Two RWS casino dealers jailed for colluding with poker player

A surveillance manager at RWS noticed Chua bending the edges of the ace and king cards when they were dealt to him on July 14.
A surveillance manager at RWS noticed Chua bending the edges of the ace and king cards when they were dealt to him on July 14.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Two Resorts World Sentosa casino dealers were jailed on Wednesday after they were caught colluding with a patron to cheat at poker.

Chinese national Zhang Zhijiu, 40, pleaded guilty to two of six charges and was jailed for eight months for colluding with 65-year-old Singaporean Chua Lai Huat in three-card poker games on June 29 and July 14.

He did this by showing the value of the last card of the dealer's deck to Chua.

In the same court, Malaysian Choo Hui Yong, 27, was given four months' jail after pleading guilty to one of three similar charges involving the same patron.

A district court heard that a surveillance manager at RWS noticed Chua bending the edges of the ace and king cards when they were dealt to him on July 14.

It was also observed that Zhang would flash the last card in the dealer's deck to Chua when he took the cards out from a shuffling machine.

Both actions allowed Chua to gain an unfair advantage.

Further investigation showed that sometime in May, Chua befriended Zhang and suggested that the croupier flash the last card to him. In return, Chua would pay him 20 per cent of the day's winnings.

Zhang agreed. Between June 29 and July 14, he flashed the last card 370 times to Chua and was paid $400.

In Choo's case, he flashed the last card 138 times to Chua who gave him $600 in return for his co-operation.

Seeking a jail sentence of four months to be imposed on each charge, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jean Ting said the offences were planned, pre-meditated and hard to detect.

The dealer, she said, tilted the card at an angle that the co-accused could see and in a manner which was not immediately apparent to other casino patrons at the table.

She said the accused had abused his position of trust to ensure fair play.

Chua's case will be mentioned on Oct 7.

Zhang and Choo could each have been fined up to $150,000 and/or jailed for up to seven years under the Casino Control Act.