Borgata Sues Card Maker in Phil Ivey Edge Sorting Case

The Borgata Casino is continuing its legal action against Gemaco, the card manufacturer in the infamous edge sorting case involving Phil Ivey. The Atlantic City casino recently filed a 34-page dossier to the court in response to action from Gemaco.



The Borgata Casino has reaffirmed its efforts to claw back the $10.1 million it lost to Phil Ivey on the mini-baccarat tables, back in 2012. As well as accusing Ivey, and his playing partner Kelly Sun, Borgata has sued Gemaco for breach of contract because of the imperfections on the back of the playing cards provided.

In December 2016 Ivey and Sun were ordered by a US court to repay the sum in full to the Borgata Casino, even including half a million dollars he won on the craps table. The casino even tried to push their luck by asking for more than $15 million, as this was the expected loss for the amount of hands that the pair played. Luckily the judge spared them, as well as writing off $250,000 in comps. That’s a lot of gin & tonics while you’re playing there.

For now, the Ivey vs Borgata is on the side lines while Borgata vs Gemaco is resolved. And this is where it’s begun to get a little murky.


Trying It On?

Gemaco sent to the court a “Responding Statement of Uncontested Material Facts.” The first 14 points were skimmed over, but point 15 became a bone of contention. The Borgata Casino alleges that the edge sorting technique can only be accurately carried out if the cards are not cut with symmetrical patterns on the back when they are manufactured.

Gemaco fired back with

"Sun confirmed that she can identify imperfections with any cards, regardless of who manufactures them. Sun further testified that the card manufacturer is irrelevant and that she is able to gain advantage with any card and can pick up imperfections in almost all instances."

This pretty much goes with the line that Sun has an incredible talent rather than the Gemaco cards were a bit iffy. If this can be proven to any believable degree then surely that ends the argument. As far as the law in New Jersey is concerned, the patterns on the back of playing cards used in casinos may have up to 1/32 of an inch discrepancy. In the middle of all the documents submitted by the Borgata Casino there is a material fact stating that edge sorting can only be carried out when there are major imperfections in the design. Now we know that not to be true.

One point in the casino’s favour is how the actual law is written.

“The backs of each card in the deck shall be identical and no card shall contain any marking, symbol or design that will enable a person to know the identity of any element printed on the face of the card or that will in any way differentiate the back of that card from any other card in the deck.”

If the presiding judge decides to follow the law to the letter then Gemaco may have a problem, but that remains to be seen.

It has also come to light that Ivey narrowly avoided criminal charges when a detective investigating the edge sorting case was ordered not to file, but rather leave the decision to the Attorney General who then declined. Detective Andrew Koch viewed the situation as the same as playing with marked cards; a most serious offence.

Interestingly, blackjack legend Arnold Snyder has been brought in to offer expert help in what is quite a bizarre case. reported excerpts  

4. Card Asymmetry is Normal, not a “Defect”

I disagree with the constant references by Borgata and its experts to Ivey and Sun exploiting “defects” in the cards. The cards had no defects. They were manufactured to the same specifications of all casino cards in use in all major casinos in the world today.

Until this case, I was unaware that there was an “industry standard” – according to Gemaco – for casino cards to be symmetrical within 1/32 inch. But I’ve known for decades that cards used in casinos are asymmetrical because I’ve played edge-sorting strategies at blackjack in Nevada, Mississippi and Louisiana.

This is another nail in the coffin of Borgata’s case. Ivey and Sun have an appeal underway which cannot be heard until the action against Gemaco is finalised. Gemaco claim that Borgata only brought this action as they are still having trouble getting paid by Ivey. In theory it is still possible that both Gemaco and Ivey have to pay out, leaving the casino with a huge double up, but surely this is unlikely.

Ivey missed this year’s World Series of Poker due to the court cases, but was recently spotted in China helping to promote a new poker app.


David Baazov

David Baazov, the former Amaya inc CEO, is due in court over the coming weeks to defend himself from charges of insider trading. As if that wasn’t already enough to worry about, he is now facing fresh allegations that the majority of the shares he had in Pokerstars’ parent company did not belong to him. Ofer Baazov, David’s brother, and his business partner Craig Levett are now thought to have been the majority shareholders in Amaya inc all along.  A spokesperson for David Baazov told the media

“Through prejudicial leaks, false declarations and persistent insinuations, this affair is transformed into interminable fishing. The AMF continues to manage this case in the court of public opinion because it cannot win in court. David never held Amaya shares for anyone other than himself.”

It is not yet clear what the reason may have been to undertake this arrangement, but Ofer and Levett already have a tainted reputation when it comes to business. Their companies in the betting industry all had bad reputations when it came to paying out on time. Ofer has also been found guilty of a telemarketing fraud which should have cost him close to $800,000, but he has not paid yet.

Maybe these are the reasons why he would not want to be seen as the man in control of the world’s biggest poker site.