Famous Casino Cheats of Past and Present

Cheaters never win! Unless you happen to be one of these guys who won a fortune by cheating at different casino games.

Cheaters Never Win? These Guys Won a Fortune Cheating at Different Casino Games

Cheating the casino isn’t exactly the best way to make your fortune. It’s not so easy, either, especially considering the last few decades or so worth of advancements in technology. Security surveillance is far superior to what was available half a century ago. But it does still happen.

We don’t hear about casino cheats too much these days for two simple reasons; mostly because there aren’t many willing to try it anymore, but also because those who succeed aren’t blasting the news across social media.

Cheating at Different Casino Games

Although not intentional, some casino games are designed in such a way as to be more vulnerable than others. An entirely computer based game can be hacked and its software re-engineered to perform differently. A deck of cards offers no such mechanized manipulation.

Similar rules apply to the number of people involved in the deception. Any single-player game – a slot machine for instance – is going to be easier to manipulate with special tools or hacking software. The fewer eyes upon you, the better. In the same token, a multi-player game like blackjack is easier to exploit via distraction, wherein the deceiver gives prying eyes something else – something less suspicious – to train their scrutiny upon.

Famous Casino Cheats of Past and Present

I certainly don’t recommend cheating casinos – or trying to, as the case so often turns out to be. I for one would never have the gumption to attempt it, and I hope you would make the same smart decision to keep your gaming on the up-and-up. But there are a lot of people out there who did and do take the renegade plunge. Most of them failed miserably, paying a high price for their crimes. But not everyone…

The following is a list of famous fraudsters who pulled off some of the biggest gaming heists in casino history. Between the most successful tricksters of old and the biggest failures of all time, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so for now, you can consider this an ever-growing compilation of casino game cheats.

Richard Marcus – The Drunken Master

I’m starting here because his story is my personal favorite. Richard Marcus, a former card dealer, was a supremely cunning individual who used the commonality of social vices against the very casinos that promoted them. In this case, slovenly drunken behavior.

Marcus’s skulduggery relied upon excellent acting skills, and a great deal of courage, of which he had both. He was so adept at this method, he gave it a name – “Savannah”. It’s awfully similar to the comparably lame technique of past-posting, in which a player uses slight of hand to inconspicuously add chips to a winning bet. But Richard’s method was so much more convincing, if not a bit backwards.

In one of his more vividly detailed exploits, Marcus would play roulette with all the vigor of a drunken master. Upon entering the game, he would place two chips on a bet. The top chip would be small; maybe $5. The chip beneath would be of much greater value.

If he lost the bet, he would irately grab his chips from the table – going against every casino rule in the book – and fling them straight at the croupier! In the process, of course, he would cleverly replace the higher value chip with a second $5 chip, which is exactly what the croupier would expect to find.

If Marcus won the bet, however, he would make a valiant show of the fact that the chip beneath the $5 was of greater value, ensuring he got paid for his acceptable, albeit unorthodox manner of chip stacking. If security were to go back and observe the surveillance video, nothing out of place would be seen. Such was the wisdom of Richard Marcus, who managed to dupe the casinos out of an untold fortune by doing the exact opposite of what was expected – cheating on a loss, rather than a win.

“Savannah” was Marcus’s lucky lady, and she walked him across the fiery coals of many gambling adventures without ever getting caught. We only know of his insurmountable success because he wrote of his duplicitous exploits in his best-selling books. Of course, by the time he told the world what he’d done, he was already beyond wealthy and retired from that swindling lifestyle.

Unfortunately, I’ve lost all respect for the man in recent years. Now, he makes all of his money by bragging and pitting his own kind against the enemy. He runs a blog that supposedly teaches others how to cheat at poker and casino games, and at the same time, offers services to the very casinos he once cheated, teaching them how to catch the people he is supposedly training to bilk them. Not cool, Richard!

Dennis Nikrasch – 2-Step Teaming & Scheming

Dennis Nikrasch World's Best Slot Machine Cheat

Dennis Nikrasch (aka Dennis McAndrews) was a very talented man, particularly skilled in lock smithing mechanics. He used those talents to his lucrative advantage, taking the casinos for an estimated $15 million before the FBI got hold of him.

