November 17, 2021
Ever since the first land-based casino opened its doors centuries ago, players have been inventing ways to bring down the house. A good example is Edward Thorp, who invented card counting for blackjack in the 1960s.
But that’s not the only working strategy out there. Players, most notably the scandalous Phil Ivey, have used edge sorting strategy to win big playing baccarat.
So, what exactly is edge sorting? Is it a legal gambling strategy to use at the best casinos online? For answers to these and many other queries, keep reading!
Edge sorting is a cheeky gambling strategy where players distinguish cards on the table based on irregularities on the back print. You still don’t get it, right? Well, edge sorting is where players observe any natural irregularities at the back of the card and use the defects to their advantage. This technique is primarily used in baccarat, although blackjack and poker players can benefit from it too.
For many card players, one facedown card is strikingly similar to another. But professional edge sorters beg to differ. With acute vision and enough table experience under your belt, telling the cards apart by merely looking at their reverse sides is a cakewalk.
Yes, it’s possible. Sometimes during the card manufacturing process, the cards are cut to reveal slightly more patterns on the edges. While this difference can be challenging to spot, a hawk-eye player can distinguish the card edges facing them. So now you know why cards rarely go more than one round at the casino.
Despite the clear challenges of dealing with this card strategy, edge sorting gives you a significant advantage over the live casino. This advantage can be almost 7%. Now this means every $100 wager can give you a $7 return.
While this looks small, high rollers relish the chance of using this strategy. For example, if you bet $500 per hand, this translates to $35 extra. Suppose you play 50 hands per hour, it means you can make $1,750 extra.
Overall, edge sorting can comfortably fund your lifestyle, although you’ll need a significant bankroll to live of it. Also, maintaining a low profile at the casino becomes near-impossible due to your frequent wins. And you know what casinos do to notorious winners.
Usually, casinos regard the edge sorting strategy as blatant cheating. But on the other hand, many casino players consider it as a legitimate advantage play. After all, the players don’t manufacture the table game cards, do they?
After Phil Ivey and his partner, Cheung Yin Sun, won $9.6 million at the Borgata casino playing baccarat, the casino sued them in 2014, citing cheating allegations. As a result, a Federal Judge ruled in 2016 that the players refund the casino $10 million.
Interestingly, the US District Judge, Noel Hillman, ruled that the players didn’t commit any fraud. Instead, he found that the players went against the casino rules that prohibit the marking of cards. While they didn’t do anything as such physically, the players used tiny card imperfections to their advantage.
In an exciting turn of events, Crockfords casino in the UK denied Phil his $11 million winnings from a 2012 session. He sued them but lost again in the UK High Court after a judge classified edge sorting as “cheating.”
Critically, it was pointed out that the case would have turned out differently if Phil had spotted the cards via simple observation instead of deliberately fixing the deck.
All said, edge sorting is a legal strategy, although this might depend on the casino. But even if you can do it at the casino, don’t overstretch your luck, as house rules always apply.
So, only use this strategy to eke out frequent small wins rather than looking to send the casino to the cleaners. Remember, there are hundreds of more straightforward and legal strategies out there.