Gossip Column: New Twist in Ivey’s Borgata Dispute Over WSOP Winnings; Bardah Participating in Survivor & More

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  • Attreyee K. Ganguly September 13, 2019
  • 6 Minutes Read

10-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey‘s winnings in the $50K Poker Players Championship (PPC) this year have become a heavily contested matter. Poker pros Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates and Illya Trincher have now jumped in on the debate by claiming that they had staked the poker legend in the PPC event! According to Cates and Trincher, a significant portion of Ivey’s winnings from the tournament belongs to them, and they have even filed an objection in the Nevada Court to collect $87,205 from the $124,410 that the Borgata Hotel and Casino seized last month.

Another WSOP bracelet winner who was in the news recently was Massachusetts-based Ronnie Bardah. The poker pro confirmed on September 9 that he will be participating in the ‘Survivor: Island of the Idols’ TV series which is scheduled to premiere on September 25.

Rounding up this feature is the report of ex-Indiana University basketball player Joe Hillman who has been accused of being involved in an illegal sports gambling operation run by New Palestine-based businessman, Bret A. Wells.

Dan Cates & Illya Trincher Claim Ivey’s 2019 WSOP $50K PPC Winnings Saying They’d Staked Him

The edge-sorting feud that iconic poker pro Phil Ivey has been embroiled in with Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel and Casino has dragged on for more than seven years now. Borgata took Ivey to court over cheating charges, and Ivey who eventually lost the case was directed to cough up $10.1 Million to the casino. Ivey expressed inability to pay up the considerable amount of money, but Borgata wasn’t willing to give up quickly, and it got the case docketed in Nevada so that it could pursue Ivey’s assets in the U.S. state.

Phil Ivey

Last month, the casino got a writ of execution approved from the Nevada court and sought to seize the $124,410 that Ivey had won for his eighth-place finish in the $50,000 WSOP Poker Players Championship (PPC). Complying with the court order, Caesars Entertainment transferred Ivey’s winnings directly to the U.S. Marshals Service.

In a new twist to the tale, two professional poker players Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates and high-stakes cash game player Illya Trincher are claiming that most of Ivey’s winnings in the WSOP tournament belong to them! In fact, the two players claim that they had fully backed Ivey in the event, and had reached a deal with the player that would see the full $50,000 buy-in returned to them if Ivey cashed. Ivey had also promised them 50% of all the profit from the tournament. In total, the duo claimed they were owed $87,205 out of the $124,410 that Ivey won in the event. Cates and Trincher have reportedly filed an objection in the Nevada Court on August 30, on the writ that Borgata has secured from the court for seizing Ivey’s WSOP winnings.

Representing the duo, the Las Vegas law firm Chesnoff and Schonfeld submitted to the court: “Mr. Cates and Mr. Trincher had an existing staking agreement with Mr. Ivey. On or about June 24, 2019, Mr. Cates and Mr. Trincher agreed to provide Mr. Ivey with the full $50,000 buy-in for a World Series of Poker tournament at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, specifically the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (Event #58) on June 24, 2019, in exchange for 50% of the winnings (in addition to the return of our $50,000 principal). On or about June 24, 2019, Mr. Trincher provided Mr. Ivey with said $50,000 for the buy-in pursuant to their existing staking agreement.”

The objection rallies up the point that such staking deals are legal in Nevada. Cates and Trincher also submitted a phone chat log that shows them discussing their plans to fund Ivey’s run in the tournament.

Chat Log Between Dan Cates & Illya Trincher

While Borgata is yet to respond to this latest development, it is clearly not going to be easy for Cates and Trincher to retrieve the money. Borgata could claim that Ivey was aware of its intentions to withhold any winnings from him entering a tournament and he entered the staking arrangement with Cates and Trincher despite this. Moreover, given the wide publicity of the dispute, the Casino can allege that the two backers were aware of the ongoing conflict that could hamper their claim on Ivey`s winnings in the future.

It seems like the feud is far from over, and at this point, it’s hard to predict what may happen. Will Borgata lose its claim Ivey’s earnings? Are Cates and Trincher bluffing to help a fellow poker pro get his winnings back? We will probably have to wait to know more.

Ronnie Bardah Confirms His Participation in ‘Survivor: Island of the Idols’ TV Show

The poker circles have been buzzing with rumors that WSOP bracelet winner Ronnie Bardah could be participating in the ‘Survivor: Island of the Idols’ TV show since May this year. Well, turns out the gossip was true after all.

Ronnie Bardah

Bardah recently confirmed his participation in the TV show on Twitter.

The 36-year-old was selected as one of 20 cast members for the latest season of the CBS reality game show Survivor. This is Season 39 of the popular show, which will see Bardah and his castmates inhabit the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji for the series. The 90-minute season premiere is on September 25.

Bardah won’t be the first poker player to appear in this reality TV series. Poker pros Jean-Robert Bellande, Garrett Adelstein, and Anna Khait have all been contestants of the TV show in the past.

Additionally, Ilari ‘Zigmund’ Sahamies has competed on the Finnish version of the show, while bracelet winner Jackie Glazier was on the Australian version.

Former IU Basketball Player Joe Hillman Allegedly Embroiled in Gambling Ring

Former Indiana University basketball player Joe Hillman found himself in quite a soup when court documents with the Hancock County Prosecutor accused him of being involved in an illegal sports gambling operation.

Joe Hillman

The 6 feet 2-inch former player has been named in a possible cause document linked to an inquiry into the illegal gambling operations run by Bret A. Wells, a businessman based out of New Palestine, Indiana.

From what has been stated in the court documents, it seems that a former business partner of Wells turned informant for the police and told officers that Wells operated the sports gambling business from his office and had taken in more than $17 Million from 176,000 bets since early 2016. Given the fact that gambling is illegal in Indiana, it is quite scandalous that Hillman has found himself embroiled in such a racket.

A probable cause affidavit provides details of an investigation by officers with the IGC, with assistance from the state police and IRS. The affidavit cites numerous text messages in which bettors placed wagers with Wells on everything from boxing matches, to a football game.

According to the affidavit, Hillman is one of seven “agents” who collected money for Wells across about eight counties in Central Indiana. Wells’ former business partner, who is not named in the affidavit, said Wells paid the agents 20% of the loses from gamblers.

Investigators observed Wells meeting outside Hillman’s Mass Mutual office on the Indianapolis north side in November of 2018. According to the affidavit, “A male, white, identified as Joe Hillman came out of the business and handed Wells a white envelope through Wells’ truck window.” A few weeks later, another meeting between Hillman and Wells took place, this one videotaped.

Though Hillman has not been charged with any crimes yet, he was detected in surveillance conducted by officials with the Indiana Gaming Control (IGC) who were watching Wells. The authorities have charged Wells with a variety of offenses, including corrupt business influence and illegal gambling. He is presently out on bail with a court hearing scheduled sometime in November and a trial date next February.

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