Edge Sorting - Everything you need to know

Edge Sorting - Everything you need to know

07 May 2014 | 02:35 Author: Francesca Soler

Edge Sorting is a shifty method by which card players recognize irregularities in the print on the back of cards and use them to their own advantage!

Edge sorting is one of the techniques through which card players can go for an advantaged play they do this by observing and using the natural irregularities on the back of the cards or their cut patterns. All cards should be cut off the back sided pattern in such a way that each edge of the card is similar to its opposite edge but if there are certain irregularities of the patterns along the edges of the cards then certain smart players can use the irregularities to identify certain cards of their interest and get the whole game in their favour. Through edge sorting, the players are able to identify certain groups of the cards and use this knowledge in order to improve their betting as well as win the game smartly. Basically, it just means that the players exploit the card manufacturer’s fault and use it to their advantage.

See our Edge Sorting Video


Did Phil Ivey Edge Sort to get an easy edge over Borgata Casino!

Edge sorting is a pretty significant danger as certain well known players have been able to make millions of money in the most reputed casinos. Edge sorting is followed in the famous games like Blackjack, poker, baccarat, Caribbean stud, Mississippi stud and many more. One card manufacturer, Gemaco, whose cards have in the past been identified as flawed, has helped many players to win an edge over the house using edge sorting.  Edge sorting is not at all difficult if you have a sharp eye and a smart head.  All you got to do is to examine the pattern on the back of the cards. On those cards, whose back sides have repeated patterns, you may be able to identify the asymmetry along the left and right edges or on the top and bottom edges.

See the full diamonds along with the left edge of the card and half diamonds along the right edge of the cards .  

Edge Sorting Cards



The asymmetry can also be observed in the cards which have faded edges. 



  Edge Sorting Cards

These edges give rise to a certain amount of asymmetry which the players can identify on the top or bottom or on the left and right edges.

Edge sorting generally focuses on those games in which certain groups of cards have more value than the other groups which is nearly in all the card games hence, edge sorting makes all the card games pretty vulnerable. What the edge sorter players are able to do is that they distinguish all the important cards from the remaining and relatively unimportant ones.

Now let's see how it is done.

The players, on seeing that the pattern on the left and right edges of the back of the cards are asymmetrical, align the cards such that all the full diamonds are placed along one edge and they may call it as important cards and the half diamonds along the same edge corresponds to the remaining unimportant cards.

The players make an attempt to sort out all the cards and try to identify their group, then they can make a decision through which the edge of the game can be turned into their favour and that edge will remain in their favour as long as the cards of the deck or shoe will remain aligned as such. For example, in the game of Baccarat , the four important cards are 6, 7, 8, and 9. Now, if the player knows and is sure that the first card which is dealt or would be dealt is from this group of four cards then he can wager his money on the ‘player hand’ or on the ‘banker hand’. Edge sorting can help the player to gain an edge of 6.76 per cent over the house which is more than enough to bring the game in their favor.

For full Baccarat Rules read this

Shuffling the Deck Similarly, in the game of blackjack, if the player edge sorts then he or she might be able to know very significant information about the dealer’s hole card or the next card which is to be dealt from the top of the deck The player may also be able to identify the card which is to be dealt in the next round of game. Other advantages which a player can have is that if somehow he comes to know that the first card is an ace or a 10 value card then he can gain an edge of more than 18 per cent over the house. This means that the player will be able to make good wager in such a case. Also, he can gain some amount of information regarding the cards if he sits at the first base as he will be able to decide his first initial wager which can automatically improve the coming game.

So you can see that, edge sorting can really help the players to improve the gaming skills to some extent. However, edge sorting may go to waste if a ‘turn’ occurs in the shuffle procedure. What we mean by a ‘turn’ is that when the cards are divided into 2 heaps and one of the heaps is rotated 180 degrees.  Now, if 180 degrees of turn is given to one heap of the cards then it disturbs the foundation of edge sorting for the players and the whole thing maybe shuffled. The edges get mixed up and that player loses his whole made up pattern. Therefore, a turn in the shuffle may also be called the death knell for edge sorting. 

