A renowned professional card player from the United States is currently embroiled in a strange lawsuit that involves allegations of cheating at baccarat and using sexy casino staff to distract gamblers.
The plaintiff in the case is the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa of Atlantic City in New Jersey. The defendant is Phil Ivey, a 39-year old card player who is well-known in the World Series of Poker as well as in the European Poker Tour. Mr. Ivey has played in Barcelona, London and Sidney, and he has won one World Poker Tour title.
In 2012, Mr. Ivey played quite a few rounds of baccarat in Atlantic City. He ended up winning more than $9 million at the Borgata Casino, which later accused Mr. Ivey of cheating.
The Edge Sorting Accusation
In its lawsuit against Mr. Ivey, the Borgata Casino seeks to get back $9.6 million based on an edge sorting accusation. In baccarat and other casino card games, edge sorting is a technique that aims to tell cards apart by spotting subtle differences such as creases on their backs.
The case against Mr. Ivey has been playing out in court since 2014, and it has taken on a colorful turn. Mr. Ivey’s filings in response to the Borgata allegations claim that the casino applied a clever ruse to distract him as he played baccarat.
Mr. Ivey claims that whenever he would wager $100,000 on a baccarat hand, casino management would deploy an army of sexy waitresses wearing short skirts and tight tops to offer free drinks.
The actual court filing makes note of the skimpy outfits worn by the hostesses at the Borgata, and in a deposition Mr. Ivey stated that the waitresses were actively flirting with him and that he has telephone numbers to prove it. The case is currently awaiting a response from the casino.
Gaming content developer Realistic Games, which develops casino games for several online gambling sites has now developed a special version of Baccarat. It has customised the game to incorporate its own intuitive user interface while retaining the trademark design of the game. The interesting version has been customised to fit a mobile applications. The application has an easy to read game roadmap that shows details of previous game history so players can read and remember past mistakes. To increase its user base, Realistic Games has presented the game is 17 languages and accepts their currency.
Baccarat features offered at Realistic Games
During product launch the director of Realistic games stated that their team has developed mobile version of Baccarat to reach out to millions of enthusiasts that are addicted to the game but cannot afford to visit a casino or play on home computers whenever they are free. Players will find all the regular table Baccarat features in the mobile application which will help the casino operators to retain players and improve returns. Baccarat is the second card game created specifically for smart phones by Realistic after four tablet games created in 2014.
About Realistic Games
With the launch of this game Realistic Games has entered the big league of branded online games like Bet365, Ladbrokes, Boylesports, William Hill and Bede Gaming. Till recently Realistic Games has been creating video slot games for gaming operators in both land based and online space that are located in United Kingdom. The game was released by Realistic Games on 24 June 2015. The company specialises in developing card games like roulette and blackjack along with slot games that are chiefly distributed through their hosted games platform ReGal that is easily accessible to customers.
Ezugi and Racing Card Derby have entered into a new deal concerning distribution of latter’s popular game Knockout Baccarat. The deal certainly appears to be lucrative for both parties owning to the profitability of the game.
The knockout deal
As per the terms of the new deal Knockout Baccarat games will be now available to customers of Ezugi from all across the world. Knockout Baccarat is an offering from Racing Card Derby, which allows players several options for side bets. The side bets make the game more exciting for players as it gives them a chance to increase their winnings. Knockout Baccarat has been a popular game in the Asia Pacific countries and Ezugi believes that now others will also get a chance to play this fun game through their distribution network.
Baccarat is a popular table casino game. It brings high revenues to land-based revenues. The side bets are even more popular with players. With this new deal Racing Card Derby hopes that even online players will now be able to enjoy the game due to Ezugi’s robust distribution network.
Good business sense
Ezugi is a leading provider of live dealer games. The company uses social features in the games to make it more fun for players. This enables players to invite their friends to join in with them during the live dealer games. The games can be accessed through mobile devices also. This makes Ezugi games very popular. The management at Racing Card Derby hopes that due to popularity and reach of Ezugi; Knockout Baccarat will now reach players who are not able to access the game in land casinos.
