It absolutely disgusts me that whenever someone beats the casino they are immediately labeled a “cheater” by the casinos, but what disgusts me even more is how the mainstream media and others jump on board.
Let me first state that my opinions are obviously based on the facts that have been made available so far. If new facts emerge then my perspectives may change as well, but this post is based on the facts as I understand them at this point in the case.
Phil Ivey recently played baccarat in England and won over 12 million dollars in a two-day period. How did he do it? He used an advantage play called “edge sorting.” I don’t want to take the time to explain exactly what it is or how it can be used to a players advantage, but basically the player detects inconsistencies on the backs of the cards and uses them to their advantage. In NO WAY are the cards marked or tampered with by the player. The player, much like with card counting, “hole carding”, etc., is simply using their mind in a game where decisions need to be made. Again, if facts emerge that Mr. Ivey did indeed mark the cards or alter them in some way, that is a completely different situation.
The casinos choose what games to offer, all the rules, all the equipment, and when a player uses their mind to figure out a way to get an advantage in any of these games, they are automatically labeled “cheaters.”
Millions upon millions of people play at casinos around the world every day with a mathematical disadvantage and have almost no chance of ever coming out ahead of the casino financially. Sure, they may walk out an occasional winner, but their mathematical fate insures long term financial lose.
It’s OK if these people are inebriated by alcohol or other intoxicants while they bet their mortgage and car payments; however, if someone actually takes the time to study the games and find a slight mathematical edge to put in THEIR favor, meaning they may have an actual chance of beating the casino over the long-term, they are CHEATERS. The hypocrisy puts anger in my veins and hatred in my heart.
Let’s be clear here. There are many people that actually do break the laws and cheat to get an edge in the casino. Those are not the people I am referring to. Those people should be prosecuted and penalized for their acts, but Phil Ivey as far as the facts that have been laid out so far show, is not among them.
It should be noted that Phil Ivey is the one who has issued the lawsuit. If the casino truly believed he was cheating wouldn’t they have not only withheld his winnings but pressed charges and prosecuted him? Instead, Ivey is initiating the lawsuit because he knows what he did is not cheating.
Now, I know nothing about the particulars of British law but some have claimed this may be considered “cheating” under their law. If making mental calculations and decisions in a casino card game is deemed to be breaking the law in the UK and in fact cheating, then anyone who ever wins in a casino can be charged with “cheating.”
If I choose to stand on 18 when the dealer has an up-card of 6 because I know my chances of winning are better if I stand vs. hitting and taking another card, is that cheating? There is no difference whatsoever. Phil Ivey noticed the card patterns on the backs of the cards were different. He used these observations to help calculate which hand statistically had a better chance of winning and bet on that hand. These are the same types of decisions as a player standing on 18 with a dealer up-card of 6 in blackjack.
Once again the casino can’t stand the fact that they were beaten. Whether it was 12 million, 12 thousand, or 12 hundred, it doesn’t matter. They were beaten fairly, now it’s time to pay the man his money.
They choose the games, rules, equipment, but that is not enough. Even though 99% of all gamblers will lose more than they win, that is not enough. I must ask, “When is it enough?” The answer is simple. They not only want to choose the games, the rules, etc., they also want to be able to choose who wins and loses as well, then it will be enough.