Korean Woman Turns the Tables on Casino Cheaters

      July 01, 2009 07:48

      Yoon Young-im

      Yoon Young-im is a manager at the foreigners-only Seven Luck Casino at the Millennium Seoul Hilton, where she has just one main job: spotting cheaters. Some 350 CCTV cameras tracking every corner of the casino, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, are under her control.

      "It's quite a fun job if you enjoy tense moments," Yoon says. After graduating from university Yoon joined the Korea Tourism Organization in 2001, marketing Korea to American and European tourists for four years. When the KTO set up the foreigners-only Seven Luck Casino as an affiliate in 2005, Yoon, seeking a new challenge, volunteered to transfer. After starting as a scout for monitoring experts in Las Vegas, Yoon herself was selected as a monitoring agent.

      Switching from a KTO employee to a monitoring agent wasn't easy. Working with an American expert, she underwent intensive one-on-one training in Baccarat, blackjack and poker, and ways to detect sharpers. She reviewed videos of cheaters discovered in real casinos countless times. She continues to hone her skills by watching gambling movies like "Tajja (The War of Flower)", "21", and "Rounders." She also meets regularly with fellow casino experts in Las Vegas and Macau to swap information on new tricks and blacklisted gamblers.

      Cheaters aren't the only group that Yoon is after. She is also in charge of spotting thieves who steal from other guests, and casino employees who filch from the company. She is the only woman among the three monitoring department managers who each oversee one of the three casinos run by Seven Luck Casino.

      So how good at gambling is a person with a knack for spotting cheaters? "I occasionally visit casinos when I travel abroad, but I almost never win," Yoon says. "You might get lucky at a casino, but you won't have a windfall. It's best to enjoy it lightheartedly."

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