Edge sorting is a gambling technique that is used by skilled gamblers. It involves predicting cards faced down and aiming to give gamblers an advantage in certain casino games.

A professional gambler, Phil Ivey, famously used this technique to rake in almost $21 million in profits. When players look for the best crypto casino, they often check if a casino offers games where edge sorting can be used.

What Is Edge Sorting?

Edge sorting is difficult to master and requires many hours of dedication and practice. Those gamblers who succeed with it have excellent concentration levels and pay close attention to detail to read cards that are not visible.

The technique involves gamblers reading cards through tiny differences in the details of the back of the cards. When done correctly, a gambler will successfully predict if a specific card is of a low or high value.

Through the subtle differences on the back of these cards, a gambler can acquire a long-term statistical advantage over the casino. These subtle differences are in no way the casino’s fault but rather a flaw of the card manufacturer, whose machines trim the card edges slightly differently. It is the uneven margins that ultimately give edge sorters an advantage.

By noticing these subtle differences on the cards, gamblers can rake in incredible profits with the effective execution of this technique. This technique is scorned by casinos, who consider it a form of cheating, while gamblers worldwide view it as an advantage that helps them improve their odds at that specific game.

How Does The Technique Work?

As mentioned earlier, edge sorting involves identifying the imperfections or irregularities on the back of playing cards.

Gamblers typically use these imperfections to their advantage and exploit their gambling session to make a profit. For example, you may notice on a deck of cards which features diamonds on its back that the diamonds appear whole on one side of the pack and appear as half diamonds on the other side of the pack.

This is due to a flaw in the card manufacturers’ cutting process.

Gamblers that use edge sorting try to figure out which card values correspond to the full diamonds and half diamonds in the pack. If they are successful, they can predict the values of those cards before they are flipped over and revealed.

Gamblers require some unconscious assistance from the dealer when edge sorting, as the edges need to be arranged in a specific order, enabling the gambler to see the full and half diamonds more easily.

For this reason, casinos require their dealers to constantly rotate and shuffle packs of cards to discourage edge sorting. Gamblers, therefore, favour playing games where an automatic shuffling machine doesn’t rotate the cards during the shuffling process.


Conducive Environment For Sorting

While edge sorting may appear easy to execute, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The technique can only be profitable when executed in a controlled environment.

When attempting to edge sort at your chosen game, you must get compliance from the dealer regarding specific requests you will make.

Compliance from the dealer means that your request to rotate the cards you choose and your request for an automatic card shuffler will be adhered to while appeasing the pit boss with your weird demands.

While all three factors are far-fetched, they are not impossible to attain. However, you must remember that these requests are accommodated almost exclusively for the high-rollers.

So, edge sorting may not be appropriate for ordinary players who dabble at the tables.

Another factor to consider is that not all casinos use the same patterned deck of cards. This means you will need to be on top of your game. You will have to identify the pattern of cards used at that table. After that, determine the flaws in those decks of cards.

In a nutshell, this technique is not something you can just start doing at a casino, as you require a very conducive environment to make it happen.

Requirements To Apply Edge Sorting Effectively

When applying edge sorting to your gambling session, consider the following:

  • The first thing you must consider is the pattern of the cards. The back of the deck of cards must have a visible asymmetrical repeated pattern.
  • You must be able to view the back of one or more cards in the deck before making an informed decision.
  • Whatever gambling game you choose, there must be a set process for playing and a method for how the dealer collects the cards from the players. This ensures that the edges of the cards are not disturbed and that the patterns remain aligned for future rounds.
  • The shuffling must be done methodically and in a specific manner that does not involve turning the deck, or part of it, 180 degrees, which will disturb the flow.
  • Only the dealer and players will have access to the cards and the deck, and if anybody else has contact with the cards, it could disrupt the play pattern.
  • The pit boss, security staff, casino staff, and surveillance must not be aware of you employing edge sorting at the table.

Challenges Of The Technique

While edge sorting is extremely difficult for the most skilled gamblers around, it can become an even more daunting task when considering the following:

High Rollers Have It Easier

The average gambler will find it very hard to execute edge sorting as dealers are unlikely to comply with anyone they don’t know.

In short, a gambler has to be lucky to have all the requirements for sorting to appear.

One avenue that could help moderate gamblers is to play at tables with automatic shufflers, as the cards would be shuffled consistently and are likely to remain in position.

On the other hand, playing games such as Baccarat, where cards are shuffled manually, won’t get you very far.

The average gambler will not entertain your special requests to the dealer, so you have to hope that the cards are aligned in your favour.

In the case of Phil Ivey, his status as a high roller enabled him to make the following requests that swayed the odds heavily in his favour:

  • A Mandarin-speaking dealer
  • A purple Gemaco deck that was flawed, unbeknown to the casino
  • Cards that were rotated in a specific way for “superstitious reasons.”

Technically Not Legal

Edge sorting lies in a precarious position that juggles between a genuine advantage to gamblers and blatant cheating.

While stealing chips and marking cards can be regarded as blatant cheating, edge sorting finds itself in a grey area of casino taboos. This technique requires exceptional skills that enable gamblers to spot slight flaws in a deck of cards without using equipment or tricks.

That said, the casino has every right not to pay out your winnings if they suspect you have been using edge sorting during your gambling session. More importantly, you can be held legally responsible and face hefty legal consequences should the casino demand their money back due to your covert tactics.

Although jail time may not necessarily be on the proverbial cards, you will have no recourse when a casino decides to take action towards you. Since the casino is all about taking your money, they will be happy for you to play the entire session with your strategy and will then deny you your winnings when you choose to cash out with a profit.

Hard To Pull Off

In terms of casino gambling strategies, this is arguably the hardest to pull off with its extreme reliance on concentration and memory. Not only must you master the various decks that different casinos use, but you must spot the flaws in each of these decks in real-time while also trying to get to grips with the actual game.

The ultimate goal is if you manage to identify the high-value cards from the low-value ones, making your gambling session more predictable. However, without the time to sort out the card edges, you will need exceptional skill and trickery to make this strategy work.

Additionally, the right conditions must exist to profit from your gameplay and leave the table with a heart full of satisfaction. You will need the dealer to offer you some compliance with a flawed deck and shuffling machine to help you on your quest.

The Bottom Line

Edge sorting is not for the weak and requires incredible skill and dedication. In addition, the perfect conditions must be present with a flawed deck, clueless casino staff, and an automatic shuffling deck aiding your cause.

Regrettably, you will have great difficulty finding these conditions at reputable casinos. With that being said, however, there are casinos out there where this technique will bring you riches, provided you are willing to stay the course.