A distinction without a difference in my view. If I were using this tactic while playing around the kitchen table with my poker buddies, I'd think myself a cheat. Why not also when I'm playing in a casino? Is it okay to cheat them and not my friends?
http://apheat.net/2013/12/10/edge-sorting-101/A lawsuit from a casino accuses one of the world's highest-profile poker players of being a cheat—at least when it comes to baccarat. The Borgata casino of Atlantic City has sued Phil Ivey, claiming he won a total of $9.6 million through a scheme that violates New Jersey casino rules, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Specifically, the lawsuit accuses Ivey of "edge sorting." It's complicated, but the suit says Ivey exploited a design flaw on the backs of the cards that helped him sort and arrange desirable cards, reports the Star-Ledger.
For those of you that don't know what Edge Sorting is, here's a tutorial.
For the lazy, take a look at the back of that deck of cards you keep in your desk drawer. Is the design perfectly symmetrical left/right top/bottom? Bet [if] it's not.
So they paid him and now they want their money back. I don't know the law, but if it were illegal, they'd have pressed charges rather than file a suit. Or both maybe.
But for the scheme to work, the cards needed to be flipped by the dealer in particular ways, explains AP. Ivey allegedly accomplished this with the help of a Mandarin-speaking assistant, who convinced the dealer to do so out of "superstition." The casino finally put an end to Ivey's gambling after four sessions. Maybe it got wind of the legal fight he is currently in with British casino Crockfords: Ivey is accused of winning $12 million in essentially the same fashion at another form of baccarat called Punto Banco, notes the Review-Journal.
This isn't a new cheat. For a casino, the fix is dirt simple.
Fix 1: use symmetrical decks.
Fix 2: include a turn in the shuffle.
Likely a cheat will select a casino that 1) uses asymmetrical decks and 2) doesn't include a turn with the shuffle.
More to the point, a casino may not strictly control the way each dealer shuffles; some dealers will include a turn and some won't. This will eliminate the fast number of [competent] casinos but what's left is probably plenty; you only need one. I don't go to casino's so I don't know how that works.
Did Phil use this advantage while playing the poker tournaments? It wouldn't work for in any tourney I've watched because of the shuffling method but I've only watched a limited number.
A note about my opening remarks. I don't consider card counting a cheat. The casino is betting you don't know the odds. Or understand what odds are. It is perfectly fair to beat those odds.