The classic favorite casino game of none other than James Bond, 007, is baccarat, or more precisely one type of it called chemin de fer. Although baccarat may not be of interest to many contemporary casino enthusiasts, the majority of whom play online, it nevertheless has an air of old-fashioned grandeur. The game’s simplicity and extremely low house edge—the casino’s advantage over the player—make it handy when played in an online casino, but naturally, you won’t see Bond using his laptop at home to play a few hands.
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Since he is James Bond, the fictional English agent is usually seen playing this traditional casino game at Monte Carlo or another opulent real casino, and he almost always wins. However, baccarat is one game where you don’t have to be a quasi-superhero to win.
A strategy called edge sorting may be used to baccarat and, theoretically, other card games as well, allowing the player to theoretically gain the advantage over the casino. This section will provide a quick explanation of edge sorting, discuss if it is permitted, and look at a notable case study involving eight-figure casino victories.
Describe Edge Sorting.
We shall presume that the reader is familiar with the rules of baccarat in order to discuss edge sorting. The most important thing to remember about the rules is that, just as in blackjack, there are differences in how high and low cards impact gaming and the probability that the player or the house will win.
The idea of edge sorting is to take advantage of minute variations in cards. Although all the cards in a deck may appear to be the same to the untrained eye, knowledgeable observers may really discern minute variations in the design on the card backs at the edges. Edge sorting is a technique used to take use of the fact that changes in the pattern may be observed with experience and awareness.
It is impossible for a player to learn every card in numerous decks due to the minute variations. Furthermore, it is not required because of the significance of high cards in the game. It suffices if the player can only recognize high cards. In order to do this, a player will want to make sure the dealer will completely flip the high cards.
This is the “sorting” part; the “edge” naturally stems from the fact that the distinctions are indicated on the card edges. An expert can easily distinguish high cards from other cards if all of the high cards are spun through 180 degrees. This offers them a significant advantage over the casino, reversing the house edge and making the game lucrative for them.
Of course, it’s no easy task to play the game flawlessly and notice these minute variations in the cards without raising suspicions. Naturally, there’s also the somewhat important matter of persuading the dealer to switch the cards you desire.
Sorting the Edges by Rotating the Cards
Edge sorting is impossible unless the player can induce the dealer to turn the cards—a move that some would even describe as trickery. This may even occur if the dealer is aware of the “scam,” but usually, players would fabricate a tale or superstition to suggest that a cooperative dealer who is not experienced in edge sorting does so without realizing how much help they are giving.
One strategy a player may employ is to assert that the dealer’s decision to turn a certain card or not is fortunate (or unfortunate). Typically, the player would play for lesser stakes for a longer amount of time until enough cards have been rotated (enough deck alterations have occurred) to give them the advantage over the house. They could up their bets at this point.
However, similar to blackjack card counting, such a blatant ruse usually raises suspicions, particularly if the player starts winning a lot of hands with the freshly increased bet. Because of this, more advanced strategies may be employed, including a player secretly inviting a partner to the table after the deck is prepared. Then, instead of raising the suspicions of the casino as much as a player who makes abrupt changes to their stake, the new player may just start betting huge right away.
However, because the house advantage in baccarat is so little, some edge sorting players could just take the hit on the hands they play as they go through the deck. They could win a little, a lot, or neither, but if they play frequently enough, their losses will generally be minimal. And most importantly, when the edge sorting is over, the major gains will more than make up for it.
Though it would seem that the casinos would tell their employees not to shuffle their cards, in general, the house prefers to keep the truth to itself by not acknowledging that there are methods (such card counting in blackjack or identifying wheel bias in roulette) by which it may be routinely beaten. In this case, people looking to take advantage of edge sorting will just try a different table or another casino. Of course, some dealers may be aware of it and might gently decline to rotate the cards.
Sorting by edge depends on the rotated cards staying that way. It may thus be classified as high or low only after a specific percentage of the cards have been flipped. Many casinos now have automatic shuffling machines; these are safe for players utilizing edge sorting since they do not rotate the cards (though the dealer may, of course, rotate them when they place them into the machine). Conversely, if the dealer shuffles the deck by hand, the cards can wind up rotating back again based on how they go about it.
Anyone trying to sort cards by edge must ensure that the cards stay oriented in the order they have been arranged. Once a sorted deck gets unsorted, edge sorting is no longer possible since the player will no longer be able to identify high cards before they are flipped over.