pai gow john's great big gambling scheme

The leader of a crew that took casinos for about $7 million in a cheating scheme pleaded guilty last week to racketeering conspiracy charges in San Diego: Leader pleads guilty in casino scam. Phuong Quoc Truong, nicknamed "Pai Gow John," ran a sophisticated operation that enlisted shady dealers to rig blackjack and mini-baccarat games and gamblers to place big bets. Federal authorities are describing it as one of the largest cheating schemes ever busted. Truong pleaded guilty, along with six others involved with the scheme. Twelve other suspects await trial. Truong's crew once won $868,000 in a 90-minute span by executing their trick of choice, the "false shuffle":
According to federal prosecutors, the scheme worked like this: A member of the crew, called the card recorder, would track the order of blackjack cards, relaying them with a hidden transmitter to an off-site associate who would enter the sequence into a computer.

The bribed dealers would then perform false shuffles, creating a "slug" of unshuffled cards. The slug would be returned to the shoe, the device that holds the cards being dealt. When the slug cards were dealt in later rounds, the card recorder would signal associates at the table to dramatically increase their bets on hands the recorder knew would probably win. The off-site associate, using a card-tracking computer program, would relay when the odds were the greatest.

"Executing the scheme in this fashion the . . . organization would frequently steal approximately $50,000 in approximately 10 minutes of play," the indictment states
The cheating ring, which included several former dealers from San Diego-area card clubs, targeted 16 casinos across the country. Intriguing. Sounds like you could make, like, a movie or something about these guys. Of course, I imagine producers would probably change things up so that Pai Gow John would be played by Brendan Fraser or something. I've heard Hollywood does that sometimes, you know?

angry archive