Gambler ‘cheated’ to win £7.7 million

Posted: 9th October 2014

PokerA top poker player, who sued a Mayfair casino which refused to pay him £7.7 million in ‘winnings’ he achieved by using a technique known as ‘edge sorting’, has had his case dismissed after a judge declared him a cheat in the eyes of the law.

After the American gambler spent two days at the baccarat table, he was told that his winnings would be wired to him; however, the money never arrived, although his stake money of £1 million was returned to him. He argued that the strategy he used was legitimate and the failure to pay him amounted to a breach of contract.

He had used edge sorting to provide an element of ‘first card advantage’. A fellow gambler had persuaded the croupier to turn some of the cards in the dealing shoe so that he would be aware that they were, or were very likely to be, sevens, eights or nines, due to irregularities in the pattern on the back of some of the cards.

The casino’s lawyers argued that the strategy defeated the essential premise of the game so that there was no gaming contract. In accepting those arguments and dismissing the gambler’s claim, the judge found that the edge sorting strategy involved using the croupier as an unwitting agent or tool. It was immaterial that the casino could have protected itself by taking simple measures and the judge concluded, "This was, in my view, cheating for the purpose of civil law.”