Casino cheaters caught in $1 million baccarat scam in Maryland

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According to FBI.gov, in September 2017, a dealer and player cheated two Maryland casinos out of more than $1 million.

Baccarat? The game that’s played with an eight-shoe deck? How is that possible?

“The casino knew there had been cheating,” said FBI Special Agent Jason Bender of his investigation of the case. “What wasn’t known was exactly how the player did it.”

After closely reviewing the surveillance footage and conducting interviews with some of the other players at the table, FBI agents determined that the cheating player knew the order of the cards, so the dealer had to be involved. They arrested the dealer, who confessed and explained the scam.

The dealer had failed to shuffle a large clump of cards in the baccarat deck after he fanned them out in front of players.

The player “found a way to use his phone to take images of the cards as they were fanned out. Then he and the other gamblers he had recruited made smaller bets just to move the cards along and keep their seats. During this time, the player excused himself from the table on several occasions to go to the bathroom to review the images of the deck on his phone.”

The player didn’t have to memorize each card in the unshuffled section of the deck; he needed only to recognize the sequence of cards that signaled the unshuffled cards were due. “Then he just needed to remember the either/or sequence of the bets—as in player, banker, player, player.”

The player and his tablemates won 18 of 21 hands, including one winning streak of 14 straight hands.

The dealer also confessed to carrying out a similar scam at another casino where he’d previously worked, winning nearly $200,000.

The player pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen funds and was sentenced to 13 months in prison. The dealer was fired, sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, given three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution equal to the full amount of the winnings.

In total, investigators found the pair cheated the two casinos of $1,046,560.