Who? Ryan Mowat, 39, dispute resolution partner at London firm Kingsley Napley.
Why is he in the news? Acted for Mayfair casino Crockfords against US poker superstar Phil Ivey in what is widely regarded as the biggest legal battle in UK casino history.
Crockfords successfully defended Ivey’s claim for purported winnings of £7.8m on the basis that he cheated while playing a version of Baccarat.
Although the odds are always stacked in a casino’s favour, Ivey and a friend managed consistently to win hands at Punto Banco by ‘edge-sorting’. This technique involves spotting small differences in the pattern on the reverse of the playing cards and, by doing so, identifying the value of the cards about to be dealt by the croupier.
Ivey maintained that ‘edge-sorting’ is a legitimate way to play, but Crockfords disputed this and refused to pay. Ivey sued for his winnings, but lost in the High Court, with Mr Justice Mitting dismissing the case with costs.
A spokesman for Ivey said: ‘I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy. Clearly, today the judge did not agree.’
Thoughts on the case: ‘This is the first case of cheating under civil law in the UK and the first time that the cheating section of the new Gambling Act has been tested in court, so there will be consequences for the casino industry. The case will also provide a guide in the UK and internationally regarding the line between cheating and what is known in the casino industry as advantage play [finding a legal way to improve the odds in favour of the player].’
Career high: ‘Winning a contentious trusts trial for a mother who had been deceived into transferring her assets to her children. My client was elderly, barely spoke English and had been taken advantage of by her children after her husband’s death. I was shocked at the way her children had treated her and felt under pressure to achieve a just outcome after her ordeal. It is difficult not to get personally involved in that type of case.’
Career low: ‘My first appearance as an advocate in a county court. I was dreadful.’