Yes, Mr. Ivey, you can have a private baccarat table.
Yes, we give you permission to wager up to $100,000 per hand.
Yes, we can supply that particular series of purple Gemaco playing cards.
Yes, we can supply the specific style of shoe you desire, so you can more clearly see the patterns on the back of the cards.
Yes, we can supply a Mandarin-speaking dealer to communicate with your Mandarin-speaking associate.
Yes, the dealer will rotate the cards any way you’d like then place them into the shoe in whatever orientation your little heart desires.
Yes, we—being of sound mind—will provide everything you’ve requested and yes, we will take your money if you lose.
Oh, one more thing: We won’t allow you to win.
If we lose, all bets are off.
Thus seems to be the borderline larcenous logic of the two casinos—one in London, one in Atlantic City—engaged in legal proceedings involving Phil Ivey in which they characterize him as a cheater.
Adios, $12.4 million
On October 7, Ivey took what might be regarded as preemptive action by appearing in a segment of “60 Minutes Sports.” He doesn’t grant interviews often, which is a shame because he’s articulate and comes off rather well as an ambassador for the world of gambling. That is, rather well if you buy the premise (as I do) that he did not cheat.
Viewers were treated to a glimpse of his cool digs overlooking the Vegas Strip; his secretive rear-door entrance to the Rio during the WSOP; and a thumbnail bio of his New Jersey childhood.
Finally the interviewer got down to the crux of the matter: Would Ivey admit to cheating at Baccarat?
Of course not. His made his case (rephrased above) with utter conviction.
Then, the day after “60 Minutes Sports” aired, he was screwed. A British judge ruled in favor of Crockfords, the London casino, telling them they didn’t have to pay Ivey the $12.4 million that Ivey feels (as do many in the gambling world) he won legitimately.
And so sorry, said the judge. An appeal would not be allowed.
There’s a loophole that his lawyers will likely exploit, but for now say goodbye to $12.4 million, Phil.
How the Crockfords decision will affect the Borgata’s suit against Ivey is unclear, though it cannot be read as a good sign. In that case, the Borgata is suing Ivey to get back the $9.6 million that he won at baccarat.
Meanwhile, over at the ESPN site, Jeff Ma has written “Why Phil Ivey Got a Raw Deal,” an excellent analysis of the ethical issues involved in “advantage play.”
And none other than Daniel Negreanu weighs in on the decision over at the Pocket Fives site. Guess which side he landed on.
Welcome to the Casino Buffet
Some tasty tidbits from the world of gambling…
Video poker hell
While we’re on the topic of advantage play, Wired posted a fascinating article about two guys who exploited a flaw in a particular model of video poker machines that they discovered accidentally. Then, after they won a bunch of money, they went through legal hell.
Short version: Don’t screw around with the casinos. They’ve got friends in high places.
The longer (and highly recommended) version is right here.
“Mad” about slots
Slot machine manufacturers just love their TV tie-ins. I’m cool with the “Wheel of Fortune” slots, the “C.S.I.” slots, the “Big Bang Theory” slots, even the “Sex in the City” slots: Harmless little shows that don’t seem entirely out of place on the casino floor.
But how about this one: “Mad Men” slots.
Spin the wheel! If you’re lucky, you’ll get a “Don Draper Bonus”, and you can choose an ad for that next campaign!
Spin the wheel! If you’re luckier, you’ll draw a “Roger Sterling Bonus” and get this message: “Have a drink”!
Spin the wheel! If you’re unlucky, you’ll be dropped head-first into a brackish swamp awash with atavistic shame for the sexism and racism of the early 1960s.
But seriously folks, these machines feature graphics and video images from this brilliant, dark, sometimes creepy cult TV drama. While they might add an intellectual element to those banks of mindless electronic thieves, it’s like dropping a page from Nabokov into the Sunday funnies.
At least when you play “The Wizard of Oz” slots (yes, these machines exist) you’ll be smiling as you throw your money away.
With the “Mad Men” machines, the words “feel good” don’t exactly come to mind.
In the category of Oddest Combination of Keywords Leading to My Site is this entry. And I quote:
“if a boy nut is cold what does that mean”
What does that mean, indeed? For starters I’d like to know what a “boy nut” is. Anybody?
And what would possess a person to Google this strange conglomeration of words? It looks like a phrase that you might randomly assemble on your refrigerator door with those magnetic word kits. While you’re drunk.
In any case, I really do hope that Stone-Cold Nuts helped answer this Googler’s existential question. If this website can help just one person solve the boy-nut-cold dilemma… well, that’s why we’ve been put on Earth, right?