SINGAPORE: A 28-year-old Taiwanese man pled guilty on Wednesday (Dec 6) to the illegal use of a device to count cards.

Hung Jung-Hao was part of a foreign syndicate that won S$433,730 (US$324,100) over eight days of playing baccarat games at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino. He admitted to three counts under the Casino Control Act of conspiring to use a device to record cards dealt in the course of gaming at the casino, and several other similar charges were also considered in sentencing.

Hung was a sales manager and met his girlfriend and co-accused Chou Yu-Lun, 26, while she was working in a poker association in Taiwan. The pair met other syndicate members through poker games in Taiwan in late 2021.

The syndicate, whose members come from Malaysia or Taiwan, used card counting to improve the odds of bets based on the cards already dealt in games of 7UP Baccarat. The members also used a secret formula developed by a man interested in “advantage play” to skew the game’s odds in their favour. The formula was in the form of an Excel sheet. There were codes corresponding to the values and suits of the cards, which a person had to key into the Excel sheet to obtain a prediction of the game’s next outcome, a CNA article reported.

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In total, the syndicate executed its scheme over 11 betting sessions. Hung’s highest recorded win in court documents was S$89,200 over about three hours on Dec 23, 2022. He placed bets as an auxiliary on his girlfriend’s instructions through her communications with the marksman. The syndicate won S$433,730 from its operations at the MBS casino over eight days in December last year. No restitution has been made. Hung will return to court for mitigation and sentencing later this month.