“Kelly” Cheung Yin Sun was out for personal revenge against MGM Resorts, which was why she and Phil Ivey targeted the Borgata for their high-stakes baccarat edge-sorting spree in 2012.
MGM owned 50 percent of the Borgata at the time, a stake it has since increased to 100 percent when it bought out Boyd Gaming in May this year.
The revelation is buried deep within a 5,000-word New York Times Magazine article on the subject of advantage casino players, written by the Michael Kaplan, and published in June.
Its relevance to the Borgata case was spotted this week by John Brennan, writing for NorthJersey.com, a week after Ivey and Sun were ordered by a New Jersey judge to repay the $10 million they won edge-sorting.
The article, in which Sun is interviewed among several other advantage players, also sheds some light on the background of the woman who is has long been known simply as Phil Ivey’s edge-sorting partner.
When MGM Sent Kelly Sun to Prison
Sun, in her forties, is the daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong factory owner, now deceased. As a young woman, she lost $20 million of her father’s money gambling in casinos.
She claims not to care about the losses, but what she does care about is the fact that MGM once got her sent to prison for a $93,000 gambling debt, which was then a trifling sum to her.
“I was in jail for three weeks,” she told Kaplan. “Women attacked me, and the guards wouldn’t let me wear my own underwear. I lost 25 pounds in jail and didn’t get out until a relative flew here with $100,000 for the casino. I decided that one day I would get back the money by playing at MGM properties.”
The Queen of Sorts
On leaving prison, she devoted four whole years studying the backs of playing cards, until she was able to identify minute asymmetries in the patterns, which amounted to 1/32 of an inch or less.
She was the first person to identify the vulnerability in the cards and it earned her the nickname “The Queen of Sorts.”
Sun and Ivey won $9.6 million, during their stint at the mini-baccarat tables, plus an extra $504,000 at craps, which they have been ordered to repay following a protracted lawsuit.
During the sessions, they asked the dealer to rotate certain cards in the deck 180 degrees, which they explained away as a superstitious quirk.
But, in reality, they were sorting the deck into two distinguishable (to Sun) piles, allowing them to gain an edge over the house. Sun and Ivey maintained they won the money fair and square, using skill to beat the game.