Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Blackjack Card-Marking Cheating Scam Hits Delaware Casino!


After a week-long investigation into a blackjack cheating team at Delaware Park Casino, Delaware State Police Detectives assigned to the Division of Gaming Enforcement made the arrests of Huan Quan Yu, 59; Jiehui Huang, 49; and Raymond Li, 57; all of San Francisco, CA. Casino security, surveillance and table game personnel had observed suspicious activity at a blackjack table. Jiehui Huang had used a gaming chip to make indentation marks on “ten valued” playing cards. Huang was caught in the early stages of the cheating scam being assisted by Huan Quan Yu and Raymond Li, all originally from New York, but carrying driver’s licenses from San Francisco, CA. Yu and Li were players at the same blackjack table and attempted to use the knowledge of the marked cards to their advantage. The suspects were quickly taken into custody before they could commit the theft.

A search of Yu’s rented vehicle at Delaware Park Casino yielded evidence that the group of men were targeting casinos across the country. The cheaters are suspected of being part of a larger organized cheating team working out of New York City and San Francisco and have been observed at casinos on the West Coast, the East Coast and the Mid-West.

Detectives have further linked Yu to a similar theft which occurred at Dover Downs Casino in November 2010. The investigation into the Dover Downs incident remains under investigation with additional suspects being identified but not yet arrested. Detectives have also linked Yu to crimes at several casinos in Pennsylvania. Those criminal charges are pending extradition from Delaware.

All three were arrested at Delaware Park on several misdemeanor gaming crimes including altering a table game component, conspiracy, criminal mischief and attempted theft.

Yu posted a $3,500 cash bond on the misdemeanor charges but was held on a detainer on the Pennsylvania charges and committed to Gander Hill. Yu faces additional felony charges out of Delaware for theft, conspiracy, criminal mischief and altering a table game component.

Li and Huang were arraigned at JP Court 11 and released on unsecured bonds with a no-contact order with all Delaware casinos.

DGE officials have credited criminal intelligence networking between law enforcement and casino security/surveillance departments with solving this case and other cases in Delaware and other jurisdictions.

My take: Card-marking scams with casino chips seems quite amateurish, but I get the feeling these Asians were pretty good at it. Remember, you cannot touch the cards in these East Coast blackjack games, which means that you have to be pretty good to get your hands with the casino chip in them out to the cards on the table to mark them--without the dealer catching on. One method I know of is to tap the cards with the chip while saying to the dealer, "This is a tip for you," then you toss the chip to the dealer. That method can take the dealer's attention away from the fact you're actully marking the cards while giving him a tip.

These Asian teams have hit other casinos in Delaware and Pennsylvania with the same scam. And remember, we saw another Asian team cheat Foxwoods casino in Connecticut for nearly a million bucks with a holdout device.