The necessary ingredients to edge sort properly

  1. First of all, the back of the cards shall have clearly visible asymmetrical repeated pattern. 
  2. Edge sorting can only work in a game where the back of one or more cards can be viewed before making a necessary decision in the game. 
  3. Edge sorting can only work if there is a fixed procedure for playing as well as for dealing in the cards so much so that even when the cards are collected back from the players, the edges are not disturbed and they are consistent and can be determined in the next round of the game as well. 
  4. The shuffling shall be done in order such that it does not include a turn i.e. a turn of 180 degrees which can disturb the whole pattern. 
  5. Anyone else other than the dealer and players shall not be able to interfere with the sort of the cards in the deck or shoe. 
  6. And last but not the least which is the most important factor- the on-site staff and surveillance shall be completely ignorant of this method.

Edge sorting is considered an illegal activity because in many ways it appears similar to card marking but it is not exactly the same. The edge sorters do not mark cards. They simply take advantage of the flaws in the patterns of the cards which are designed or manufactured by certain companies. So in short the edge sorters use the equipment of the cards in order to turn around the game in their favour without making the casinos aware of it. Although it could be said that the fault is of the card manufacturers as it is they who mark the cards unintentionally or do not  trim them in proper symmetrical  patterns. Still, edge sorting remains an illegal activity today and  the casinos can sue such players if they suspect them of edge sorting. Still it remains an attractive proposition as a good casino bet for the savvy card shark

Card Section Explained

Card Section Explained


Happy Phil

Happy Phil Ivey Edge sorting made its way into casinos in 2012 although it has been in scene since the past two decades but then it was known to only few people. Now, it is known worldwide.  The case of edge sorting resurfaced when in the year 2012, Phil Ivey was able to grab 12 million dollars from Croakfords casino and 10 million dollars from Borgata Casino . Phil is a high profile casino player and after such a huge win, he was accused of edge sorting which he then acknowledged to be true. Phil was slapped with a heavy fine and was also denied about 80 % of the won money at  Croakfords casino.

Sad Phil

In the Borgata casino, on watching the video closely when Ivey won about 10 million dollars, it was seen that he had asked to use the same deck of cards on the following night of the game as was used on the first night. He had also asked for an automatic shuffler to shuffle the cards in which no ‘turn’ occurs automatically. He and his partner had also insisted the dealer to do a 180 degrees turn of certain cards before placing them into deck or shoe to deal for the next round. ’Superstition’ was the word used by his partner for each activity that they did.

It was then known by the casino that they were using a well known method of cheating which goes by the name of "edge sorting" By then the Borgata casino was on its way to sueing Phil.

Casinos and the card manufacturing companies need to put checks into place to dissuade potential cheats!

Since edge sorting can put a player in grave danger it should be avoided. There are necessary steps which must be taken by the casinos and the card manufacturing companies in order to avoid it. A significant thing to notice here is that to the players, who are edge sorters, they are just smart with their observations and do nothing more than observing the backside of the cards. Actually it is the card manufacturers’ fault. These manufacturers and companies should clean up their act and manufacture cards which have repeated symmetrical patterns and do not have half diamonds or circles on one edge or full diamonds or circles at the other edge; or irregularly beached areas on either of the edges; or different number of diamonds or circles at the edges of the cards or on the top and bottom edge of the cards.

If this is done then edge sorting can be pushed out of the casinos and the players can play fairly.

Simple Fix?

Another thing which the card manufacturing companies can do and which many companies have already introduced is that there is always a white or black border around the card patterns on the back of the cards. This is done so as to block against the refined technique of edge sorting. The cutting of the cards shall also be symmetric and should be similar for all the cards as improper cutting can also lead to flaws in the pattern of the cards. Printing and cutting methods shall be optimum and without a flaw if an attempt has to be made in order to outcast edge sorting.

One important thing which the casinos are required to do in order to avoid edge sorting is that no matter if the pattern on the  back of the cards is symmetrical  or not, a ‘turn’ should always be given during the shuffle procedure in every card game and in every round of every game. If an automatic shuffler is used then manually a turn shall be introduced while shuffling. This will completely nullify any edge sorting technique which the players try to follow. One more thing which the casinos must do and strictly follow against all the players is to destroy the deck of cards after the game is over and not to use it in the next game. This was one thing which was not followed in Phil Ivey’s case. He had requested the dealer to preserve the same deck of cards for the next night’s game which was completely against the casino policies. But since Phil was a very high profile player who always places high stakes therefore, the dealer agreed with this request and did not destroy the deck. This is how he was able to make 10 million dollars by using the edge sorting technique so smartly.

Keeping in mind this recent big casino case, the big players shall not go for edge sorting however tempting it may be, as it may result in an accusation of cheating . Moreover, now the casinos are also more careful regarding the patterns on the back of cards and the manufacturing companies are also careful regarding the printing and cutting techniques.

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