Does Edge Sorting Really Give You An Advantage in Casino Play?

min read
A dealer spreading out playing cards on a casino table. There are also casino chips and a wine glass on the table.
BetMGM Feb 16, 2024, 3:20 AM

If you enjoy playing online casino games and casino card games, like blackjack, baccarat, and poker, you’ve probably heard of certain controversial techniques to give you the edge over the dealer, your opponents, and/or the casino. One of those techniques is known as “edge sorting.

Read on to discover what it is, how it’s done, which casino games are most susceptible, and whether it’s considered cheating.

Edge Sorting Explained

So, what is edge sorting? As mentioned, edge sorting is a risky technique used in casino card games to gain an advantage. It involves identifying minor differences or imperfections on the backs of the playing cards to determine their face value. This could possibly help you stay one step ahead of the house or your opponents and improve your chances of bigger, more frequent wins.

How It’s Done

Say, for example, you’re in the middle of a game of baccarat, and you’re keen to try edge sorting cards. Though it’s not likely to work as you think, here’s how you might go about it:

  • Observation: The first step would be to observe the backs of the cards to see if you can pinpoint any imperfections. These imperfections would likely be subtle manufacturing inconsistencies like pattern asymmetries or slight border differences.
  • Distinguishing the Cards: The secret to successful edge sorting when playing baccarat is distinguishing the high-value cards, particularly 6s, 7s, 8s, and 9s, which are more impactful for the game. Next, you might ask the dealer to rotate the “good” cards (for example, 7s or 8s) during the session and pass this off as a personal superstition. A big part of edge sorting success lies in convincing the dealer to unknowingly assist in the process. This way, you can sort and identify them from their back patterns.
  • Card Values: You’ll obviously have a massive advantage if you know the value of the first one or two cards the dealer is about to deal, thereby allowing you to adjust your bets on the player or banker accordingly. Once you’ve placed your bet, it’s up to you to watch the shuffling process carefully to ensure the orientation of the high-value cards remains identifiable.

Is Edge Sorting Considered Cheating?

The question of whether or not edge sorting is cheating is a complex and controversial issue. In short, it’s not a good idea. 

Ultimately, the legality and classification of edge sorting varies depending on jurisdiction and the specific circumstances under which it’s used. So, it’s always best to check in with your preferred casino regarding their casino rules — including the unspoken ones. In most cases, people classify it as an advantage play rather than outright cheating. That said, most casinos don’t approve for obvious reasons. If you’re suspected of the practice when playing at a casino, there’s a good chance the casino will bar you from playing.

You might’ve heard of a few high-profile legal cases involving edge sorting, such as the case surrounding professional gambler Phil Ivey. The legal battle was between Ivey and Crockfords Casino in the UK and Atlantic City’s Borgata. After hearing both arguments, the courts ruled against Ivey, stating that his actions compromised the game’s integrity.

In short, edge sorting cards is unethical, with most experts arguing that the practice revolves around deceiving the dealer and using manipulation to gain an advantage.

The Many Cons of Edge Sorting

When it comes to edge sorting, there’s no denying the cons outweigh the pros.

When implementing the technique, you face legal and ethical risks, possible casino bans, and a reliance on very specific conditions. Rest assured that most casinos have taken action to prevent any possibility of edge sorting from occurring on their floors. For instance, they usually increase how often their dealers shuffle the cards and replace decks more often. Some casinos even invest in sophisticated shuffling machines that randomize the cards in a way that makes it nearly impossible to track high-value cards. They also train their casino staff, especially dealers and floor managers, to recognize the signs of this technique.

Plus, this type of advantage play isn’t a skill you can learn overnight. It requires practice and patience to master — time and effort you could rather spend improving your skills and strategizing to make your bankroll go further.

Is Edge Sorting Possible When Playing Casino Games Online?

No. Edge sorting isn’t possible at an online game casino — only when playing casino games live in a traditional casino setting. That’s because there are no physical imperfections on digital cards, Random Number Generators (RNGs) determine the outcome of each card dealt, and no dealer physically handles the cards. Even in live dealer games online, the decks are usually standard and highly controlled to prevent any form of advantage play, including edge sorting.

Play Online Casino Games at BetMGM

Are you ready to play fun and fair casino games online where your entertainment and safety are top priorities? Choose BetMGM Casino. Along with popular card games like baccarat and blackjack, you can also explore a world of other online casino games, from live dealer online casino games to jackpot slots and much more, with no worries about edge sorting, card counting, or any other advantage play.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.