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How Phil Ivey Beat (Or Maybe Cheated) A Casino For Millions
March 1, 2016 – 04:38 am
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How Phil Ivey Beat (Or Maybe Cheated) A Casino For MillionsOver the weekend, a story about Phil Ivey, the best poker player in the world, made its way around the Internet. He's being sued by the Borgata casino in federal court for cheating at a version of baccarat using a method known as "edge sorting." All told, Ivey took the casino for close to $10 million. Here's how he did it.

This is an old story, surfacing now only because the Borgata finally filed suit. Ivey is actually involved in an almost identical case with the UK-based Crockfords Casino, also from 2012, but in that case, Ivey is suing the Crockfords for about million in winnings, after it returned his original million stake, but refused to pay him his winnings. We'll get to that, but for now, let's focus on how Ivey took down the house.

How Phil Ivey Beat (Or Maybe Cheated) A Casino For MillionsWhat is edge sorting?

Simply put, edge sorting is exploiting defects in the ways playing cards are designed and cut. Look at the cards below:

Image from A.P. Heat

The cards are supposed to cut off the pattern so that each edge of the card is identical to its opposite. However, these cards, manufactured by Gemaco, featured a defect that meant if you turned some cards around, and left the others the way they were originally, never shuffling them so that the edges were all mixed up, you could identify flipped cards from non-flipped. This is possible because in casinos, you're generally dealing with pre-shuffled decks, and if a shuffling machine is used, the vertical orientation of the cards will never change. And so, Ivey and his partner asked that the "good" cards for baccarat be flipped.

How Phil Ivey Beat (Or Maybe Cheated) A Casino For MillionsThe previous night he and his unnamed companion, a Chinese woman from Las Vegas, started with a million-pound stake and played punto banco in a private room until they lost a half million pounds. They asked to raise the stakes, from 50, 000 pounds per hand to 150, 000. The club agreed. Soon Ivey and company were up almost two million. They agreed to come back and play again the next night only if the club agreed to keep the exact same cards for them to use. "Superstition, " the mysterious woman explained. Crockfords agreed.

The next night when Ivey and his friend returned to play, the woman insisted that the dealers turn certain cards 180 degrees before putting them into the shoe to deal. Again, Ivey is superstitious, she explained. He also happened to be a very good tipper. The club again agreed to the unusual request. A few hours later, Ivey and his partner had won more than seven million pounds.

There are a few forces at work here. First, casinos bend over backwards to accommodate peculiar superstitions by big time gamblers—especially at table games in which the house has the edge—and Ivey is one of the biggest gamblers who's going to walk through your doors.

Interesting facts

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Popular Q&A
any tips on playing blackjack? how to beat the casino? | Yahoo Answers

First thing to understand about blackjack is the house has an edge of about .6%. This means over a large sample size the house is going to win more hands than you do.
That being said it is possible for you to "hit and run" and come out ahead. However, you have to STOP once you win. As the longer you play the more opportunities for the house to catch up.
As for how to play blackjack effectively you need to use "Basic strategy", you have to modify the chart for the rules of the table you are at. This is the chart I used when I was playing blackjack.
Feel free to drop me a line if yo…

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