American poker pro and high stakes gambler Phil Ivey has been in the news recently regarding a dispute between himself and Crockfords Casino in Mayfair London. The multi millionaire World Series of Poker winning player was told that he could not collect his $12.1 million he won by playing the table game of Punto Banco, a version of Baccarat, as they believed all was not well as Mr Ivey and a female companion went on an unbelievable streak of luck. Crockford's is the oldest and one of the most respected casinos in London and to be able to play at the casino Ivey sent a bank wire of £1 million as a show of good faith, and that amount was all the casino was prepared to pay him back. The events took place in August last year and after requesting his winnings Ivey was told that the playing of the game, over a period of two days, was being investigated by the casino as they believed it was won in suspicious circumstances. In a statement this week he said that, “I am deeply saddened that Crockfords has left me no alternative but to proceed with legal action."

Initially Ivey ran into bad luck and was at one stage $800,000 in the hole, at the casino, which is owned by the Malaysian company Genting. However, this didn't last too long and alongside his female companion they began to win in large amounts. This aroused the suspicion of the casino management who started interviewing employees and viewing video footage of the game. It's worth pointing out at this stage that Punto Banco is a game of pure luck, there is no skill involved in the game at all. It is the player against the house in a simple best hand wins game. The casino has not actually accused Ivey of doing anything, but at the same time have refused to pay his winnings. They have however released a statement of their own that reads, In line with our customer privacy policy we do not comment on matters involving individual members. However in this rare instance we are able to confirm that our position, which is supported by strong legal advice, has been made very clear to Mr Ivey’s solicitors from the start. We shall be filing our defense shortly and defending this claim vigorously" What evidence they have will be interesting to see, if they indeed have any at all.