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I just want to discuss further for this TRICK that done by Phil Ivey

from previous thread


What is edge sorting?


Phil Ivey...probably the best poker player in the world even uses Edge Sorting when playing Baccarat.

He made millions from it!

I say good for him!



Edge sorting is a technique used in advantage gambling where a player determines whether a face-down playing card is likely to be low or high at casino table games by observing and exploiting subtle unintentional differences on the backs of some types of card, after persuading a croupier to cooperate by unwittingly sorting the cards into low and high. Some packs of cards produced by some manufacturers have an unintentional regularity. Typically all the backs of the cards in such a pack are identical, but the two long edges of each card are consistently distinguishable: the pattern is not symmetrical to a 180° rotation (half a full turn). During the course of a game, a player will ask the dealer, a casino employee, to rotate some face-up cards, perhaps saying they feel it will bring them luck. The dealer does not realise that cards are being turned so that low cards, typically, 6, 7, 8, or 9 are one way round, high cards the other way round, and that the edges are different. The dealer is also asked to shuffle the cards with an automatic shuffler, which does not change the orientation as a manual shuffle may do. The dealer is not obliged to comply with these requests, but will usually do so if thought to be due to gamblers' superstition or mistrust. Over the course of a game, low cards will tend to be oriented one way, high cards the other. Once a significant proportion of cards have been rotated, any player who knows this can gain a statistical edge more than outweighing house edge by using the knowledge whether the card to be turned is likely to be low or high.

A UK High Court judgement ruled that the technique, which requires the player to trick the croupier into rotating cards, is cheating in civil law, and that a casino was justified in refusing payment of winnings; this ruling would not be applicable if the player simply took advantage of an observed error or anomaly for which he was not responsible in, say, the backs of the cards.


Casinos usually regard this technique as cheating; many players consider that they are legitimately playing to gain an advantage.

In 2012 poker player Phil Ivey won US$9.6 million playing baccarat at the Borgata casino with partner Cheng Yin Sun. In April 2014 the Borgata filed a lawsuit against Ivey for his winnings.

Later in 2012 he was reported to have won £7.7 million (approx. $11 million) playing punto banco, a version of baccarat, at Crockford's casino in London. Crockford's refunded his £1 million stake and agreed to send him his winnings, but ultimately refused payment. Ivey sued them for payment, but lost in the UK High Court; it was judged that the edge counting was "cheating for the purpose of civil law".It was accepted that Mr Ivey and others genuinely considered that edge sorting was not cheating, and deemed immaterial that the casino could easily have protected itself. Critically, the judgement pointed out that Ivey had gained an advantage by actively using a croupier as his innocent agent, rather than taking advantage of an error or anomaly on the casino's part.

'I read the cards but I'm no cheat':

A gambler who is suing Britain’s oldest casino for withholding his £7.8 million payout has admitted he did win the cash by ‘reading’ the cards.

Phil Ivey, dubbed the Tiger Woods of poker, says he used a legitimate technique called ‘edge sorting’ to identify cards during a game of punto banco, a type of baccarat based purely on luck. But he vehemently denies cheating.

However, Mayfair club Crockfords believes he ‘operated a scam’ and claims he ‘acted to defeat the essential premise of the game’ – and is refusing to hand over his winnings.

Mr Ivey – a professional American poker player – is suing the casino in the High Court and the case, the biggest legal battle in casino history, is due to be heard later this year.

In May, The Mail on Sunday reported details of Mr Ivey’s win – and revealed that the casino had not paid out because it believed he had been reading the cards.

In his court submission – seen by The Mail on Sunday – multi-millionaire Mr Ivey, 37 admits to being an ‘advantage player’ – someone who uses legal ways to gain a mathematical advantage over the casino.

Playing punto banco over two nights in August last year, Mr Ivey says he was able to exploit tiny flaws in the design of the cards – asymmetrical pattern differences on the rear that are the result of mistakes made during the manufacturing process.

It was well known in the industry around this time, according to Mr Ivey’s claim, that players might be able to use imperfectly cut cards to their advantage.

Because of this, the claim adds, the casino should have thoroughly checked them before use.

On his visit to Crockfords, Mr Ivey was accompanied by a Chinese associate known as Kelly, who was adept at ‘identifying the design flaws’.

Mr Ivey’s claim says: ‘During the second session on August 20 [Mr Ivey] made various requests for decks of cards to be changed at the end of hands with which [Crockfords] chose to comply.

This continued until Kelly identified a deck or decks of cards where the pattern on the reverse side of the cards was asymmetrical (in that one “long’’ side was different from the opposite side).’

Outlining how the pair managed to ‘edge sort’ the deck, the claim says: ‘Kelly would ask the dealer to reveal each card in turn by lifting the edge furthest from the dealer so that Kelly could identify whether the card was a seven, eight, or nine – the key cards in punto banco.

The first time that Kelly identified a key card, she told the dealer that it was a 'good' card which she wanted the dealer to rotate in the opposite direction to all the other cards and the dealer complied with the request.

‘In this way, the long edges of the key card became distinguishable from those of the other cards.’

Over the course of time, ‘the cards in the deck were increasingly orientated so that “good†and “bad†cards faced in the opposite direction’.

