Crockfords, Britain’s oldest casino, is refusing to pay the world’s top poker player his £7.3 million (or $11.7 million) win until they’ve completed an investigation of his game.
According to the Daily Mail, Phil Ivey, a California native, hit a two-night winning streak at the private Mayfair gaming club. He was playing Punto Banco, a variation of the card game baccarat.
The casino agreed to pay the winnings into his bank account but six weeks later Ivey has only received a refund of his £1 million stake.
The casino immediately launched an investigation after Ivey left the club. Investigators interviewed everyone who was working during the two nights Ivey played and they examined hours of film from surveillance cameras, ten of which were in the room he played in.
Suspicions about the game increased after the casino discovered Ivey’s female companion, who sat at his side while he played, had recently had her membership at another Mayfair casino suspended.
The Daily Mail reports that cheating during a game of Punto Banco is rare because of the difficulties involved.
Ivey has declined to comment about the situation and a spokesperson for Crockfords said, “As a private club we put great store on the confidentiality of the relationship between ourselves and our client and we therefore have no comment to make.”
Lawyers on both sides are in a tense stand-off over the investigation.
Ivey is the youngest player to win eight World Series of Poker bracelets and the WSOP organization says he is “arguably the best poker player in the world.”
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