Nikrasch’s story begins as a teenager, when learned the trade of a locksmith. His unscrupulous ways began there, stealing cars and burglarizing luxury homes in his community. His reputation grew quickly, earning him a respected position with the Genesse Crime Family. The police caught up with him in 1961, and by the time he was released, he began eyeing new locks – the ones on casino slot machines.

By simply observing the keyhole on a slot, he found he was able to fashion a key that would open it. Once in, he used a series of strong magnets to manipulate the machines into releasing their jackpots. His actions went unnoticed for eight long and lavish years before one casino’s security time finally caught on. He was arrested shortly after.

Following a 5 year prison sentence, Dennis eventually returned to Vegas in 1991, thinking he’d get right back to his old ways. Slot machines had changed a lot since then, and Dennis had to come up with a new way to cheat them. So he did. Nikrasch teamed up with tech wizard Eugene Bulgarino, a former associate from the Genesse Crime Family.

Together, the two got their hands on some of the newer slot machine models and dissected them from the inside out. It didn’t take long to discover that the computerized machines ran on a microchip, as opposed to the old mechanical reels, and that the microchip was responsible for triggering jackpot payouts. After months of hard work, he was able to replicate the chip, except that his version would command the game to pay out its top prize the very next time the reels were spun.

Nikrasch’s biggest problem now was finding a way to switch out the microchips in a busy casinos without drawing suspicion or setting off a machine’s tamper alarm. The solution was easy enough – recruit a large team of helpers to disguise his actions.

While Dennis was sitting at a slot machine, appearing to play the game, an entire crew of helpers were moving about the casino, ensuring that his view was blocked from the casino’s security cameras at all times. Once he had finished replacing the chip, he would leave the machine and one of the team members would come along to play instead. One spin later, that inconspicuous member struck the jackpot.

There’s nothing uncommon about one player walking away and the next one striking paydirt, thus the casinos didn’t catch on to what Nikrasch’s team was doing for several years. Odds are they never would have figured it out if Dennis hadn’t been betrayed by one of his own partners.

Exactly who turned on him and why is a matter of speculation, but it’s believed it was a woman from the team who wanted more than Dennis was willing to give. When she tried to turn him in to the police, the FBI was eager to get involved, but try as they might, they could not find a single scrap of evidence that he had tampered with any slot machine. The security cameras showed nothing, and he left no trace of manipulation on any machine. Even IGT, the company that manufactured some of the games he cheated, could find no hint of tampering.

Slot Machine Cheat Dennis Nikrasch Arrested

The FBI resorted to tapping his phone, but of course Nikrasch and his colleagues were too smart for that. What they didn’t prepare for was the bugging of Dennis’s home. The FBI overhead a conversation in which Nikrasch invited Bulgarino to his home. Just hours before, agents snuck in and planted listening devices throughout the house. During the meeting, the two discussed every aspect of their previous crimes in an effort to find areas of improvement. They spoke of upcoming hits, and ways to spend their ill-gotten gains.

That was more than the FBI needed to storm the home and arrest them both. Dennis Nikrasch plead guilty to all charges and agreed to reveal all of his slot machine cheating secrets to help casinos catch other people like himself. For his cooperation, his sentence was reduced to 8 years.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael – Monkey Paw, Monkey Do

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was a product of the mid 1950s, a time when technology was all the rage. Electronic wonders were coming out of the woodwork, and they fascinated Tommy. He was that kid that ignored his friends pleading to visit the soda shop, and instead stayed in his room, dismantling a ham radio just to see how it worked.

Infamous slot machine cheater Tommy Glenn Carmichael

When he grew up, Tommy’s love of small machinery led him to open Ace TV Sales & Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The business was going great, but then everything began to fall apart. Prior drug convictions had him on probation and doing community service. He was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his third wife. Similar shops were opening all over town, driving his revenue into the basement.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was in shambles.

That’s when Ray Ming, an old high school buddy, walked back into his life and change everything. Ray led Tommy outside to his car and told him that the object inside his trunk would change his life forever. He was right.

Within the confines of Ming’s trunk was a small-scale slot machine and a cheater’s tool known as a “top-bottom joint”. Neither Ray or Tommy knew how the gadget worked, but they were determined to find out. Carmichael took the slot machine home and disassembled it, learning the inner workings of the game and how to exploit it with the mechanism. Finally, after fiddling with the tool for many hours, he felt he was ready to use it in a real casino.

His first trip to Vegas started with a nickel machine, which he was to strike a $35 win on. He then moved up to quarter slots, and by the time the weekend was over, he had taken the casino for nearly $10,000.