Knockout Baccarat has so far proved to be quite profitable for Racing Card Derby. The new deal was finalised with the hope that live dealer platforms can further help the popularity and profits of the game.
Although blackjack and slot machines get much of the attention, the amount of traffic at baccarat tables has a strong correlation to overall revenues at Las Vegas casinos.
Baccarat a Winner for Casinos Worldwide
Baccarat is very popular in Asia, and it represents more than 60 percent of the gambling revenue in Macau. To put that in perspective, consider that Macau is the largest gambling center in the world, at least five times larger than Las Vegas and generated $45 billion in profits in 2014.
Baccarat Interests Fading in the West
Westerners are not nearly as enamored of the game. Despite accessibility and how easy baccarat is to learn, participation is dwindling in Western casinos. In Las Vegas, baccarat participation fell 5.6 percent in 2014, and that resulted in revenues that were well below expectations. Consider that revenue from baccarat at Las Vegas casinos generally account for 40 to 50 percent of total revenue from table games.
Casinos Promote Baccarat
Casinos in Las Vegas and throughout the Western world are not sitting idly by as one of their best moneymakers becomes a dinosaur. Baccarat tables are being positioned front and center, and many casinos have hosts pitching the game to idle patrons. Many also offer loyalty programs and loss rebates that give back to the players. Even the middle-class tourist can spend enough on baccarat to take advantage of these perks.
What the Future Holds
Many gamblers argue that baccarat offers the best odds in the house, and the added comp opportunities should make the game even more attractive. Still, the players go elsewhere. Casinos are then faced with the difficult task of making baccarat more appealing or of making the popular games more profitable. Some casinos have begun adding progressive pots to baccarat games, and perhaps that is the future.
The world’s biggest baccarat event is here again. The 3rd leg of Grand Dragon Master Baccarat Championship began on August 8, 2014 and will run till March 28, 2015. The prize money to be won in the event is a staggering sum of $10,000,000.
What is the tournament about?
The first Grand Dragon Master Baccarat Championship was held from Oct 2012 and ran till March 2013. It consisted of 12 events covering many venues. The venues comprised of seven casinos in Las Vegas and other in Pennsylvania, Singapore and Macau. The inaugural championship attracted 30,000 enthusiastic players.
In the third year of the tournament the event is set to be bigger and better. Participants in the Las Vegas events will play for a prize pool of $1.59 million. There is $30000 worth of daily cash prize pool. The top finishers every day get to participate in the semi-final rounds. These rounds are a part of Ruby Dragon Baccarat Tournament. In the top players list, only six in total will receive the invitation to play in the Royal Dragon Baccarat Tournament, which has a prize pool of $1 million.
The top three players from the Golden Dragon leg of the tournament get to play at the Global Final event. Marina Bay Sands hosts the event and the participants get complimentary stay and also travel fare to Singapore. They also get allowances for food and beverages.
How does the tournament help baccarat?
Baccarat is witnessing a surge in global popularity of late. It has long been the favourite of the high rollers. But in the recent years casino fans are taking to baccarat and casino owners have made sure that they keep the draw of big and small players to the baccarat tables.
Baccarat has also been a part of popular culture and features in novels and movies. However, other casino table games were enjoying more popularity – namely poker and blackjack. Now baccarat seems to be getting its due on the popularity factor.
With the tournament, baccarat is making news and every year the number of participants increase and there is more awareness about the event as well as the game. It is set to only go upwards from here.
The popularity of baccarat is driving Asian customers to Las Vegas, which is giving the gambling industry a much needed boost. Although the number of people who play baccarat is still lower than poker, craps or blackjack, the money involved is higher than any of those games.
There are always signs that point towards an industry experiencing a revival. For Vegas gambling, that sign was the SLS Las Vegas. The opening of this resort in August marked the end of a four year period where no new casinos or resorts opened near the strip.
At the northern end of the Las Vegas strip, the new SLS Casino took over the spot where an old Sahara hotel used to reside. The project has been in motion since 2007, but recent improvements in gambling revenue drove the owners to push for an opening date.
