Poker player jailed 12 months for colluding with dealers to cheat at RWS casino

Chua Lai Huat, 66, was jailed 12 months for colluding with three croupiers at RWS casino to cheat at poker.
Chua Lai Huat, 66, was jailed 12 months for colluding with three croupiers at RWS casino to cheat at poker.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE- An unemployed man who colluded with three croupiers at Resorts World Sentosa casino to cheat at poker was jailed for 12 months on Wednesday (Oct 7).

Singaporean Chua Lai Huat, 66, who faced a total of 36 charges, pleaded guilty to 10 counts.

His fraudulent scheme to gain advantage in the three-card poker game over a month netted him a total of $12,915, none of which had been paid back.

Two of the men he colluded with -Chinese national Zhang Zhijiu, 40, and Malaysian Choo Hui Yong, 27 - were sentenced to eight months' jail and four months respectively last month.

The third man, Sun Shihong, 38, a Chinese national, is on the run.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jean Ting said a surveillance manager at RWS noticed Chua, described as a prime mover who initiated the entire scheme, bending the edges of the Aces and Kings in the cards which were dealt to him by Zhang at the poker table on July 14.

The witness saw Zhang flash the last card in the dealer's deck to Chua. Both actions allowed Chua to gain an unfair advantage in the game.

A review of the CCTV footage for one month from June 13 showed that Chua had also bent the cards at the game tables manned by Sun and Choo. These two men had similarly flashed the last card in the dealer's deck to Chua.

Further investigation showed that some time in May, Chua had befriended Zhang and suggested that the latter flash the last card to him so that he could gain an advantage in the game. Chua promised to pay Zhang 20 per cent of the day's winnings.

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

Ms Ng said to further gain an advantage in the game, Chua used an improvised rheumatism plaster he pasted on his right index finger to mark an imprint on the Aces and Kings he was dealt with. This would help him make a more informed decision to give up or continue in the game.

Between June 29 and May 14, Chua marked cards a total of 493 times at the poker table.

In June, he asked Zhang to recommend other dealers he could collude with. Zhang then introduced Sun, his roommate, to him. Both Chinese nationals shared the winnings.

Chua befriended Choo and suggested a similar arrangement be set up. Choo agreed and flashed the last card to Chua a total of 138 times. He was given $600 for his co-operation in the scheme.

Chua's lawyer Ronald Ng said that overall, his client had lost money and owed the casino $45,000. He also told District Judge Lee Poh Choo that Chua suffers from a host of medical problems including severe gastritis, diabetes and haemorrhoids.

Chua could have been been fined up to $150,000 and jailed for up to seven years per charge.