This meant that Mr Ivey was later able to recognise the key cards and bet accordingly.

Initially, he was betting £50,000 a hand but, having edge sorted the cards, he asked the casino’s permission to raise the maximum stake to £150,000.

Mr Ivey maintains in his claim that Crockfords’ owners were well aware how edge sorting worked and only have themselves to blame.

He says that casinos frequently accede to advantage players’ special requests because they do not want to deter them from playing.

Crockfords, the oldest private gaming club in the world, initially agreed to transfer Mr Ivey’s winnings to his bank account, but has returned only his £1million stake.

The casino is owned by Genting, a Malaysian gaming corporation, which sent investigators to London to question employees and scrutinise hours of CCTV footage.

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What Is Edge Sorting?

There is good video explain how Phil Ivey actually doing it.

Over the weekend, a story about Phil Ivey, the best poker player in the world, made its way around the Internet. He's being sued by the Borgata casino in federal court for cheating at a version of baccarat using a method known as "edge sorting." All told, Ivey took the casino for close to $10 million. Here's how he did it.

This is an old story, surfacing now only because the Borgata finally filed suit. Ivey is actually involved in an almost identical case with the UK-based Crockfords Casino, also from 2012, but in that case, Ivey is suing the Crockfords for about $12 million in winnings, after it returned his original $1 million stake, but refused to pay him his winnings. We'll get to that, but for now, let's focus on how Ivey took down the house.

What is edge sorting?

Simply put, edge sorting is exploiting defects in the ways playing cards are designed and cut. Look at the cards below:


The cards are supposed to cut off the pattern so that each edge of the card is identical to its opposite. However, these cards, manufactured by Gemaco, featured a defect that meant if you turned some cards around, and left the others the way they were originally, never shuffling them so that the edges were all mixed up, you could identify flipped cards from non-flipped. This is possible because in casinos, you're generally dealing with pre-shuffled decks, and if a shuffling machine is used, the vertical orientation of the cards will never change. And so, Ivey and his partner asked that the "good" cards for baccarat be flipped.

Here's the scene from Grantland's rundown of Ivey's other edge sorting incident:

The previous night he and his unnamed companion, a Chinese woman from Las Vegas, started with a million-pound stake and played punto banco in a private room until they lost a half million pounds. They asked to raise the stakes, from 50,000 pounds per hand to 150,000. The club agreed. Soon Ivey and company were up almost two million. They agreed to come back and play again the next night only if the club agreed to keep the exact same cards for them to use. "Superstition," the mysterious woman explained. Crockfords agreed.

The next night when Ivey and his friend returned to play, the woman insisted that the dealers turn certain cards 180 degrees before putting them into the shoe to deal. Again, Ivey is superstitious, she explained. He also happened to be a very good tipper. The club again agreed to the unusual request. A few hours later, Ivey and his partner had won more than seven million pounds.

There are a few forces at work here. First, casinos bend over backwards to accommodate peculiar superstitions by big time gamblers—especially at table games in which the house has the edge—and Ivey is one of the biggest gamblers who's going to walk through your doors.

On the other hand, come on, guys. In the Borgata incident, Ivey's partner, identified as Cheng Yin Sun, allegedly requested a Chinese dealer so that she could make her requests in Mandarin. But still, this is a well known method of cheating, and as soon as a player begins making requests like this, a lot of bosses would, without being rude, try to eyeball if they're getting an advantage from something like edge sorting. This apparently never happened, even as Ivey returned multiple times over several months during 2012.

How does this work, and how much of an advantage is this?

There are any number of ways to cheat in any number of games if you can identify a card before it's turned over. For the version of baccarat Ivey was playing, punto banco, you're betting whether the "player" or "banker" hand will get closer to a value of 9. So want to know when a 6, 7, 8, or 9 is coming. If you can know that, you can know how you should play each hand. And because you can bet on either hand that's been dealt, you can get an edge on every single hand, averaging 20.928 percent across all scenarios, as you can see from the following two tables by Eliot Jacobson, who runs A.P. Heat:


From there, you just follow these simple betting rules:


There are a few more intricacies to this, and presumably a lot of game theory on how to bet to avoid detection, since betting optimally in too many cases will be obvious, but these are the fundamentals of what Ivey was up to. For a fuller rundown of edge sorting in baccarat, read the A.P. Heat explainer.

OK, that's a good racket. But is it illegal?

It probably isn't! And remember, Ivey readily admits that he made these plays. But that's also not the point. The Borgata alleges that Ivey's play was against its own rules, by which it agrees to pay and honor bets made. This is a subtle difference, and there doesn't seem to be much precedent for the case. The key difference in this case and Ivey's against the Crockfords is that the Borgata paid Ivey out, and is trying to recoup that money now, while the Crockfords is a more traditional situation, where Ivey was caught while he was playing, and though he was given a receipt for his winnings, he was not paid.

The case against Gemaco, which the Borgata is also suing, is probably a little tighter, since that's just plain negligence. It does speak to the top-level supply chain security protocols generally in place throughout casino business, though, that a single defect from a single company could be noticed by a few players, and then tracked down to a few casinos where the cards were in play.

The lesson, if there is one, seems to be that a sure thing is hard to pass up, even if you're the baddest-ass poker player in the world.


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