Lynnwood gambler suspected of cheating at cards in casinos

LYNNWOOD — An aerospace worker could face criminal charges on allegations that he’s a practiced card room cheat.

The 43-year-old Lynnwood man reportedly switched cards between his hands during games of Pai Gow, or double-hand poker, at casinos in Snohomish and King counties.

The alleged cheating took place between March and September 2016. The scheme netted more than $6,600, according to the state Gambling Commission.

Special agents with the commission arrested the man at his workplace in Arlington in December. He posted bail hours later.

The agents recently forwarded their investigation to Snohomish County prosecutors for review. The newspaper obtained the agents’ reports last week through a public records request. As of Friday, the man had not been charged.

He is suspected of 13 counts of second-degree cheating, which is a misdemeanor under state gambling laws. He also is accused of five counts of misdemeanor theft.

Locations included Crazy Moose Casino and Red Dragon Casino in Mountlake Terrace, Royal Casino and Great American Casino south of Everett, and Silver Dollar Casino near Mill Creek. Several of the casinos trained high-resolution surveillance cameras on the man while he played and provided the footage to investigators.

The man would wager for multiple sets of hands at once, which complicated the game play.

The videos showed that the man “furtively switched cards between each hand to improve one or both hands,” Special Agent Danny Lisa wrote in the report. “This gave him an unfair advantage over the card rooms.”

At the Royal Casino in March 2016, one dealer said she became suspicious when the man told her, “Don’t say anything,” in Vietnamese.

That prompted a review of the surveillance footage and led to the involvement of the authorities. Several of the casinos shared warnings with the man’s photograph and player information with one another last year.

Great American reported that he had switched cards while a dealer adjusted her chip tray.

Records from that casino showed he had played nearly 200 games of Fortune Pai Gow, a variation of the game, there since 2007. At the Silver Dollar in September, he reportedly left with $2,950 in uncashed chips after the dealer caught on and called his supervisor.

The man also was accused of cheating in Las Vegas last year, court papers show. Cheating at gambling generally is a misdemeanor unless it involves a conspiracy or a casino employee.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

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