Many people only really became aware of what the term “edge sorting” actually refers to after skanky Poker-player Phil Ivey managed to scam a casino out of millions by employing the cheating tactic playing Baccarat.
Not only did Ivey and partner-in-crime Cheung Yin Sun scam the Borgata in Atlantic City out of millions, but they during that same year, 2012, nearly succeeded at doing the same to Genting’s Crockfords Casino in London, England.
But even though most people vaguely familiar with Baccarat and its high-stakes nature would agree that since the game is a lot like a glorified toss of the coin (unlike games of skill such as Blackjack and Poker), edge sorting was probably Ivey’s best bet at conning the Baccarat-house, even if not necessarily approving of his and Sun’s actions, few people realise that edge sorting isn’t a piece of foolery restricted to Baccarat only.
How It Works
In order to understand why edge sorting can be applied to nearly any table game on the casino floor, one must first understand what it is and how it works. The edge sorting-player basically observes the (natural) irregularities found on the back of playing cards. This is typically caused by irregular cutting patters, and in many cases even flaws caused by long-term use.
And so, edge sorting, in its simplest form, basically refers to a player exploiting certain “faults” by using the knowledge gained from those “faults” to his or her advantage. Needless to say, given a sharp eye for detail, edge sorting isn’t exactly rocket science.
Games That Qualify
When considering the above, it becomes clear that edge sorting can be applied to any game in which certain “groups” of cards have more value (whether stand-alone or combined) that certain other groups of cards – with Blackjack being a prime example.
An experienced edge sorter will not only be able to deduct significant information about the possible nature of the dealer’s hole card, but also about those cards that are to follow. Players have been known to gain advantages of more than 18% over the house simply by keeping track of things like markings, manufacturers’ faults, issues of asymmetry, faded edges, etc.
In order to successfully engage in and benefit from edge sorting, the following conditions must first be present:
- Edge sorting is only valuable when playing a game where the back of one or more cards can be viewed before such time as the player is prompted to make a decision.
- The shuffling is done in such a way that the deck of cards is at no point physically “turned” around.
- Edge sorting typically only works in the event of casino staff being ignorant of how it works (which is thankfully not all that common anymore – no doubt in part thanks to Ivey).
Even though many would argue that edge sorting is essentially the fault of the manufacturer, its important to remember that engaging in edge sorting is illegal. What this means is that casinos can now sue players found guilty of having engaged in the activity.