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British casino in $12 million dispute with professional poker player Phil Ivey

May 13, 2013 at 7:40 AM

Crockfords Casino club in Mayfair, London, England is reportedly withholding £7.8 million ($12 million) winnings from professional poker player Phil Ivey, claiming he "read" the back of the cards to win.

The Daily Mail reports Ivey, who is known as "the Tiger Woods of poker," won his money playing Punto Blanco, a baccarat game where the goal is for the player to draw two or three cards with a total value closer to nine than the dealer's competing cards. He allegedly began betting at £50,000 (about $77,000) per hand, and later raised to £150,000 (about $230,000) per hand with the casino's permission.

Ivey is suing the casino in the High Court for withholding his winnings, claiming that he did nothing illegal.

According to the Mail, Ivey's "reading" technique is similar to the one featured in the movie "Kaleidoscope." In the film, a man breaks into a card factory to mark the back of the cards and then goes on a winning streak in several European casinos. In this case, the casino is arguing that Ivey memorized the patterns in the back of the cards and used that knowledge to win.

The confrontation is expected to be the largest legal battle in casino history.

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