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Interesting Baccarat Dealer Cheating-Case in Australia...Another Big Inside Baccarat Cheating Scam at Australia's Crown Casino Melbourne
Accused Baccarat Dealer Cheat
Supposedly it came to light during the Crown Casino's routine review of its big baccarat winners. The group of winners in question won some $430,000 during several baccarat sessions last April and May. Then the suspected dealer was taken to the casino's back room and interrogated. As is normal procedure, or at least what should be normal procedure, the interrogation of the dealer was recorded.
The dealer's attorney then requested access to the audio tapes but was told by the head of Crown Casino's investigation unit that the tapes no longer exist.
Finally, the shit hit the fan!
The scam itself, although not detailed, supposedly has the dealer informing a group of players what the cards were before the deal so that they could bet accordingly. Surveillance operators claimed they noticed the dealer lifting and shifting the cards before he dealt.
In any case, this is one of the most complicated cases of baccarat cheating I've yet heard of.
The head of investigations at James Packer’s Crown Resorts says audio recordings from a “holding room” used to interrogate an employee who allegedly scammed the casino giant out of more than $400,000 no longer exist.
In the high-roller Mahogany Room at Crown’s flagship Melbourne casino last year, baccarat dealer Michael Huo is alleged to have looked at cards and informed his associates – card players Fiona Shum, Yixuan Cui and Ke Wang – which cards were about to be dealt, helping them win $431,000 across 58 hours of playing at his table in March and May.
Mr Hou came to the company's attention during a “routine” review of the previous day's 10 biggest winners, including examining CCTV footage of their betting and pulling up data on their betting patterns.
Crown’s internal investigators arrested Mr Huo and his co-accused on the night of May 1, when the three women were playing at his table. Mr Huo was detained for more than three hours in a “holding room” before police arrived, the Melbourne Magistrates Court was told.
Defence lawyers have sought access to a logbook of the personal audio devices worn by the casino’s security and investigations staff on the night of the arrest, as well as audio and visual recordings of the interrogation of Mr Huo, and copies of text messages sent and received by investigators during the interrogation.
Peter Haag, representing Mr Hou, said Crown was refusing to comply with court orders to produce evidence and on Monday subpoenaed Crown’s investigations manager, Jason McHutchison.
“The orders of the court last time were not complied with,” Mr Haag said, “and the subpoena endeavours to obtain the materials that were the subject to the court orders last time by a different route.”
Mr McHutchison said his text messages were cleared when he replaced his smartphone late last year because he “didn't think they contained any evidentiary value”, while an audio recording from the holding room that day had since been deleted, because a request was not made for it to be preserved within 14 days.
“It wasn’t requested in the time frame,” he said. “It’s no longer in existence.”
Defence lawyers also sought a logbook of personal recording devices worn by Crown staff on the night, and copies of those recordings.
But Mr McHutchison said the logbook did not contain relevant information and did not produce it. He also said the “only recording I was able to obtain was my own”. “The rest cannot be found,” he said, adding that one had malfunctioned on the night.
Daniel Harris, the former senior surveillance analyst at the casino, said it was Crown’s routine practice to conduct a review of CCTV and internal betting data for the top-10 winners each day, to “see if they are legitimate”.
Mr Harris said surveillance footage showed Mr Huo spending an unnecessary amount of time straightening and handling cards.
“The front few cards could be seen to shift slightly and were leaning over the deck,” he said.
The hearing before Magistrate John Bentley continues.
My book, AMERICAN ROULETTE (St. Martin's Press), tells the true story of my twenty-five years as a professional casino cheater. Upon arriving in Las Vegas, in my early twenties, I supported myself solely through legitimate gambling. However, I soon found myself broke and homeless, living under a highway overpass. I eventually sought gainful employment in the only industry I had knowledge of, becoming a Blackjack and Baccarat dealer. Armed with experience on both sides of the tables, my mentor to be, Joe Classon taught the ways of a professional casino cheater.
Although retired, I keep up on the various cons and scams that law enforcement is largely unable to adequately police.