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There is Something Rotten About Phil Ivey Lawsuit

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Jun/03/2011
Phil Ivey Lawsuit

Hamlet once lamented that, "There's something rotten in Denmark."

He could have just as easily been talking about present-day Las Vegas.

The revelation this week that poker pro Phil "Poison" Ivey has filed a lawsuit in Vegas against online poker room Full Tilt Poker--and the early response to it from Full Tilt--raise a number of issues and some of them don't quite smell right.

For example:

HOW MUCH IS IVEY SUING FOR?

Gambling911.com has seen the lawsuit and can reveal that Ivey is suing Full Tilt Poker for an eye-popping $150 million! Is that what Ivey, a paid flack for the room (and rumored part-owner), really thinks he would have made from his flacking deal and ownership stake had FTP not run into legal troubles with the U.S. Feds? Or is that just a starting point for an expected out-of-court negotiated settlement that may net half that amount?

DOES IVEY OWE MONEY TO FULL TILT POKER? IF SO, FOR WHAT?

Full Tilt says so. In their public response to the lawsuit, the online room claims the suit is frivolous and that Ivey actually owes them money, though they don't say how much or for what. So why would Ivey owe money to an online poker room, especially one that pays him flacking fees and, presumably, stock dividends? The only plausible answer is that Ivey, who had to play online at FTP for real money as part of his flacking deal, was playing on credit and lost big and won't pay his debts.

WHY DID IVEY SUE FTP IN LAS VEGAS?

That could be the first--and last--mistake of the lawsuit. Full Tilt Poker is based in Alderney, an island in the Channel Islands off the coast of the United Kingdom. It's a protectorate of but not a part of the U.K. If Ivey is suing a company he should sue them in the jurisdiction where the company is based, not where he's based. This blunder will likely get the suit thrown out pronto.

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER POKER PRO CO-OWNERS?

A number of other top poker pros, including Howard "The Professor" Lederer, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Jen Harman, Andy Bloch and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow are said to also be secret co-owners of Full Tilt Poker (Lederer is for sure, because when fellow poker pro and room flack Clonie Gowen sued FTP a few years ago over money issues, Lederer publicly made a settlement offer to her). But so far, there's been no comments from any of them on the Ivey suit, which none of them are part of. For now. But with poker pros being the greedy slugs they are, if any of the alleged co-owners find themselves stiffed out of owed monies, expect them to sue also.

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH IVEY'S ATTORNEY IN THIS LAWSUIT?

The attorney is noted Las Vegas lawyer David Chesnoff. If the name sound familiar, it's because he's the same lawyer who represented Iranian poker pro Sean "Poker Pervert" Sheikhan when U.S. Feds unsuccessfully tried to deport the disgraced ex-con pro a few years back. When Gambling911.com reported on the deportation attempt and revealed Sheikhan had served time 10 years earlier in California for "rape," Chesnoff threatened Gambling911.com with legal action until the story was corrected. The charge wasn't rape, it was sexual assault (on two underage girls).

WHAT'S WITH ALL THESE ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING GAMBLING FIGURES AND SEX OFFENDERS?

It is a weird coincidence. Or maybe it's a trend. Or just business as usual. Noted gambler Phil Ivey hires a noted attorney who also handled a noted figure once accused of sexual assault. Also in the news recently was Ben Brafman, another noted attorney who handled noted gambler Jay Cohen in his trial for Internet bookmaking and who was recently hired by noted financier and former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, accused last month of sexually assaulting a hotel maid.

WHY IS IVEY SITTING OUT THE WORLD SERIES OF POKER THIS YEAR?

In announcing his lawsuit, Ivey also declared he won't be playing in this year's WSOP, which began Tuesday. He said the reason was in support of all the poker players who couldn't afford to enter the WSOP this year because of funds frozen in connection with the FTP bust last month. Yeah, right. Ivey isn't playing at the WSOP this year because he's contractually obligated to wear FTP logos on his clothing if he plays the WSOP, and he doesn't want to wear their patches while he's suing them.

By Tom Somach

Gambling911.com Staff Writer

tomsomach@yahoo.com

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