Friday, May 13, 2011

Does the US Justice Department Care if You (Americans) Get Cheated Playing Online Poker?

You always read and hear that one of the US Justice Department's biggest reasons for its seemingly endless legal pursuit of online poker sites such as Full Tilt and PokerStars is that it just cannot stomach the fact that US players fall prey to online poker cheats using bots, collusion and other forms of cheating to wipe out their accounts, including plain and simple "wiping out accounts" without the victim even getting to an online poker table.

Is this true?

Absolutely not! The US justice department couldn't give two aces about whether or not you get cheated playing poker online. Many US attorneys probably think you deserve to get cheated if you're breaking the law to play poker online. The truth is that the Justice Department prosecutors chasing online poker moguls are motivated by nothing more than politics. What better way to shine up their resumes than by busting online poker bigwigs raking in billions through their "illegal" activity. Indictments and subsequent convictions bringing either jail time, fines or both can further a prosecutor's career, especially one with higher aspirations in government.

That said, We still must heed the one and only real and legitimate claim that the US Justice Department has in its campaign against online poker being played from the United States. That is the fact that minors and even young children can get access to online poker sites and gamble at a very tender--and DANGEROUS--age.

Did Someone or "Someones" Cheat the Atlantic City Tropicana Out of $6 Million on the Blackjack Tables???

In stunning news yesterday, the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City reported nearly two million dollars in losses for the month of April on its blackjack tables. This is HIGHLY unusual and probably never happened in a single month before, not only in Atlantic City but perhaps in Las Vegas as well. Casino blackjact tables might have a losing day or two or three...but a losing month? NEVER!

The Tropicana also reported having lost $6 million to a single player. That's right--SIX MILLION! So what happened here. Is this a major blackjack cheating scandal we're soon to hear about? Is it another MIT blackjack card-counting ring? Or is that the casino raised the limits sky high for some preferred high roller (they can do this with New Jersey Casino Control permission) and got beat?

Well, I really don't know, but what makes me suspicious of a possible huge cheating ring (and I say cheating ring because just because one player won the money, others could have been involved in various capacities), is that the Atlantic City Borgata reported breaking even on their blackjack tables for the same month of April. Breaking even over a month on casino blackjack tables is about as rare as the casino showing a huge loss on its blackjack tables. So I am thinking it's possible that the same $6 million-winner at the Tropicana had something to do with the Borgata's poor blackjack-earnings performance for the same thirty days.

Stay tuned! We might soon be hearing of a HUGE casino cheating scam.

Craps Cheat Teams Hitting Pennsylvania Casinos

Since Pennsylvania casinos obtained table games last year, we've been hearing mostly about poker and blackjack cheating scams. But now the craps cheating teams are working the state's casinos. The first PA casino cheating bust for craps nabbed Dennis Sweeney, 67, of Germansville and Thomas Rooney, 49, of Reading, PA. They were bagged at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National for using a dice-control craps cheat scam. Supposedly Rooney slid the dice so that at least one of them would not hit the back wall of the craps table and tumble while Sweeney diverted the table's attention with good ol' Irish banter so the craps crew working the table would not notice the scam. I do not know if the crew eventually noticed or surveillance up in the sky caught on. The two craps cheats pocketed $2,400 on the craps tables before being busted.

My take: Well, "Rooney and Sweeney"...or "Sweeney and Rooney"...sounds like a good ol' fashioned Irish casino cheating ring!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Foxwoods Hold-Out Device Baccarat Cheats Get Prison Time

Source: Reuters

A South Korean man and woman were each sentenced to more than a year in prison on Monday for a card-game gambling scheme last year that defrauded a Connecticut casino of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Prosecutors said Young Su Gy, 60, and Wookyung Kim, 34, traveled to the Foxwoods Resort Casino from South Korea to play Macao-style midi-Baccarat, a game in which the house dealer handles the cards.

Several times last fall, Gy used a so-called holdout device in his sleeve with which he could switch cards in and out of a game to his advantage, prosecutors said.

A holdout device can be a slight-of-hand trick or a hidden mechanism to hold and hide a card.

Kim meanwhile acted as a so-called blocker, distracting casino staff from observing Gy's use of the trick, authorities said.

Both of them wagered on the games and made thousands of dollars at a time, prosecutors said.

"Through this scheme, Gy and Kim were able to defraud Foxwoods of several hundred thousand dollars," said David Fein, U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, in a statement.

In U.S. District Court in Hartford, Judge Alvin Thompson sentenced Gy to 18 months in prison and Kim to one year and a day in prison for cheating the Uncasville, Connecticut-based Foxwoods, a casino complex operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

They also got three years supervised release and were ordered to pay restitution of $870,505.

They had faced the possibility of 20 years in prison.

The two were arrested in November, and in February they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft from a gambling hall on Indian land.

They admitted causing losses of between $400,000 and $1 million to Foxwoods.

My take: Wow! This seems like quite a light sentence. Convicted craps cheat Richard Taylor, who ran a casino craps cheating operation at Foxwoods that netted $70,000, got ten years in state prison for his efforts. In effect, he got ten times the time the Koreans got but only cheated the casino out of about one-tenth of what the Koreans did.

Try and figure casino justice!