HE WAS quite the showoff who bragged about his achievements.
Today, he is noticeably quiet.
You would be, too, if you lost $26.3 million at the tables.
One local businessman here, in his 50s, lost that staggering amount in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) over just three days in June, reported Today earlier this week.
The high roller is reportedly the managing director of a multi-million dollar company.
He is now consulting a local law firm about possible legal action against the casino on grounds of negligence.
RWS, when contacted, said it does not comment on its customers.
One of the man's friends, a fellow high roller who wanted to be known only as Jason, told The New Paper that this big time gambler has been looking visibly depressed in recent weeks.
He got to know this businessman through a friend.
Said Jason in Mandarin: "Before the newspaper report was out, we already knew that he had lost money. He used to talk the loudest in the group and was quite the showoff.
"But after his loss, he became quieter."
Jason said that this businessman is married, even though it was reported that he was at the tables with girlfriend in tow.
A quick search on the Registry of Marriages showed that he's married to a foreigner. Said Jason: "I don't know much about his family but I know he's wealthy. He's a multi-millionaire and owns several houses and cars."
He travels in style too, chauffeured around in a uber-luxurious car worth at least $700,000. From what Jason has noticed about the businessman at the casino tables, he thought nothing of playing a few hundred thousand dollars a hand.
His favourite game? Baccarat.
Said Jason: "He makes a lot of noise when he plays. I think it's all about saving face and the need to show off to his friends around him."
So, he bets big.
He reportedly lost a staggering $18 million in one day alone, playing baccarat at $400,000 a hand.
Once when his losses crossed the $4-million mark, his girlfriend started crying and pleaded with a RWS' senior officers to stop giving him more chips on credit, claimed the businessman. The same officer, he claimed, assured him that the casino was prepared to extend him more credit, even though his limit had been exceeded.
Of his $26.3 million loss, the businessman repaid about $10 million.
It was reported that as of July 22, he still owed RWS some $13 million.
It is unknown if the debt has since been settled.
Jason said that he's not as hardcore a gambler as the high roller but confesses that he does bet big on the tables here sometimes.
But he does have a credit line of about $300,000 with both RWS and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) here. He said that as a high roller, he's very well-treated by casino operators here and worldwide. And for good reasons too.
These gamblers may make up only one per cent of a casino's clientele, but they may yield about 20 per cent of the revenue, an industry observer told The New Paper.
It is estimated that there are 200 to 300 high rollers here, reported the Straits Times in January.
The total gaming revenue for both RWS and MBS combined has been estimated at around US$3 billion ($4 billion) yearly, reported the Business Times earlier this month.
Most of the high rollers to Singapore casinos are from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singaporeans too, said the industry observer.
Typically, they bet anything from $5,000 to $200,000 a game, but the sky's the limit.
Jason said that he's on both casinos' VIP lists.
The casinos spare no expenses wining and dining their important guests.
Gaming suites, for instance, have plush carpets and glass cases stocked with bottles of brandy and Cuban cigars.
This high roller said he frequents the local casinos at least once a week.
Said Jason: "There's no limit on the number of drinks you can order, everything is free flow. You want the finest champagne, premium XO brandy, no problem."
The same goes for food, he said, adding that he enjoys the free flow of bird's nest too.
He added: "Usually, these gamblers don't care much about food. They're too busy gambling to care."
The popular games are roulette and baccarat. Each suite can accommodate at least a hundred gamblers at any time, he said.
His single biggest hand was $40,000 for baccarat.
So far, he's down about $5,000 for all his efforts.
He added: "I play for fun and to while away my time. I don't think I am addicted to it. I can control and walk away from (the table) anytime."
The VIP service accorded to high rollers here is hush-hush in the competitive gaming industry. The two operators were unwilling to disclose what went on behind their gilded closed doors. Also, the high rollers, who value their privacy, may turn up, gamble and leave without being seen, accessing a network of secret corridors, lifts and entrances to do so.
In fact, the VIP treatment begins at the airport of the high roller's host country.
A private jet specially chartered by the casino, free of charge of course, whisks him to his favourite casino.
We understand that RWS has a fleet of these jets to cater to these high-yield players. At Changi Airport, a VIP greeter at JetQuay, a luxury terminal with its own dedicated check-in and immigration services, meets him.
He's then ushered into a Rolls-Royce Phantom driven by a uniformed chauffeur.
At RWS, he'll be checked into the Crockfords Tower, an invitation-only hotel where its 120 suites are not open to the public.
No rack rates here. So no invitation, no stay.
Unless you have at least $100,000 to gamble with.
On arrival, services are personalised too, and a team of butlers wait on the guests round the clock, said RWS.
Food from any restaurant - or any part of Singapore for that matter - can be sent up to the rooms upon request.
The guest can even choose the pillow he wants - buckwheat, down feather or anti-snoring. High rollers also get to gamble in private rooms and have separate parts of the hotels set aside exclusively for them.
National Problem Gambling helpline: 1800-6-668-668
Tanjong Pagar Family Service Centre Helpline: 6593-6489
Ray of Hope: 1800-STOP-NOW (1800-7867-669)
One Hope Centre: 6547-1011
This article was first published in The New Paper.