Poker Star Sues For $12 Million, Claims Casino Withheld Winnings

Poker star Phil Ivey wants $12 million he says he’s owed from a London casino.

The professional poker player and World Series of Poker champ is suing Crockfords casino in the UK, saying the casino withheld $12.1 million in winnings. Ivey said he won the money playing Punto Banco, a variation of Baccarat.

The poker star said the $12 million lawsuit came as he had “no alternative.” Crockfords did not respond to a request from The Associated Press for a comment on the matter.

Phil Ivey, nicknamed the Tiger Woods of poker both for resembling the golf pro and for helping to usher in a younger element to the game, is one of the most accomplished poker players in the world. He has won eight bracelets from the World Series Poker Championship.

His winnings in London did not come from his poker skills, however. Punto Banco is a game of chance, with winners and losers determined by luck of the draw.

This reportedly is what made Crockfords suspicious of the poker star’s $12 million streak. The casino chose to return the $1.6 million Ivey had put into the game but decided to withhold his winnings.

Ivey reportedly lost $80,000 on his first night at the casino. He came back to the casino floor with a “beautiful companion” and went on his large winning streak. The unidentified companion had her membership revoked by another casino, Crockfords officials noted.

The casino did not outright accuse the poker star of cheating his way to the $12 million, but the insinuation didn’t sit right with Lance Bradley of Bluff magazine.

Bradley noted that Ivey has a spotless reputation, saying: “There’s nothing in his past that would hint at his being a cheater or unethical in any way … People say he’s arguably the best poker player in the world; but, really, there’s no argument: He’s #1. He’s known both for his skill and for his love of high-stakes games. He loves anything where there’s some sexiness at stake.”

Crockfords has not yet answered the poker star’s $12 million lawsuit in court.