What Is Edge Sorting & How to Make It Work

What Is Edge Sorting & How to Make It Work

Staff Writer
Updated April 12, 2022

Is Edge sorting cheating?

If you’ve been a gambler for some time, you’ll have heard about edge sorting. Gamblers worldwide have applied this system in card games like poker and even blackjack. But in this article, we’re focusing on edge sorting in baccarat.

Edge sorting is an advanced baccarat technique that advantage players use to take down the house edge by exploiting unintentional flaws on playing cards.

What Is Edge Sorting?

Edge sorting is an advantage play strategy used by players to gain an advantage over the house. Edge sorting in baccarat entails observing cards during dealing to try and guess whether the card would be a high or a low-rank one.

As an advantage gambling technique, baccarat edge sorting has found its audience in the luck-based gambling sector. Games of luck are unpredictable, so players rely on advantage gambling methods to gain the upper hand.

One of the most famous advantage gambling strategies is card counting, closely followed by edge sorting.

However, edge sorting is far from being easy. Its domain is mostly hypothetical, as it relies heavily on the look of the cards. Players use the subtle differences between cards as cues and hints for potential card values.

A successful “edge sorter” follows closely the arrangement of the cards in a deck and shoe. They look for patterns and imperfections on the cards.

To an untrained eye, every card looks the same. But experts know better. This is how professional punters use edge sorting to capitalize on card games.

Namely, manufacturers can inadvertently produce “imperfect” cards with distinguishable patterns.

For example, a card may feature half a diamond on one side, whilst showing a complete figure on the opposite. Advantage gamblers use these so-called flaws to their advantage by determining what cards are low and what are high.

However, it’s not enough to sit down one day and look at cards intensely to be good at edge sorting. On the contrary, this is a skill that takes weeks or months to master.

Before we show you how to edge sort, make sure you’re familiar with the rules of baccarat.

How Do You Edge Sort?

Baccarat is among the world's highest-grossing casino games. Therefore, it’s no wonder that everyone’s craving to get a slice of the online baccarat casino cake.

To try and hit the nail on the head, many gamblers attempt to learn baccarat edge sorting.

But it’s no walk in the park. If you ever wanted to know what edge sorting is and how does edge sorting work, here is your chance to learn! We will now show you how to edge sort cards in baccarat.

The first thing to ensure is to know how to play baccarat. The second factor concerns your level of expertise. Beginners should not try edge sorting.

Once you’ve established the first two things, you should follow these steps:

  1. Look for millimetric differences between the edges of cards.
  2. Focus on what edge faces what way while the card is in the shoe.
  3. Based on your observations, determine which cards are high and which low.

“How can that alone help?” you might ask. Well, it won’t. Usually, players ask the croupier to arrange the shoe in such a way to have high cards face in a certain direction and the low-denomination ones in a different one.

A clueless dealer might accept your kind request, looking to make you feel comfortable at the venue. But bear in mind that he or she may refuse to make your wish come true.

As you can imagine, this technique is great in land-based casinos, but online games are different. Of course, in online gaming, this baccarat edge sorting system is of insignificant use.

Similar Advantage Play Techniques

Although baccarat is a game of chance, players have been looking for ways to beat the dealer. Unlike blackjack and poker, you cannot calculate your moves or rely on smart thinking to do the trick and score a win. Baccarat is a luck game, just like roulette and online slots. The outcome depends on luck, which makes it highly unpredictable.

Nevertheless, advantage play techniques have been in place for decades, and punters use them regularly to make progress in the game. Admittedly, not many advantage play techniques actually work, especially when it comes to baccarat. Besides card counting which has a big fan base (but mostly devised of blackjack players), advantage gambling is not a science or anything similar.

We recommend reading more about counting cards or applying proven baccarat strategies or betting systems to increase winning chances.

That Time When Edge Sorting Failed

The question “Is edge sorting illegal?” was put to a test in 2012, when Phil Ivey was accused of illegally edge sorting. Ivey became a controversial figure thanks to his edge sorting baccarat technique which brought him $9.6 million in winnings. However, he soon had to give up the sum as he was accused of cheating by attempting to adjust the house by using edge sorting baccarat methods.

Here's the full story.

Phil Ivey, as you might know, is a professional gambler infamous for hi extremely high stakes. By vocation a poker player who won 10 WSOP bracelets, Ivey decided to try his hand in baccarat as well. But he did not just play baccarat – he used edge sorting in baccarat to swing big wins. And it was a scandal.

After the “scandal,” the casino representatives listed a few tell-tale signs that something fishy was about to happen:

  • Namely, as a famous and reputable player, Ivey was granted the wish to play with purple Gemaco Borgata cards.
  • Additionally, Ivey wanted to play in a private.
  • The dealer was asked to speak Mandarin Chinese.
  • His associate Cheng Yin Sun was the only other player at the table.

