Gambling across borders

A blog about the productive life of risk

Will the house win again?

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In a casino, the house always wins and players are bound to lose in the long run, unless they’re cheating or counting cards at blackjacks. I was repeatedly told this by gamblers since I did fieldwork research in London’s casinos in 2007 and 2008. Spending hours in their company and watching them play I could see by myself that winnings indeed never lasted long and were most of the time spent frivolously or recycled as stakes . So evidently any gambler who strikes unusually lucky, like winning £7.3 million in one night at Punto Banco, becomes the object of suspicion. Luck in a casino is not meant to make the punter walk away with the house revenue and make the casino bankrupt. When Phil Ivey a famous poker player hit such a jackpot at the high-end London casino Crockfords in August 2012, they would not, of course, let him disappear with the money. So far the casino is still winning. But Phil Ivey is determined to challenge this status quo and has filed a lawsuit against Crockfords, which is owned by the Malaysian Genting group. Phil Ivey is motivated by an unfair reciprocity: why did the casino not honour its commitments to him when he always did, losing many times huge amounts of cash to the casinos? The question is: will the house still win even in court?


Written by Claire Loussouarn

May 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

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