Did you ever consider cheating at blackjack? The fact is, unless you’re among the most elite professional blackjack players, utilizing adept card counting skills and an unwavering strategy, the casino will always have an advantage, and will win more money off you than it loses in the long term.
Perhaps that’s what drove Brisbane Broncos’ forward Joe Ofahenguae to try cheating at blackjack. According to reports, the famed NRL star admitted to such behavior after being accused by the Treasury Casino on the early morning of April 8th, 2017.
Details surrounding the Broncos star forward’s cheating scandal are still a bit sketchy, as the magistrate never filed the case as a conviction. However, prosecutors confirmed in magistrate court on Friday that Ofahenguae was caught by the casino’s video surveillance cameras slipping “the $100 chip under the $15 chip” after winning a hand of blackjack.
This method of cheating at blackjack and other casino table games is generally known as “pinching”, or “past-posting” a bet. It is rarely successful, because it requires a highly acute sleight-of-hand motion. More often than not, the dealer will catch on right away if a player even attempts it, cuing the security team to replay the surveillance video.
In Joe Ofahenguae’s case, the blackjack dealer did not notice what the player had done, instead paying out the $115 winnings for the hand. However, the security team, who always keeps a close watch on the action at the blackjack tables via overhead cameras, noticed the sleight-of-hand motion, and quickly moved in.
When staff members questioned the skilled young NRL forward, he admitted to cheating at blackjack and promptly returned his ill-gotten gains to the casino.
Initially, authorities would not confirm whether Joe Ofahenguae was the young man involved in the incident at Treasury Casino, but a police spokesman revealed enough information to clearly point in his direction. The spokesman only said that a 21-year-old male was issued a notice to appear in court following an incident that occurred at 5.45am on April 8 at the Treasury Casino in Brisbane.
Joe Ofahenguae did not appear actually in court that day. Instead, he submitted an official letter to the courts entering of plea of guilty, while stating that he was “unable to attend court on the day mentioned”.
The magistrate fined him $400 for cheating at the casino. Because the Broncos star pleaded guilty, and cooperate fully with the investigation – and since the casino did not seek restitution – the case was not recorded as a conviction.
The Brisbane Broncos arbitrarily gave merit to the story when team officials confirmed that they were aware of the situation, and that the NRL is looking into the matter.
Broncos CEO Paul White said:
“The club is aware of the matter and has notified the NRL Integrity Unit about it.
“We will allow due course to run and then determine if any further action is to be taken.”
At 21 years old, Joe Ofahenguae – the nephew of ex-Wallabies star flanker “Willie O” Ofahenguae – played in the Broncos 2015 grand final, in which they lost to the Cowboys. After a stellar performance in his first year, he was stripped from the team’s forward rotation midway through last year.
If the NRL looks too negatively on his admitted cheating at blackjack, his budding future in the league could come to an abrupt end. Considering how harshly Australian sports authorities have dealt with recent situations involving gambling – albeit most of them involved betting on or against one’s own team – Ofahenguae’s career could be in a lot of hot water.