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Card Holdout Cheating Device Used in Foxwoods Baccarat Cheating Scandal

14 January 2011 by Devon Chappell

The notorious card holdout cheating device!

The notorious card holdout cheating device!

OCS is by no means an advocate of cheating the online casinos. Of course, we want as much Player’s Edge as the next guy, but when it comes to dishonest, unethical practices, like collusion, identity theft and bonus abuse (three big no-no’s for online gamblers), we have to take the side of the casino operators. That said, don’t even think twice about doing what I’m about to tell you. As you’ll soon find out, it all comes back around, my friends. Like they say in France, Karma’s a bitch. Okay, maybe they don’t say it in France…but I bet at least one French person has said it before, so…oui, oui

Anyhow, the kind of cheating that takes place in brick ‘n mortar casinos is of a different breed than what goes down on the internet. The gambler is right in the midst of it at a brick ‘n mortar casino, while on the internet, there’s a gulf of 1’s and 0’s between the bettor and and the online casino. Considering the component of human contact at a land-based casino, such as touching chips and interacting with dealers, there is actually a greater likelihood of cheating going down at a brick ‘n mortar casino, hence the need for all those video surveillance cameras.

Case in point was a cheating scandal recently unearthed at the famous Connecticut tribal casino, Foxwoods. Taking place at the high stakes Baccarat tables – a simple card game with few actions and three possible outcomes – a group of four Korean nationals were able to walk away with $870,000 in winnings. Chalked up to luck and perhaps some skill, the four were able to cashout at multiple times, and leave without suspicion. Apparently, neither live monitoring of the surveillance cameras, nor security personnel on the casino floor could see the group perpetrating a crime. However, replay of the surveillance cameras, at a later time, exposed an intricate affair that involved a mechanical device for storing cards and a human shield.

Look Ma, no hands!...I mean...Go Go Gadget Card Holdout!!!

Look Ma, no hands!...I mean...Go Go Gadget Card Holdout!!!

According to newly released police reports, one man, Young Su Gy, 50, had the device (called a holdout) under his left sleeve, which the suspect would trigger to drop a card into his palm, which he would use to replace the card from his dealt hand.  Not only would this help improve the hand he was wagering on – either the Player or the Banker (the two main bets at Baccarat) – Mr. Gy would have up to four cards simultaneously up his sleeve to use at the next opportune moment. It obviously works – Gy won nearly $1 million playing Baccarat at Foxwoods.

But he didn’t do it by himself. A second man, Wookyung Kim, 34 (who along with two other unidentified men at other times) was a human shield, waving score cards to obstruct anyone on the floor and other players at the table from noticing Gy’s use of the holdout device, which could be seen with the naked eye if stared over long enough. In this case, it took zoomed footage obtained from surveillance cameras to see the holdout in action after the fact.

The two breaks in the case were 1) Gy and Kim signed up to use Foxwoods Player Dream Cards with their passports, thus giving identification and 2) Gy and Kim came back into the country to try it a second time. On November 19th, it was reported by the US Department of Homeland Security, that the two men had arrived at JFK International on a plane from Korea, having successfully passed through customs a day earlier. However, Foxwoods Casino was notified, an alert was given, and sure enough – like a holdout device goes up a sleeve – Gy and Kim were back at Foxwoods the very same day, attempting pull their very same act. They were later served an arrest warrant at a Holiday Inn. And now, they’re in jail.

And for all the card holdout Connoisseur's...how 'bout a holdout harness?

And for all the card holdout Connoisseur's...how 'bout a holdout harness?

I have to admit, this was no easy feat. At Baccarat, whose rules and structure are somewhat similar to both Blackjack and Craps, multiple bettors sit around a table, each player getting a turn dealing the cards (the rotating shoe). The player who makes the highest wager at the table, which not surprising, was primarily Mr. Gy, is dealt the Player Hand, while the other hand is openly laid before the shore. It wasn’t confirmed whether Gy was also swapping cards while serving as the dealer, but I doubt it. The holdout device would likely become noticeable.

To a professional cheater, such as former Baccarat dealer and cheating exper, Richard Marcus, the scheme is nothing new under the Sun. Marcus was interviewed for the original story by the Norwich Bulletin, stating, “Holdout devices are mainly used in poker games, dating back to Mississippi riverboat days and the Old West”. Marcus found it incredulous that Foxwoods casino security let this happen, and shamed them for letting the crooks get away with nearly $1 million. But the greatest shame falls on Young Su Gy and Wookyung Kim, who now are now being held in prison and wait their day in court, February 7, 2011.

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