Go Back

What Is Edge Sorting In Card Games?

What Is Edge Sorting In Card Games?

As we all know, casino games are primarily chance based. Therefore, they are unpredictable and can be hard to beat. On top of that, there is the house edge, so some players may get creative and find ways to try to beat the game.

That is how the infamous edge sorting in casino card games came to be. While these "strategies" tend not to work, UK casinos do not appreciate even the slightest attempts to use them. An example of this is the curious case of Phil Ivey, who used the edge sorting method and lost his winnings.

In this post, we will explore what edge sorting is, how it is used, whether or not it is illegal and if it works on blackjack

What Is Edge Sorting?

Edge sorting is another form of card counting used in card games to gain an advantage over the casino. It is a technique that has been the topic of debate among casino players and casinos alike. 

When a player is edge sorting, they note patterns or irregularities in the back of the cards to mark what a specific card is. It is a technique where players have to memorise the patterns of each card in the shoe or any irregularity, such as a cut or shape, a card may have on its back to gain an advantage over the house.

Most casino game players and casinos first heard of this topic through the case of Phil Ivey, a professional poker player who was caught and sued for using this method. 

How Do You Use Edge Sorting?

Edge sorting requires a sharp memory and the ability to spot irregularities either in patterns, shapes, or cuts of cards. Players have tried using it on blackjack, baccarat, poker and other card games.

The idea is to study the back of a card or cards, identify which rank and number it belongs to and lock it in your memory. Once you have done that, you can then sort the cards into groups.

For example, if you are playing baccarat, you would only note the most important cards, which are six, seven, eight and nine. Then you would use this information to decide whether to place a bet or hold back.

However, you must remember that edge sorting is not a foolproof method. The Phil Ivey case highlighted this method to casinos worldwide, and the casinos involved in the case successfully sued Ivey following his use of edge sorting.

This method requires the dealer to use the same deck for multiple rounds and to listen to the player's request to rotate the cards under the guise of superstition. But, in modern online casinos, decks are changed and regularly shuffled, so it would be difficult to use the method successfully. 

What Happened With Phil Ivey & Edge Sorting?

In the gambling world, Phil Ivey is perhaps the most famous user of edge sorting who utilised this technique successfully. However, after a winning streak that saw him raking in over 9 million at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City and over 10 million at Crockfords in London, a legal battle ensued when the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa refused to pay him on suspicion of cheating.

Mr Ivey admitted to using the edge sorting technique but contested the claims that it was a form of cheating. However, the casino won the case when the judge ruled that while the method was not necessarily cheating or fraud, Mr Ivey had acted dishonestly by requesting the dealer rotate certain cards, thereby affecting the game in a way that wouldn't normally occur in the course of play. 

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr Ivey had indeed cheated on the basis that Mr Ivey tricked the dealer into rotating the cards, giving him an advantage.

Consequently, the UK ruling set a legal precedent that prevents other casino card games from using similar strategies. That means if you try using edge sorting, you could face some hefty consequences.

Can You Still Edge Sort?

As mentioned above, since the UK's Supreme Court ruling, you cannot use the edge sorting method in the UK. If you do, you would be in clear violation of the casino card games' gambling rules and may face a myriad of consequences, including fines, being banned from casinos or losing your money.

After the UK ruling, Mr Ivey told Associated Press that, at the time, he genuinely believed edge sorting to be a legitimate technique that gave him an advantage and was unaware that it was cheating. However, since then, there has been an increase in awareness of edge sorting and it being classed as cheating, so the punishment may be harsher.

Is Edge Sorting Illegal?

No. In the UK, the practice of edge sorting is not illegal, but it is classed as cheating within the civil court, so the casino could sue if a player is found using the method. 

However, the rules may be different in other jurisdictions.

Does Edge Sorting Work In Blackjack?

Though edge sorting is commonly used in baccarat, it can technically work on all card games, including blackjack. However, remember edge sorting is strictly prohibited, so you should not try to use it.

Instead of finding ways to cheat, enjoy the game for what it is while keeping in mind that the house always wins in the long run. 


While having a losing streak when playing a casino game can be frustrating, it is essential to stay away from any methods of cheating or methods that go against the casino's terms and conditions

The best way to enjoy any pay by mobile casino game is by understanding that the house always has an edge and they always win in the long run. So, set your budgets, stick with it, have fun and most importantly, do not chase your losses