His cheating ways continued with great success for the next few years before casinos updated their machines to RNG technology, forcing him to rethink his strategy. Unable to use the top-bottom joint on the newer models, Tommy limited his gaming habits to smaller casino joints beyond the strip, where the older machines were still in use.

Smaller crowds made for easier detection though, and it didn’t take long for police to catch up to him. They followed him for a week gathering evidence before he was arrested, charged and convicted of running an illegal gambling enterprise. Since he was already on probation, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Years later, in an interview with USA Today, Carmichael said about this time in his life:

You think about what you did, and the mistakes, and how to correct them. You either get straight or get better.”

Carmichael got better.

In the years he was away, machines continued to evolve, so Tommy decided to go back to school, so to speak. He worked multiple minimum wage jobs until he’d saved enough money to purchase one of the newer machines. Not a slot machine this time, but a video poker machine. He spent more than a year learning the how the RNG and micro-processing units worked before he was ready to head back out into the casinos with his new invention – The Monkey Paw.

It’s engineering was genius, yet its operation simple. Built with guitar string and steel springs, it did resemble a monkey’s paw. And when it was inserted up the payout chute of a gambling machine, it triggered a mirco-switch that released a payout.

Tommy was “winning” thousands of dollars every outing, but just as before, times were changing, technology was evolving, and casinos were updating to newer machines. Carmichael decided to save some time and play it cool, disguising himself as an affluent with interest in purchasing one of the new slot machines.

Under this presumption, he convinced a casino employee to open up one of their new machines and explain how everything worked. In that limited space of time, he conceived his next big invention – The Light Wand.

The Light Wand Slot Machine Cheating Device devised by Tommy Glenn Carmichael

As is turned out, the new games were just as easy to cheat as the old ones, but instead of making contact with the trigger, he needed only light to pass over it. Like before, the light wand was inserted into the payout chute. When the light shown on the sensor, coins were released.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael became extremely wealthy at this point, not only because his new slot cheating device worked so well, but because he was making loads of money on the side selling them to fellow casino cheats. He was so rich at this point, he took a 6 month vacation from Las Vegas, pilfering the machines on casino cruises in the Caribbean.

Upon his return, Carmichael decided to set up a team. He partnered with Ramon David Pereira and his old prison buddy, Michael Balsamo, among others. Each member had an important role, scoping out the machines, keeping a watch for security, blocking the line of vision from security cameras at just the right moments.

If the stories are true, these guys were so successful that at their peak, they were raking in upwards of $5 million a day, virtually raiding the vaults of every casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Then one day in 1996, it all came crashing down.

The group was running their scheme at the Circus Circus Casino when authorities closed it. Tommy had no idea the casino had updated its security cameras. His blockers were no longer effective. Security saw everything. The moment Carmichael inserted his light wand into a machine, a team of guards pounced.

He was charged with cheating, manufacturing of a cheating device, and possession of a cheating device. However, authorities didn’t have enough evidence to make all the charges stick. They had to release him the next day.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was arrested again in 1998, to no avail, and one last time in 1999. That time it stuck. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison and 3 years probation. After his release, he turned his life around, sort of. Carmichael began working with the casinos instead of against them, and made his new fortune developing tools to help stop cheaters. Might as well, since he’s engraved in Nevada’s Black Book of life-time banned players.

Ronald Harris & Reid McNeal – The Ruinous Nature of Greed

In the mid 1990s, a pair of seemingly unlikely comrades were getting rich quick off Nevada casinos. One was Ronald Dale Harris, a respected engineer with a strong background in computer programming and a convenient source of employment. The other was Reid Errol McNeal, an old school yard friend of Ron’s who just happened to be in the wrong situation at the right time.

Ronald Harris and Reid McNeal arrested in 1995 for cheating slot machines in Las Vegas and Atlantic City

The story begins in the early 1990s, when Ron Harris applied for a job with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). He had all the right skills and his record was squeaky clean, thus he was a perfect candidate for computer programmer. His responsibilities included analyzing the state’s slot machine software for glitches and flaws.

