Edge Sorting

What is the “Edge Sorting” that Cost Phil Ivey $10 million?

Baccarat is a famous card game that appeared in the James Bond and Frank Sinatra movies. Although card games are based on skill, baccarat is based only on luck and there is no strategy in it! The house edge in this game is 1%, but it is a high stakes game and is very similar to tossing a coin.

The game begins when the dealer deals two cards to the banker’s hand and two cards to the player's hand. Then the player predicts the hand that has a value of 9 or the number closest to that number. If the player's prediction comes true, he will take his bet back and get the win.

How did Phil Ivey do his trick?

In fact, Phil Ivey, the world's most famous poker champion, found a cool trick to make millions from this game, but it turns out that this trick is not legal!

In the summer of 2021, Ivey played in the casinos of Britain and New Jersey and made huge profits. During 4 visits to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, he collected nearly $9.5 million. Also, at a two-day baccarat party at Crockfords in London, he earned more than $10 million.

Although the casinos can offer the player such exorbitant profits, they will investigate the legality of obtaining them later. If the casino proves that the player obtained them as a result of fraud, they will file a lawsuit to the court to recover this profit again.

How did the Casinos Discover this Trick?

Indeed, the casinos discovered that Ivey used a trick called “Edge Sorting”. This trick enabled him to predict the value of the cards from the pattern on the back of the cards. Casinos have argued that this is cheating. In fact, Ivey admitted that he used this technique but insisted that it does not violate the laws or the casino's terms!

As the pattern on the back of the cards can be the same or different. So, the players can’t predict the exact card value which creates more risk!

However, the New Jersey Federal Court and the Borgata Court verdict that the casinos were entitled to recoup Effie's winnings! The judges' verdict state that the casinos should refuse to pay their winnings in the first place! Because what he did is “a planned trick”.

These verdicts closed the record of the 40-year-old American. Who has won the World Series of Poker Bracelets 10 times. And known as “Michael Jordan” and “Tiger Woods” of the poker world.

Ivey’s Comment on the Verdict

“When I played at Crockfords I thought it was a legal way to gain an advantage,” Evie told the Associated Press.

Ivey then issued a statement saying: “There is no rationale behind the UK Supreme Court verdict against me; I am a prof player who has won the poker tournament 10 times and has not practised theft or fraud. Edge Sorting is only used by prof players … This is how experienced gamblers like me play, so I feel the law is standing with the casinos at the expense of the players”.

What is the “Edge Sorting” Trick?

Indeed, the “Edge Sorting” strategy used by Ivey is complex and esoteric. By this strategy, players can learn cards value by identifying the nuances of the patterns that appear on the backs of the cards.

In fact, the companies that manufacture playing cards in large casinos are well known. So, it is easy for prof players who spend hundreds of hours playing to identify these patterns easily!

Most people can think that flip cards are indistinguishable. In fact, it takes careful observation, sharp vision, and hard training to distinguish these cards. Moreover, casinos will be able to recognize players who are applying this strategy from the way they look at the cards. Exactly as casinos can find out which players use the card counting strategy in blackjack.

When making cards, sharp machines cut them, so the edges of the cards have a different pattern. The court said that the pattern was “sub-millimetre”! While a non gamstop poker player with a sharp sight could easily identify these edges even before he drew a new card from the dealer's shoe.

Since the player does not have enough time to check all the cards. They can ask the dealer to “sort the cards”. So, the player will know the direction of the high cards and the direction of the low cards, hence the term “Edge Sorting”.

Conclusion

Although players can apply a lot of tricks in traditional casinos such as card counting, edge sorting and betting on biased roulette wheels. These tricks cannot be applied in online casinos not on gamstop! This is because they use Random Number Generators (RNGs) which are unpredictable.

See also Player's case with Betfair