Widely regarded as the best poker player in the world for a number of years, his absence from North America and the WSOP has significantly lessened his exposure to the poker world.

For many years, Ivey was a bracelet-winning machine and he won a record five bracelets from 2009 to 2014, bringing his total up to 10 bracelets, tying old-school legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan.

Ivey was very much in contention to potentially pass Phil Hellmuth in bracelets but the Poker Brat has pulled away over the last few years and is now up to 15 bracelets and distancing himself from the rest of the pack.

There are very few forms of poker that Ivey hasn’t crushed. He’s shown the ability to beat the biggest cash games in the world as well as rack up huge scores playing tournaments. Unlike many old-school pros, he’s also very good at online poker.

It wouldn’t make much sense for Ivey to continue playing the WSOP if the Borgata seizes his winnings. You could argue that he could still play for side bets and bracelets but it’s hard to imagine that would ultimately be worth the hassle for him.

Over the last few years, he has spent a considerable amount of time in Asia and is alleged to be playing in some of the biggest games in the world. If he is winning at those games, he would have very little incentive to make the trip to North America and deal with the legal issues surrounding the Borgata case.

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