Is it Legal To Sort Chips in Baccarat?

Certain methods of winning at casinos are obviously prohibited by law, such paying employees bribes or making bets after the game has started to settle (as in roulette). Others fall into a more gray area, where activities such as card counting are allowed but prohibited by the casino. Although you won’t face legal repercussions for engaging in such activities, the casinos have the power to ask anybody they believe to be counting cards to leave.

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It would probably be correct to state that edge sorting is a much deeper gray area than counting cards. Although it is doubtful that you would face legal action for edge sorting at a baccarat table in a casino, you will undoubtedly be expelled if it is discovered. Whether it is unlawful or not may not matter, though, as many significant court judgments have shown that the government has a history of siding with the casinos in legal disputes. Irregular or not, individuals attempting to outwit the house have been compelled to return any profits, and in the end, that’s probably all that counts to both sides.

Phil Ivey Edge Case Sorting

Phil Ivey may have been part in the two largest and most well-known edge sorting triumphs that weren’t. Most gamblers are familiar with Ivey, especially those who like playing poker. Despite owning an incredible ten World Series of Poker bracelets, the self-proclaimed “Tiger Woods of Poker” does not restrict his gambling to just that one game.

The Californian, who is thought to have won somewhat less than $10 million, hit the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City in 2012 with a playing buddy. He accomplished this by playing baccarat instead of poker or blackjack with his female accomplice, Cheung Yin Sun, dubbed the “Baccarat Machine.”

The authorities sided with the casino after a protracted sequence of court hearings and decisions that started in 2014 when the casino launched a case against Ivey. Ivey was ordered by a federal judge in 2016 to return an eight-figure amount, which included earnings of around $9.6 million from baccarat and an additional half a million from other games.

The crafty pair “did not commit fraud, (but) they did breach their contract with the casino and were liable for damages,” according to Judge Noel Hillman’s ruling, according to the reports. It was against the law in New Jersey for casinos to mark cards. Even though they hadn’t really done this, the court decided that they had effectively broken the same restrictions by rotating the cards and pointing out any flaws.

Clearly, Ivey was not eager to make good on his debt, and this was far from the end of the story. The poker ace avoided paying back the Borgata for several years by using legal actions and obfuscation. It’s unknown exactly how much has been given back to the casino, but in 2020, it was thought that he and his playing companion had agreed to foot the most of the bill.

In summary

In baccarat and its variants, edge sorting is a tactic that may be employed to provide the gambler the advantage. The strategy leverages minute variations in cards and dealer manipulation to circumvent the game’s inherent house advantage. Finding the correct casino and dealer(s) is just as important as ability, experience, and practice. In principle, you may potentially earn enormous quantities of money if you can get away with it without getting discovered.

But casinos, dealers, and security personnel are becoming more conscious of the different strategies that shrewd gamblers employ to gain an advantage. The entire effort is fairly futile if you are discovered because there is a strong legal precedence in US and UK courts requiring you to refund any earnings. It appears that edge sorting may have had its day, but who knows? The players who avoid detection usually don’t make the headlines.