They stole almost $900,000 from a casino using 19th Century technology

They stole almost $900,000 from a casino using 19th Century technologyAn Owen Magic Holdout – a card cheating device made by Owen Magic Supreme.
Four men from Korea won close to $900,000 in two weeks at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, using a cheating device called a holdout.

A holdout is a machine used to "hold out" an item until it’s needed, and then exchange that item with an item already in the hand. Holdout machines were likely invented as gambling devices in the 19th Century.

Magicians use holdouts to switch one card for another, or to make an item placed in a hand disappear or transform. (It’s one of the few times you’d be correct if you said, "There’s something up your sleeve.")

Gamblers use holdouts to switch a card they’ve "held out" with another card they were dealt that is currently in their hand.

Gamblers obviously have a huge advantage when they can exchange one of the cards in their hand for another card. It favorably increases a gambler’s odds when he is dealt, say, five cards in poker, but is secretly playing with six, and can switch any of the cards.

While a magician might be able to cover the use of a holdout by being farther away on stage, or moving in a theatrical manner, a gambler must look completely natural, and his holdout must be quiet and effective while he’s sitting at a table.

If a magician flubs a trick, the magician may appear foolish, but if a gambler accidentally reveals he’s cheating, the penalties are more severe.

They stole almost $900,000 from a casino using 19th Century technologyCloseup of a vest or coat holdout from the article  "Strange Inventions Used by Crooked Gamblers," Popular Mechanix, 1933
One of the cheating men at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Young Su Gy, 60, wore the holdout on his left forearm. Another man, Wookyung Kim, 34, provided misdirection by waving score cards. He blocked the dealer or patron’s view of Mr. Gy while he was working the device.

When Mr. Gy covered his cards with both hands and switched his hands back and forth, he operated the holdout device in his left sleeve, which would either put a card into his hand or take one away.

The men were playing baccarat, where two or more players gamble against the banker. A player wins if he gets closest to nine.

They had visited the casino 14 times. The casino notified the police after reviewing video surveillance. Unfortunately for the men, they’d used their Korean passports at the casino to obtain special player reward’s cards called Foxwoods Player Dream Cards, so when the men returned to the U. S., they were known, and were arrested.

They’ve been charged with cheating at gambling, first-, second- and third-degree larceny, and possession of a cheating device.

The two other men believed to have participated in the scam, Hyeong Kim and Hwasik Bang, are thought to be in Korea.

They stole almost $900,000 from a casino using 19th Century technologyThe gambling holdout invented by P. J. Kepplinger.

"The sharp being thus harnessed for the fray, it becomes apparent that by slightly spreading the knees, the string is tightened, and by this means the slide within the body of the holdout is thrust out, through the cuff, into his hand." – Sharps and Flats

They stole almost $900,000 from a casino using 19th Century technology The Coat or Vest Holdout, a forerunner to Kipplinger’s holdout.

"When the operator is seated at the table, he seizes a favorable opportunity of hooking the cord to the loop of his boot, and all is ready. Having obtained possession of the cards he wishes to hold out, he holds them flat in his hand, against his breast. Then, by merely stretching his leg, the cord is pulled, the seam of the coat opens (the aperture being covered, however, by his arm) and out comes the end of the slide. The cards are quietly inserted into the slide; the leg is drawn up, and — hey, presto! the cards have disappeared. When they are again required, another movement of the leg will bring them into the operator’s hand." – Sharps and Flats

A demonstration of a modern "gambler’s electronic holdout," available at Steven’s Magic Emporium>>

A dramatization about what happened when Mr. P. J. Kepplinger’s used his holdout device, "the finest cheating machine the world has ever seen," to cheat other card sharks. From The History Channel.

– Sharps and Flats – a complete revelation of the secrets of cheating, 1894, Chapter 5 – Holdouts by John Nevil Maskelyne– Comprehensive article about holdouts at Cardshark>>
– Foxwoods Cheater Hid Cards Up Sleeve: Cops, NBC Connecticut>>
– Device allegedly used to rip off nearly $900,000 at the baccarat table, The Day Connecticut>>

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One thought on “They stole almost $900,000 from a casino using 19th Century technology

  1. Maybe casinos should have a dress code where all players have to wear short-sleeved shirts, thus exposing any arm-based holdouts.

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