Ivey and Sun are both professionals. They had spent weeks preparing for this undertaking and memorizing card patterns. They won a massive amount of money, which is suspicious in itself as baccarat is a luck game. No player is as lucky as to win nearly $10m in three trips to the casino.

After the notorious $9.6 million milestone, the house prevented Ivey from cashing out his winnings.

Is Edge Sorting Cheating?

Technically, edge sorting is not cheating. To clarify, let’s look at the Merriam Webster definition of cheating:

cheat, verb


: to deprive of something valuable by the use of deceit or fraud

So, did Ivey use any deceitful tactics? We don’t think so. Phil Ivey simply took advantage of the obvious imperfections induced by the casinos’ inattention.

Importantly, a few crucial factors had to be part of the whole scheme. Additionally, Ivey deposited $1 million in the popular casino card game. Could an average Joe afford to do that?

But even if he could, to pull a plot so intricate required multiple aspects to be ticked off the list. And the Michael Jordan of gambling used his reputation to make the house let him indulge his polite requests.

So why is edge sorting illegal?

The answer is that edge sorting is not illegal. But gambling establishments are private property. In turn, they get to decide what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t.

Nevertheless, you play on casino grounds so you need to follow their rules. Finding loopholes is justified as long as they don’t pit the house rules.

At the end of the day, it is the casino’s word against yours, and guess who wins?

So, lay low and don’t overdo it with any strategy.

Edge Sorting in Other Casino Games

Edge sorting is a widespread advantage play technique used in most card games. That being said, it’s not applied in baccarat only. Many punters try and use it in blackjack online, as well as video poker.

Baccarat is quite dissimilar from poker, which to contrast relies on intuition and shrewdness. On the other side, baccarat is a pure game of luck with a house edge a hair higher than 1%.

The crucial difference, though, lies in the lack of the necessity for a strategy. To play, say, poker, or blackjack, one should practice heaps and apply the right tactic to win.

In contrast, no strategy can bend the house edge in baccarat. Whether you win at baccarat depends only on chance. That’s why casinos are alarmed when a player hits a multi-million win that easily.

Although our article focused mostly on edge sorting in baccarat, we will now focus on edge sorting blackjack and video poker games.

Edge Sorting in Blackjack

What is edge sorting in blackjack? And can we edge sort in blackjack? The answer is yes, possibly. Online blackjack (the RNG mode) is not applicable, so you might not be able to use any advantage play technique for online blackjack. However, live blackjack games and land-based tables may be suitable for edge sorters. If you want to learn more about edge sorting in blackjack, we recommend reading our advantage play blackjack tips and strategies that we prepared with you in mind. Strategies and advantage play techniques might help you lower the blackjack house edge and win more often.

Edge Sorting in Poker

Edge sorting is often used in blackjack and baccarat, but many players have wondered about its use in poker. Edge sorting in blackjack is possible, but not poker.

Edge sorting in poker would have to entail card rotation, which might look weird for most players. And bear in mind that this stands for land-based poker games only. In online poker or video poker games, there is absolutely no way to guess the card values from the look of the cards.

Therefore, if you want to use edge sorting, you will either have to look for a different game (such as edge sorting baccarat) or use a different strategy. We recommend trying out different poker strategies for playing poker for real money, but you should definitely avoid using this one.

Conclusion – Can Average Gamblers Win by Edge Sorting?

Edge sorting is a somewhat obscure winning method used to win in gambling. Poker and baccarat are the most popular examples of it. Many professional gamblers, such as Phil Ivey, have benefited from this technique. However, its position in the eyes of casinos poses a problem for gamblers.

We do not recommend edge sorting to inexperienced bettors. Learn from others’ mistakes; if a seasoned punter with ages of experience couldn’t work his way around, could a beginner?

Let us know what you think about edge sorting. What is your experience with this baccarat strategy?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is edge sorting illegal?

Although frowned upon and highly controversial, edge sorting in baccarat is not illegal. It is not a form of cheating as it does not involve any form of interference with the game, as players do not touch cards or tamper with them. However, most casinos are not fans of this advantage play technique, so please be careful if you are interested in learning it.

How can I edge sort cards?

Professional baccarat edge sorters are players who know how to distinguish subtle features on the backs of the cards. They learn the subtleties by memorizing how all cards look and then figuring out their value. The point is to guess whether a card is of high or low rank, and then placing a bet accordingly.

Can I use edge sorting in blackjack?

Yes, you can use edge sorting in blackjack. In fact, blackjack is a great game both for card counting and edge sorting, with many punters opting for advantage play strategies to decrease the house edge.

Is edge sorting in blackjack popular?

Yes, it is popular, but card counting is even more popular. If you want to learn to edge sort in blackjack, you will need to practice memorizing items, as a perfect memory is the most important thing for edge sorters.

How does edge sorting work?

Edge sorting is a memory technique whereby players memorize the back of all cards perfectly. Then they remember whether the cards are high or low rank, and then they use the knowledge of the deck to try and guess the next round outcome. Then they place bets accordingly to swing profits.



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