When Phil Ivey’s edge sorting case was brought to the headlines, not only poker players were interested in what was happening but the general audience as well. It captured everyone’s excitement when they won tens of millions of dollars using a technique unbeknownst to us all.
Seven years later, Ivanhoe Pictures, the division of SK Global that recently produced Crazy Rich Asians, is setting out to portray the true story of Phil Ivey and female partner, Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun. The movie’s working title, “The Baccarat Machine”, will feature Sun’s back story to be played by multimedia star, Nora ‘Awkwafina’ Lum
The film is described as “a young Chinese woman who turns a painstakingly developed talent and obsession for payback into beating the system at their own game. With major casinos conspiring to bar her from their properties, Sun partners with the international “King of Poker” Phil Ivey in order to take down the system through subterfuge, ingenuity, and pure daring, resulting in one of the most ingenious legal gambling runs ever documented.”
Awkwafina currently stars in her own TV comedy, Awkwafina is Nora from Queens which has already been renewed for a second season. Her leading role in The Farewell, also landed her the award, Golden Globe for Best Lead Actress in a Musical or Comedy. Most recently, she appeared in Jumanji: The Next Level and has played supporting roles in Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s 8 and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising in the past.
The edge sorting saga
Ivey and Sun partnered back in 2012 and used edge sorting techniques to win tens of millions at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City and Crockfords in London. Michael Kaplan’s article in Cigar Aficionado, which inspired the film, provides us an insight on how the pair won their money.
‘It involves capitalizing on casinos that use playing cards in which the edges on either side are unevenly cut by fractions of an inch. In the game of mini-baccarat, in which players do not touch their cards, Kelly employed social engineering techniques to convince Chinese-speaking dealers to turn certain cards “for good luck.” It allowed her to set the decks so that she could recognize the game’s key cards: sixes, sevens, eights and nines.’
While they have made quite the names for themselves in the gambling scene, the two remain entangled in legal battles with the court ruling in favor of the casinos, requiring them to pay back millions of baccarat winnings.