In Ron’s defense, he had no intention of going rogue when he was hired. However, his job granted him access to very sensitive information, and it wasn’t long before he realized how easy it would be the manipulate the system from his position. All he had to do was alter the erasable programmable read only memory (EPROM) within a slot machine to govern its payout release. And so he did…

Harris knew the inherent dangers of his actions. He knew that if he went to the casino and won a jackpot himself, it would look awfully suspicious. That’s when he decided to contact his old childhood friend, Reid McNeal. The two had stayed in touch over the years, enough that Ron knew Reid had recently lost his job and was hard up for cash. Needles to say, it didn’t take much convincing to bring McNeal aboard.

Ron would program the EPROM chips of certain slot machines to line up a big win when a certain sequence of coins was entered. Then Reid would play the slot machines his friend told him to play, in the exact manner he was told to play them. For instance, one of Ronald’s favorite sequences – one no other player was likely to insert by accident – was 3 coins, 2 coins, 2 coins, 1 coin, 3 coins, then 5 coins. If that precise number of coins was inserted per play for six plays in a row, the sixth spin would result in the big win.

At first, they were the perfect duo, splitting the profits down the middle. They won relatively lucrative amounts of money, but never more than a few thousand per strike. It kept the prying eyes of the NGCB off their backs, and put far more in Harris’s pocket than his day job allotted. But then, as criminals so often do, the two got greedy.

In 1995, Ron wanted to try his illicit programming skills on keno machines, but he didn’t feel comfortable doing it in his home state. They left Nevada for the east coast, bringing with them all the equipment required to manipulate a gambling machine on site. They booked a room at an Atlantic City hotel and set their sites on a keno machine at Bally’s Park Place Casino.

In the beginning, everything worked just as planned. Harris gave instructions to Reid, who inserted $100 into the appropriate machine and – as expected – won the $100,000 jackpot. It was the largest keno prize ever paid by the casino. But instead of uncorking the champagne bottles and taking pictures with oversized cardboard checks, casino staff became instantly suspicious of Reid McNEal.

His first mistake was his lack of reaction. He did not seem surprised or even excited by the 6-figure win. He remained perfectly calm and asked for his winnings to be paid in cash. No payout would be forthcoming however; not just because the casino suspected something was up, but because any win of $35,000 or more required an investigation to confirm the win.

As protocol called for, security protected their latest big-money winner back to his hotel room, where they just so happened to find Ron, along with all of the equipment the two brought with them to manipulate the machines and cheat the casino. That was all police needed to place the two under arrest.

Ronald Harris plead guilty to more than twenty counts, including abusing his position with the NGCB, using confidential information for personal gain, and rigging gambling machines from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released on good behavior after serving just two. Reid McNeal cut a deal with authorities, testifying against his friend in exchange for exclusion. Subsequently, all charges against him were dropped.

Ida Summers – The Vegas Vixen

Ida Summers Vegas Vixen

People often jump to conclusions when it comes to the roles women play in large-scale casino cheating scandals. It is assumed that any woman is merely a distraction – a decoy – directed by a man or group of men to swing their hips and bat their lashes while the real geniuses get the job done. That stereotype had nothing to do with the success of the fraudulent femme fatale, Ida Summers.

Ms. Summers was, for the most part, a one-woman show, and one of the most successful Vegas fraudsters of all time. And while she most certainly distracted the dealers and pit bosses from what was really going on at the table, it was for her own benefit.

Aside from her deviant charms, Ida’s claim to notorious fame was her indubitable skill at sleight of hand. From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, she pocketed thousands of dollars a day at Las Vegas casinos, mostly by adding or removing cards – sometimes entire decks or shoes of card! She was so adept at it, she eventually earned the nickname Vegas Vixen.

We must attribute a great deal of her success to her beauty, and ability to flaunt it. With a petite frame and slender physique, 5’2” and under one hundred pounds, every head in the room turned when she walked in. As competent as she was at sleight of hand, her flirtations were her most dexterous skill, allowing her to easily move cards around without notice.

Ida was especially fond of technique known as hand-mucking. It involves exchanging one or two cards in your hand with outside cards. In order for this to work, of course, you need the additional cards to flawlessly match the current cards. She had no trouble solving that potential problem, either.

Ms. Summers would either steal a deck cards right off the table when the dealer was distracted, or she would use her charms to convince a dealer to give it to her, even though it is thoroughly illegal to do so. The Vegas Vixen was known to draw a dealer so deep into her flirtations that when she asked for a deck of cards, just so she could “practice at home”, they were more than willing to risk their job just to make her smile and flash those beautiful eyes once more before she left.

