The answer? Absolutely not. The multi-million dollar poker pro is clearly doing all right, considering he and a friend just fronted the $2.5 million in cash needed to bail out Wei Seng Phua and Darren Phua. The two were tossed in jail after being arrested for running an illegal betting operation at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
We’re serious. For all this talk about online casinos being illegal (and they’re not, considering most are based offshore and licensed internationally by respected gambling licensing bodies) the real trouble seems to be happening live.
Two weeks ago, the FBI shut down an illegal sports betting operation at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. No, we’re not talking about the own casino’s betting operation. That’s perfectly legal and fully licensed. But the shop being operated by the Phuas and other well-known Chinese gambling kingpins? Not so much.
It’s alleged that during the World Cup, the operation took in nearly $645 million in wagers, including a single bet that came in at close to $52 million. The details of the operation remain tight lipped, but it’s clear that the hotel wasn’t actually part of any criminal activity. The hotel suites were being used to accept bets over the phone, over the Internet, or in person, but Caesars was unaware of what was happening.
Ivey has played with Phua in various poker tournaments around the world, including a multi-million dollar tourney in Malta, but it’s not clear how close the two are. So why would Ivey pony up that kind of cash to help out someone he doesn’t know?
It’s possible that Ivey feels that the US government is on a witch-hunt. After taking down the big three Internet poker site, the US government doesn’t exactly hold a favorable opinion among US poker players.
Or, as some are suggesting, Ivey could be involved. The FBI hinted to other poker players being named in the investigation, though I would think if Phil Ivey had been involved, he’d probably shy away from the media.
Anyway, I digress. Back to Phil Ivey not being out of money. He’s not out of money, not just because he’s a great poker player, but also because he’s a great baccarat player. Remember, Ivey won $9 million playing baccarat at Borgata in Atlantic City. They’re suing him, alleging that he cheated the casino out of the cash.
If Borgata wants that back, they better hope that more pros aren’t connected to this and that Phil Ivey doesn’t keep bailing them out.