Casino sues poker star for using "marked" deck

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The Borgata Hotel Casino & Space is suing World Series of Poker star Phil Ivey for nearly $10 million for using what they claim are "imperfect" playing cards that gave Ivey a leg up. Borgata is also going after Gemaco, Inc., makers of the playing cards. From NorthJersey.com:

The suit alleges that the some of the cards made by Gemaco turned out to not have a perfectly symmetrical design on the back of the card. Ivey, the suit claims, was able to figure out what the first card to be dealt was – giving him a significant advantage over the “house,” or casino.

Ivey contacted Borgata officials in April 2012 and sought to play mini-baccarat for up to $50,000 a hand on the $1 million he would wire to the casino, according to the suit. Given Ivey’s high-roller status, the casino agreed to his request that he would be given a private area in which to play as well as provided with a card dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese. The casino also agreed to let Ivey bring a guest to the table as well, to provide one purple deck of Gemaco playing cards for use, and for an automatic card shuffling device to be used.

According to the suit, “The pretext given for some of these requests was that Ivey was superstitious."

"Famed poker star Phil Ivey sued by Borgata for almost $10 million over alleged playing card scam" (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)

Anomia - a fun way to freak out your kid


Carla and I freaked out our 9-year-old daughter Jane when we sat down to play Anomia the other night. That's because we were laughing hysterically. "I've never seen you guys like this before," she said, her eyes wide.

The reason we were laughing was because of the ridiculous answers we were blurting out during Anomia's "face-offs." A face-off occurs when one of the cards you draw from the deck has a symbol that matches the symbol on another player's upturned card. When that happens, you have to shout out an example of the category listed on the opponent's card. Example categories: comic book character, department store, fast food restaurant, occupation, European country, plumber's tool, zoo animal, mobster. If you call out a correct example before the other player, you score a point.

The definition of anomia is "a problem with word finding or recall," and, as you might guess, trying to think of a word when you are under pressure isn't easy. Often, we will say words that have nothing to do with the categories, because our brains have short-circuited. Players tend to scream the answers, which adds to the merriment. The game gets really fun when one or more "cascade" rounds follow a face-off.

Anomia's rules are simple, and we were playing like champs five minutes after tearing the shrink wrap off the box. The instructions say that a round lasts about 30 minutes, but when we play, our rounds last only 15 minutes, so we usually play two rounds. We also observe the optional "no repeat" rule (which means you can't repeat any answer that has already been used).

I'm looking forward to playing this with a larger group.

Anomia