Having an entire casino deck to work with, Ida would slide cards up her sleeve and discreetly pull them out as needed. She used them most often at the blackjack table to give herself a hand of 21. She was also known to cheat at Texas Hold’em poker and Caribbean Stud.

In her most daring adventures, she would stack an entire shoe with “cold decks”, prearranged to guarantee beating the house. Of course, replacing an entire shoe was much more difficult, and far riskier, than replacing a few cards. This was one area in which Ida Summers required help, recruiting a number of people to assist her in the job. She would remove one shoe from the table and slip the stacked shoe back in its place, then rest the original shoe in her lap, just out of sight under the table, until an accomplice could discreetly take it from her.

It’s crazy how successful she was in these duplicitous endeavors, despite the seeming blatancy of her crimes. One could say it goes to show how gullible men can be when it comes to the charms of a beautiful woman. However, once the casino managers became suspicious and brought the FBI in to investigate, it still took them several months to gather sufficient evidence to prove she was, in fact, cheating the casinos. This attests to her immense skill at sleight of hand.

Eventually, she and several of her accomplices were caught. The charges against her so well stacked that she should have spent several years behind bars. But her days of charming weren’t over yet. We can only assume that she was able to flirt her way out of the courtroom, handed nothing more than probation, even though several accomplices served time in jail.

Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio – The Counterfeit Con

Louis The Coin Colavecchio The Counterfeit Con

Louis Colavecchio was not a casino cheater in the traditional sense. He did not manipulate the games to increase his advantage over the house. There were no Aces or mechanical devices up his sleeves. Mr. Colavecchio’s crime was more subtle, and far less detectable by casino security. He was a superbly skilled counterfeiter of slot machine coins.

For many years – no one knows for certain how long – Louis was using special equipment to mint counterfeit coins that perfectly mimicked the tokens accepted and emitted by casino slot machines. His coins were so on point, it wasn’t just the cashiers that were fooled by them. He is believed to be the first counterfeiter that was able to successfully recreate coins even a slot machine’s sophisticated software was unable to identify as being fake.

Louis wasn’t always a con artist though. He was the son of a poor immigrant-turned-businessman who rose up to open his own machine manufacturing company. In hopes of following in his father’s footsteps, Louis, who was very intelligent, went to college and opened a business of his own – a jewelry store in his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. It was years later, after a brutal burglary destroyed his business and almost took his life, that Louis got involved in counterfeiting.

Using the insurance money from the robbery, he opened a new jewelry store and began taking “business trips” to Atlantic City. Those trips were actually a front for a new addiction – playing slot machines. The store, in turn, became a front for counterfeiting coins. He started out minting fake chips for the blackjack and poker tables. This was far easier than slot machine coins, but yielded a minimal profit. Eventually, he decided the reward outweighed the risk associated with counterfeiting slots tokens.

Louis would make his way to Atlantic City, bringing a stash of coins he’d minted on a machine originally built to engrave jewelry. He would then use these coins to play the slot machines, appeasing his addiction with no risk to his financial welfare. A bad run lost him nothing, but when he had a good day, he was able to cash out for pure profit.

Mr. Colavecchio is said to have made over one million dollars counterfeiting slot machine coins before the law finally caught onto his deceptive ways. It started with a phone call to the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement from Caesars Palace after the staff discovered a massive surplus of $10 slots tokens during an annual inventory check. All other casinos in the area were informed, and when they ran their own counts, they found equally sophisticated counterfeit coins in their network.

The casinos were put on high alert, and when Louis Colavecchio and his then-girlfriend, Donna Ulrich, entered Caesars Palace the following weekend, it didn’t take long for security to catch on to their suspicious habits. They spent hours watching the two, making note of their game choices. When they left, security opened those machines to find counterfeit coins in the hoppers of each and every game they had played.

In 1998, Louis and Donna were arrested. Authorities found them in possession of 750 pounds worth of counterfeit coins from various casinos in New Jersey and Connecticut. In exchange for a reduced sentence, Colavecchio agreed to tell the casinos how he had counterfeited the coins so perfectly. He spent the next 7 years behind bars.

Upon his release in 2006, he went right back to his old ways. Within a few months, Louis was arrested for the exact same activity. Years later, after statute of limitations had been exceeded, it was revealed that rumors of Louis Colavecchio’s involvement with the mafia were true. He admitted that the brutal robbery of his first jewelry store was really a premeditated scam to claim insurance money. He is also said to have been involved in other mafia-related robberies, arson fires and shootings. Louis was arrested again in 2013 for drug trafficking.

