Phil Ivey is taking legal action against Crockfords Casino in Mayfair for allegedly withholding money he won playing punto banco last August. The American poker ace is believed to be the world’s sixth-highest earner from punto banco tournaments, amassing winnings of $14.6m (£9m).
Ivey said he was “deeply saddened” to file a writ at the High Court but he had been left with no alternative. He continued: “Over the years, I have won and lost substantial sums at Crockfords and I have always honoured my commitments.
“At the time, I was given a receipt for my winnings but Crockfords subsequently withheld payment. I therefore feel I have no alternative but to take legal action.”
Ivey who is 35, was with a female companion last August when he started a winning run at the table and over two days of gaming, he is thought to have ended his first night £2.3m ahead, rising to £7.3m by the end of the second night. But bosses as the casino which is owned by gaming giant Genting, allegedly withheld his winnings and opened an investigation.
The Independent understands that investigators have flown to London from Kuala Lumpur to interview staff – including a croupier working on the nights Mr Ivey played – and to review surveillance video footage and examine the cards used.
Mr Ivey’s lawyer, Matthew Dowd of Archerfield Partners, said: “It is with great regret that Phil has been forced to issue court proceedings against Crockfords to secure payment of his winnings.”