Have you heard about the Phil Ivey case and now looking for a simple answer to what edge sorting is? Then, you've come to the right place! At Kong Casino, as well as providing amazing casino games themselves, we also provide our readers with all the information related to online casinos, and today the topic we're going to address is edge sorting.
Edge sorting tends to be more commonly associated with Baccarat; however, it's been wrongly associated with card counting, as edge sorting is an entirely different concept. Casinos aren't too big on players using this technique, and if a casino sees you using it, you could be banned permanently. So, what is edge sorting & is it cheating? How does it work? Keep reading to find out all you need to know!
What is Edge Sorting?
The simple answer to 'what is edge sorting?' is that it's an advantage play technique in which players use the imperfections on the backside of cards to identify certain cards. This can give players an edge over the casino they otherwise wouldn't have. Edge sorting is mainly associated with Baccarat and Blackjack.
A defective card (cards with slightly varying patterns or cuts) is required for edge sorting. It also requires a great eye to recognize which cards have varying patterns or cuts on the backside.
Edge sorting is possible because many card decks use a series of diamonds/circles on their back. When these cards are cut, they aren't 100% symmetrical. For example, one side of the card may show a full diamond/circle while the other shows only half. However, figuring out these potential differences is only half of the task. The other half is how to potentially sort them, which is no easy feat.
By rotating a card in a specific way, you may be able to distinguish two cards from one another. However, doing this in casinos is not realistic, as you would need the dealer to rotate the cards in a certain way, and this is highly unlikely to happen.
How does Edge Sorting Work?
Now that you have an answer to what edge sorting is, let's discuss how it works. The first and perhaps most important thing required for edge sorting, is a casino where such cards are being used. Finding such a casino may be hard as most manufacturers try their best to avoid making such mistakes in their decks. However, it can occasionally still happen.
If a player were to locate a casino with such decks, they could perhaps try edge sorting. It typically works best in a variation of Baccarat known as Punto Banco. In this game, you could potentially have a significant advantage if you can somehow identify face cards from the regular cards. While playing, you could attempt to ask the dealer to rotate the face cards, but they are highly unlikely to comply with this due to the possibility of edge sorting. Therefore, the dealer will probably not indulge your request.
Hypothetically, if the dealer were to comply then, when the shoe is out, all the cards would be rotated in a particular way (low cards rotated one way and high cards rotated in the opposite direction). This would mean that you could potentially spot the high cards from the low ones and bet on them.
One thing to remember is that for edge sorting to work; you'll require the casino to use an automatic card shuffler (most casinos use them). If the dealer shuffles the deck manually, the entire setup may be spoiled.
As you can see, edge sorting is no joke and it's not an easy task. You would have to be super observant and extremely careful. Edge sorting may potentially be an option in some land-based casinos; however, this would be rare. Online casino games are cut from a different cloth and edge sorting is next to impossible.
How Phil Ivey Used Edge Sorting
Phil Ivey was accused of using edge sorting to win $9.6 million from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in New Jersey. Ivey followed this up with a Baccarat binge in Crockfords, London, where he made around $10 million.
These casinos inspected these wins and said that Phil Ivey was cheating. Ivey admitted to using edge sorting, but claimed it was not illegal to do so. Then, in 2012, Ivey won over $9.6 million at Crockfords; however, the casino refused to pay him as it was discovered Ivey and his accomplice used edge sorting in these sessions.
They did this by using a deck with a white-circle pattern on the back. Plus, they asked for a shuffling machine and made a very strange request - they had the dealer rotate all sevens through nines (most valuable baccarat cards) when they first came out of the shoe. The dealers indulged his request, mainly because Ivey was known for being a high-roller.
When Ivey was denied his winnings, he took them to court, but the court ruled in favour of the casino. The courts didn't say Ivey cheated; they just ruled that he had no proper claim to this money. Later, the other casinos Ivey won from took him to court too, and ended up winning in 2018. Ivey just made sure his New Jersey bank accounts were empty by then! Phil Ivey remains one of the richest casino players in the world, but most of his money is located in non-US banks.
Does Edge Sorting Still Work?
Edge sorting can still work given a few conditions are met. Firstly, you must be playing at a land-based casino. Secondly, the card deck should have certain faults in the patterns that can potentially help you identify the higher cards from the lower ones.
You'd need incredible eyesight and great attention to detail. Not only that, you'd also have to be extremely deceptive so that the dealer rotates the cards the way you want and you don't get caught!
Overall, edge sorting is not something that is likely to be accomplished in this day and age with casinos knowing about such techniques and enforcing various rules and regulations to combat them.
Is Edge Sorting Cheating?
So, is edge sorting cheating? Years ago, no one could really say for sure as it was considered a grey area. However, casinos no longer allow edge sorting and view it as a form of cheating, very similar to counting cards.
Casinos do have the right to refuse service to anyone, but technically edge sorting is not considered illegal, as it is a skill where the player must have good attention to detail and knowledge around whether or not a specific card may be good or bad for them.
The main argument is that in edge sorting, cards are not manipulated. For example, players are not physically marking the cards. Therefore, many may say that Phil Ivey should be considered an advantage player, rather than a cheater.
Unfortunately, the courts disagree with this and gaming officials now consider edge sorting a form of cheating.
Can You Edge Sort in Blackjack?
Wondering if you use edge sorting in Blackjack? Well, it might help you, and statistics have shown that it can help you gain an edge of more than 18%! Furthermore, if you use edge sorting the right way in Blackjack, you could potentially identify the card that is dealt. You may even be able to tell if the next card is a 10 or an Ace, which could be most helpful when playing Blackjack.
However, you can't use edge sorting in online Blackjack games, and if you get caught using edge sorting in land-based casinos, you'll most likely be banned.