Casino cheater to be sentenced

Aug. 30, 2009 at 10:29 PM

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The leader of a card-cheating ring faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in San Diego federal court this week, officials said.

Phuong Quoc Truong, 44, known in gambling circles as Pai Gow John, was a leader of the ring that took up to $7 million from 25 casinos. In an era of high tech cheating, the Truong scheme was exceedingly old fashioned, Jeff Murphy, a casino security expert in Oregon told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The ring, which included 30 participants, relied on the false shuffle. The leaders of the ring recruited dealers from casinos around the country and taught them the skill they needed.

Generally targeting baccarat, they would teach the dealer to create a slug. During the first deal, a recorder determines the order of cards and for the next deal, the dealer keeps a group of cards, usually up to 40, together, called a slug. Once the slug is reached, members of the ring bet on the next card to appear.

Truong pleaded guilty in April 2008 of conspiracy and racketeering and agreed to forfeit property worth almost $2.8 million.

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