Phil Ivey Backers File Objection to WSOP Prize Garnishment

  • Elite poker pros Cates and Trincher claim to have backed Phil Ivey's WSOP 2019 play
  • The two deem that $87,205 of more than $124,410 won by Ivey at the event is theirs
  • They have submitted a chat that "evidences" their $50,000 buy-in stake
phil ivey playing poker
Poker pros Daniel Cates and Illya Trincher filed an objection in the Nevada garnishment of Phil Ivey’s 2019 WSOP winnings, claiming $87,205 to be theirs. [Image: https://twitter.com/philivey]

Cates, Trincher seek share of winnings

New Jersey’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa will face a new legal challenge in its garnishment of more than $124,000 won by Ivey at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP). Elite poker pros Daniel “Jungleman” Cates and Illya Trincher have filed an objection, claiming they are “the rightful and legal owners” of $87,205 of Ivey’s total winnings.  

The objection was filed in the US District Court of Nevada case regarding the garnishment on August 30. Cates and Trincher assert they had an ongoing backing relationship with Ivey and paid the entire $50,000 entry for his WSOP Poker Players Championship event. Ivey finished eighth in that tourney to earn the six-figure payout.

“the rightful and legal owners” of $87,205 of Ivey’s total winnings

Under the terms of the deal asserted by all three pros in case exhibits, Cates and Trincher were to get back the $50,000 if Ivey cashed in the PPC. Additional winnings were then to be split 50-50 between Ivey and the two backers.

Textual evidence presented

As part of their objection, Cates and Trincher submitted a text message exchange that ran from June 6 to June 24, 2019. In the chat, they discussed backing Ivey in the $50,000 PPC as part of what turned out to be a total of $100,000 backing Ivey in WSOP events.

“…On or about June 24, 2019, at approximately 4:04 pm,” the objection asserts, “Mr Trincher sent a message to Mr Cates which stated that Trincher ‘Gave Phil 100 for tournament total so far (50 for today).'” It also claims that the chat “evidences” the “full $50,000 buy-in pursuant to the terms of their existing staking agreement.”

In February, Counsel for the Borgata won approval from a New Jersey court to pursue any Ivey assets identified in Nevada. However, the company did not file any actual garnishment claims until it learned, around June 27, that Ivey was in position for a large payday in the WSOP PPC event.

High-powered legal representation

Cates’ and Trincher’s objection to the Borgata garnishment was filed by prominent Las Vegas attorney Richard A. Schonfeld of the celebrity Las Vegas legal firm Chesnoff and Schonfeld. The firm maintains an A-list clientele and has defended dozens of prominent poker players and gamblers while specializing in various aspects of gambling law.

Firm partner David Chesnoff has represented Phil Ivey in other matters. In 2011 Ivey, then a part-owner of the US-seized Full Tilt Poker, sued other Full Tilt owners for $150 million over “loss of reputation”. The claims were eventually dropped, and evidence later emerged that Ivey had borrowed over $10 million from the site while appearing to pay back only half that amount.