Baccarat might be a high-end casino game but the edge-sorting strategy that countless top gamblers have used to scam millions from unwitting casinos is actually fairly simple.
And, if you’re a devoted baccarat player or have heard about the edge-sorting baccarat strategy before, chances are you want to give learning it a go – after all, what’s more tempting than increasing your winning probability while playing?
Well, if you want to learn all there is to know about edge-sorting in baccarat, you’re at the right place—this article is going to cover it all, so dive right in.
What is Edge Sorting?
Edge sorting is a strategy that determines whether a face-down card is going to be low or high at a casino table game by monitoring, understanding, and taking advantage of the details on the backs of the cards.
Specifically, the way edge-sorting baccarat strategy works is through the design on the back of certain card decks, which have very tiny differences that prevent them from being entirely symmetrical when flipped 180 degrees.
If you get to know these ahead of time by studying different types of playing cards, or if you’re particularly skilled and can spot them during a game, you’ve mastered edge-sorting.
For example,you can ask the dealer to rotate favourable face-up cards so that you can see the cards that have been rotated when they are face down. Therefore, you can notice if a face-down card is one you memorized or not.
Obviously, a player who knows what cards are in front of them before they are turned over has a significant advantage over the casino. The challenge is to avoid raising suspicions by being greedy and playing frequently, which is much easier said than done after you’ve finally got the casino in your pocket!
How Does the Edge Sorting Strategy Work in Baccarat?
For edge sorting to work, a faulty deck of cards is required (i.e., cards with slightly differing patterns or cuts) as well as a sharp mind and pair of eyes.
Basically, instead of a normal design and border on the backside, several decks feature a sequence of circles or diamonds. The cards aren’t perfectly symmetrical when they’re cut, with one side showing the entire circle or diamond and the other only half the shape.
That said, simply observing the pattern change is insufficient, as you must also do the actual sorting. However, considering that you can’t just search through cards at a casino, this technique must be practiced with a keen eye or through the use of sneaky requests and tactics.
Examples of an Imperfect Card
Wondering what an imperfect card is exactly?
Take a good look at this playing card; you’ll see that the left and right sides, particularly the corners, are not precisely symmetrical. A top edge sorter may take advantage of this by identifying which cards are the right way up and which are upside down in the deck.
Want to learn about other ways to get the upper hand when gambling? Check out our guide on the best tips to beat the house edge!
6 Tips to Win Using the Edge-Sorting Strategy
As a player, you need more than practice to successfully practice edge-sorting in baccarat. Here are our top tips:
- Don’t be greedy; play till your advantage over the house has paid off, then switch things up and move on to different games.
- In your rotation requests, be subtle yet inventive. Never ask the dealer to turn certain cards around, as this is illogical and will cause suspicion. Tell the dealer, for example, that the six of hearts is your lucky card and that you’d want to examine it more closely.
- Before you begin playing, find out the brand of playing card the casino is using and study the cards. As a memory of your stay, ask for a complimentary pack of cards.
- Look for a dealer that is new to the game. A charismatic gambler may transform an inexperienced dealer into putty in his hands; they will be eager to please and will likely comply with any fair request. It’s all about how you convey the message.
- In baccarat, some casinos allow you to touch the cards – this is your golden ticket. Make it a practice to kiss the cards for “good luck”. No one will look too carefully, and they won’t notice if you rotate the card 180 degrees.
- Play at a baccarat table that employs the “squeeze” strategy, in which the dealer progressively pulls the card’s edges up to expose the card. This will allow you to have a much closer look at the cards’ edges in order to figure out where their flaws are.
6 Tips to Protect Your Casino from Edge-Sorting
Meanwhile, here are the 6 best tips you can take advantage of to protect your casino from the edge-sorting strategy and players who are looking to take advantage of it:
- Make sure your casino has a no-touching rule in place at the baccarat table to reduce the risk of an edge sorter taking advantage of it.
- Keep a watch out for players who make strange demands or who get unusually friendly with the dealers. They might be on a charm offensive to persuade the croupier to comply with any unexpected requests.
- Ensure that your croupiers are aware of what edge sorting is. It will take only a few minutes to explain edge sorting and what to watch for, but it might make an extraordinarily important difference.
- Be on the lookout for high rollers who may be using this strategy. To avoid being spotted, some of the greatest players who employ edge-sorting only do it on rare occasions. Keep track of top players by exchanging data with other casinos to check if any players are earning more than they should be by chance.
- Accept no unexpected demands from players. Obviously, being a casino, you’ll go out of your way to accommodate your players’ requests but just make sure your dealers are clear about what they can and can’t do with the cards.
- Use decks that do not have any patterns on the back. Producing packs of cards with precisely flawless patterning on the back is quite expensive and in fact, you must have them custom made. It’s easier to just choose brands with no design at all.
FAQ on Edge-Sorting
#1. Is edge-sorting illegal?
Edge sorting isn’t officially illegal, despite the fact that the borders are unclear as to whether it’s a way of cheating. The majority of laws specify that cheating must include some form of disrupting the game, which means that, technically, edge-sorting isn’t illegal.
#2. Is edge-sorting still possible in baccarat?
Given that casinos take as many measures as possible to prevent any sort of cheating, such as edge-sorting in baccarat or card-counting in blackjack, practicing edge-sorting is quite difficult, however it’s not impossible.
#3. How did edge-sorting become popular?
Edge sorting became popular when Phil Ivey was accused of applying it during high-stakes baccarat games in Atlantic City and London in 2012.
He made $9.6 million during four visits to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in New Jersey, followed by a four-day baccarat spree at Crockfords in London, where he made nearly $10 million. When the casinos looked into these huge winnings, they accused him of cheating, but Ivey admitted to using the tactic and claimed it was legit.
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COO & Baccarat Expert
Joseph Kerney is our COO and baccarat expert. Joseph has worked in the online gambling industry for over a decade as an affiliate before joining our team.