A lot has changed in Las Vegas since 2010. With the country coming out of its economic depression, more people are willing to spend their money on frivolous gambling and other debauchery. However, the biggest change factor has been the newly found popularity of baccarat.
There was a time when blackjack used to bring in the most money, but baccarat had 2013-2014 figures of more than $1.5 BILLION for Vegas casinos. In layman’s terms, this means that for every four dollars someone spends on the Vegas strip, one dollar is spent on baccarat.
Vegas casinos are acutely aware of how much they owe to these Chinese gambling enthusiasts. There has been a steady increase in the number of theater productions that have a Chinese theme to them. For example, The Palazzo has been responsible for a production of Panda, which takes most of its production team from China. There were also huge celebrations on the Vegas strip to mark the Chinese New Year.
Las Vegas is bouncing back from a long slump, and Asians are providing the cash at its gaming table. Players from the world’s biggest continent have bumped up baccarat to the largest game in town, and investors from Asia are behind the curtain when it comes to new projects.
SLS and Asian hot money
One of the main telltale signs of Vegas revival is the launch of SLS Las Vegas in late August. The SLS is the first resort property to open its doors after the 2010 debut of Cosmopolitan on the famed strip. The owner SBE Entertainment has brought its new found dynamism to the once illustrious hotel.
SBE Entertainment, prior to its buy, was known for its chic eateries, clubs and hotels. It had brought the hotel, formerly known as the Sahara Hotel in 2007and watched in dismay as a number of other resorts in the area was abandoned. When Sahara was closed by SBE in 2011, the strip’s northern end looked bleak. Asian investors are now reclaiming the lost glory.
Power of visa
The 3,600 employeees and their resort guests who are eating at The Griddle and listening to Lenny Kravitz live owe their good fortune to Asian investors and the US investment visa category. Steve Gallaway of Global Market Advisers believes that without the EB-5, there would have been no SLS.
The EB-5 program involves an investment of $50,000 into an economically afflicted area- and Las Vegas has qualified for this program from 2008- may grant the residency to investor as part of the program. It is estimated by Global Market advisers that the Chinese and the Thai investors pushed $150 million into the SLS. Investors from China under the EB-5 visa scheme also invested $100 million into Grand Casino Hotel located Vegas downtown.
Bringing back mojo
The transformation of the Sahara into the SLS Las Vegas came at an expense of $415 million and included a total of 1,600 rooms, a number of SBE’s trademarked restaurants and clubs. It was done only to satisfy the retail cravings of millenials who will happily put a large sum of money on entertainment and a champagne bottle but not on a dice roll.
Phil Ivey is one of the best poker players in the world, but apparently that is not the only card game in which he excels. Recently, Ivey won more than $12 million playing Punto Banco, which is a kind of baccarat. Ivey won big in August 2012 at the Crockfords Casino in London while playing the game, and now the casino operator is refusing to pay up.
Ivey, 38, has 10 World Series of Poker bracelets in his collection, but apparently his skill at cards is not welcome at the Punto Banco tables after he took them for the massive amount. The casino’s parent corporation, Genting, is refusing to pay Ivey because they submit he cheated.
Genting says that Ivey used a form of cheating known as edge sorting. Edge sorting is a form of cheating that is as old as cards themselves. A player who edge sorts keeps an eye out for marks on the cards that tell him what the cards are. These marks occur naturally over time as the cards are handled, and spotting them is a trick that skilled gamblers use to increase their odds of winning.
However, cheating gamblers will purposely mark the cards as they handle them, which is against the law. If Ivey did this, then he did in fact cheat. However, there is no evidence to this point that Genting can prove that Ivey actually marked the cards. If they are unable to prove this, then they will have to pay Ivey the 7.7 million pounds they owe him.
After Ivey won the money, he left the casino with a promise that the money would be wired into his bank account. The casino failed to do this, and they told him they would not pay up. Now, Ivey is suing the casino to get his winnings in the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division.
The cae will come down to whether or not Genting can prove that Ivey cheated when he was playing Punto Blacno at Crawfords Casino. If they are unable to prove this, they will have to pay back the money they owe him. They will also have to pay his court fees and possibly interest.