British court rules against Phil Ivey

LONDON -- Ten-time World Series of Poker winner Phil Ivey has lost his case against a British casino he accused of improperly withholding his winnings.

Britain's High Court ruled Wednesday that Genting Casinos UK does not have to pay him the 7.7 million pounds ($12.4 million) he was seeking. The casino's lawyers convinced the court that Ivey's use of "edge sorting'' tactics was not legitimate and that the casino did not have to pay.

The casino said he essentially kept track of card values by watching for design imperfections on the backs of the cards.

The 38-year-old Ivey said he was disappointed with the ruling.

"As I said in court, it's not in my nature to cheat -- and I would never do anything to risk my reputation," he said in a statement. "I am pleased that the judge acknowledged in court that I was a truthful witness by saying that, 'I am entirely convinced that Mr. Ivey did not consider that what he was doing was cheating.'

"I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy -- we did nothing more than exploit Crockfords' failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability -- clearly today, the judge did not agree."

Ivey claims he won the money during two days of playing baccarat at Crockfords, a Mayfair casino that is part of the Genting group, in August 2012.

"Crockfords is pleased with the judgment of the High Court today supporting its defense of a claim by Mr. Ivey," the casino said in a statement. "It is our policy not to discuss our clients' affairs in public and we very much regret that proceedings were brought against us. We attach the greatest importance to our exemplary reputation for fair, honest and professional conduct and today's ruling vindicates the steps we have taken in this matter."

The ruling also could pose trouble for Ivey in his legal battle with the Borgata Casino in New Jersey.

Borgata is suing Ivey for the $9.6 million he won using the same controversial edge-sorting technique while playing mini-baccarat in 2012. The two sides are scheduled to have a telephone status update Nov. 10, with depositions expected to continue until July 2015.

Edge-sorting is a technique in which players use flaws in the designs on backs of cards to identify them in advance. At Crockfords and Borgata, Ivey requested a specific brand of cards, purple Gemaco, be used. He had a companion -- a woman identified in court documents as Cheng Yin Sun -- instruct the dealer to rotate specific cards in certain directions, effectively sorting the deck to make the design flaws stand out. He played for anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 per hand, court documents show.

Information from ESPN.com's David Purdum and the Associated Press was used in this report.