Phil Ivey & Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun

Baccarat Cheats Phil Ivey and Cheung Yin Kelly Sun

The name Cheung Yin Sun may not ring a bell, but surely you’ve heard of the highly decorated, world-class poker pro, Phil Ivey. He’s got 10 WSOP bracelets under a multi-million dollar belt. But poker isn’t the only game he excels at. Paired with Cheung Yin Sun – better known as “Kelly” Sun – this duplicitous duo was caught cheating more than one casino out of massive amounts of cash.

Ivey and Sun seemed to be the world’s most successful baccarat players, right up until the casinos figured out how they were getting so lucky. The two were using a special technique known as edge sorting. This system only works if 1) the players are extremely observant, and 2) the deck of cards in use has some sort of discernible flaw in the pattern printed on the back of each card.

Some say these two actually manipulated the cards in some way to achieve their edge-sorting advantage. Whether that’s true or not, we don’t know. What we do know is that Ivey’s immense bankroll and intelligence, combined with Sun’s expert edge-sorting capabilities, made one heck of a time – for a while.

Ivey and Sun famously cheated the Crockfords Club casino in Mayfair, London in 2012. While playing Punto Banco for high stakes, they utilized an erroneously printed pattern on the cards that helped them predict whether the next card would be high or low. In this way, the two were able to wrangle up a massive £7.7 million in winnings at Crockfords alone.

Unfortunately for them, that kind of cash isn’t handled directly. When Ivey requested the winnings be transferred to his bank, the casino instead froze his account and launched an investigation. Soon enough, they filed charges against the two for outright cheating.

Ivey of course claimed that they had merely found a fair edge and used it to strategically win. After a 5-year court battle, the London Supreme Court sided with Crockfords, declaring Phil Ivey and his accomplice were “undoubtedly cheating”. Thus, the casino did not have to pay Ivey or Sun the millions of pounds they had illegitimately won.

Crockfords wasn’t their only high-rolling haunt. When the pair weren’t edge-sorting the Punto Banco tables in London, they were doing the exact same thing at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. It wasnt’t until the Borgata caught wind of what was happening across the ocean that they took greater notice of Ivey’s baccarat play at their own establishment. Low and behold, Ivey always played alongside Kelly Sun, and together they had taken the Borgata for more than US $12 million in April 2012.

The Borgata, having already paid out their winnings, filed charges against the duo – more severe charges than they faced in the UK. Ivey and Sun were accused of cheating, and were also brought up on charges of fraud and racketeering (via the RICO Act). If convicted on all counts, they would have faced at least $30 million in fines, not to mention jail time. As it was, the extra charges were dropped, leaving Ivey and Sun to pay back the more than $10 million.

While Phil Ivey was attempting to file an appeal against that judgment, he was also learning that the UK courts had ruled against him. He would not be receiving any money from Crockfords Club. Without that cash, he told the courts he could not afford to repay the Borgata – that the “enormity of that amount would clearly be of devastating impact”, resulting in “irreparable harm” to both Phil Ivey and Cheung Yin Sun.

Borgata wasn’t falling for it, and neither were the courts. Ivey did not have enough liquid assets in New Jersey to cover the cost, but he had no trouble spending money in Nevada – including the $10k buy-in for the 2018 World Series of Poker Championship. The NJ courts ruled that the Borgata could pursue Ivey’s assets in Nevada, including any futures winnings from poker, until the casino had been paid in full.

Phil has yet to give up on the court battle. In March 2019, he filed an 800-page appeal in hopes of practically rearguing the entire original case. He maintains to this day that neither he nor Sun interfered with the deck of cards in any way. However, it was proven that the two requested the same deck be used for an extended period of time. During that time, they were placing $150,000 bets, and won $12.6 million. When a pit boss intervened and demanded that a new deck be introduced, Ivey and Sun immediately cashed out and left.

Phil Ivey finished in the money in several events at the 2019 WSOP, where he won a combined $133,395. He never saw a penny of it, though. WSOP host Caesars Entertainment instead sent the money to The Borgata, which had obtained a court order to seize his poker winning in Nevada. To date, still owes millions of dollars to The Borgata.

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