Duo Sentenced for Maryland Casinos Scam. What ever your taste in table games, you’ll find that baccarat offers some of the best odds. But sometimes the odds are just too good to be true. Last week the FBI arrested a couple who managed to take more than $1 million from two Maryland casinos.
Introduction: Maryland Casinos Scam
A very lucky Chenguang Ni managed to win more than $850,000 from one casino in September 2017. It turns out that those winnings came from a long and spectacular win at a table where his accomplice, Ming Zhang, was the croupier. Well, fancy that! Though the FBI didn’t name the establishment in questions, federal prosecutors identified the casino as the MGM National Harbor. Check out Free Spin Casino for huge wins.
So how did this resourceful pair manage to play the casino for such a huge sum? Online casino news from the US has the lowdown. Well, let’s start with the game itself. In Baccarat, the dealer deals out 2x pairs of cards, one set for the player and the other for the “bank”. The point value of each set is then valued. You bet on the hand which will have closest to the nine total points. According to general playing stats, in an eight-deck game, the dealer has the advantage and the higher hand about 45.9% of the time. The player will have a 44.6% chance. But when the FBI looked into the way Ni played, they could see that he won 18 out of 21 hands. And during that session, he had the good fortune to win 14 consecutive times in a row. Yep, something definitely fishy going on!
The Baltimore special FBI agent assigned to the case, Jason Bender, said that casino officials contacted the office the day following the big win. At the time, no one could work out how the scheme had worked.
Maryland Casinos Scam: The Scheme
After interviewing the other players at the table, and with Ming Zhang eventually admitting his role in the scheme, investigators were finally able to put all the pieces in the puzzle together. First off, Ni approached the other table players and simply asked them to follow his lead. The FBI stated that Zhang confessed to meeting with Ni earlier in the year. It was then that their audacious plan was hatched. Zhang was working at the two Maryland casinos involved. He would simply notify Ni ahead of his work shifts at either one.
Your Phone and Your Memory
The trick was in the way the decks were shuffled, or rather not shuffled. Ni would present the cards to the players. He would shuffle the decks but ensure that one part of the deck would remain un-shuffled. So, in effect, they would remain the same as they were displayed on the table. When the cards were displayed, Ni would take a photo on his phone. He would then retire to the bathroom to study the photo, before returning to the table. “He and the other gamblers he recruited would sit there for a while, playing smaller bets just to move the cards along and keep their seats,” Bender said. Of course this wouldn’t work with an online casino like Free Spin Casino.
Remember the Simple Order
Now once the un-shuffled cards appeared, the players around the table would all start increasing their bets. Ni needed to remember the sequence of the bets, as in “player:banker:player:player” etc. Once successful at the one casino, the couple put the same scheme into place at Zhang’s other workplace. I guess that it would work at any of these online casino sites in the US. That time they won almost $200,000. It was good while it lasted….which wasn’t very long.
It Doesn’t End Well
Both Zhang and Ni were charged in September 2018 on charges of conspiracy to transport stolen funds. Last month they both agreed to plead guilty. Ni received 13 months in Federal prison for his efforts. But because he’d been in custody awaiting trial since November 2018, his sentence was commuted to time served. Unfortunately he was then ordered to be deported as it turned out he’d been living in the States illegally. As for his partner in crime, Zhang got 18 months in prison. He must also find $1 million in restitution.