| SAN DIEGO, Sept 27
SAN DIEGO, Sept 27 World-renowned professional
poker player Archie Karas, has been arrested on charges of
cheating and defrauding a casino after authorities say he was
caught marking cards at a California blackjack table.
Karas, 62, best known for reputedly building a beginning
stake of $50 into a $40 million fortune during a record
three-year winning streak, was taken into custody on Tuesday at
his Las Vegas home, the San Diego County District Attorney's
Office said on Friday.
He will be extradited to San Diego to face a criminal
complaint filed last week charging him with burglary, winning by
fraudulent means and cheating, the prosecutor's office said.
If convicted, Karas, whose real name is Anargyros
Karabourniotis, faces a maximum penalty of three years in
"This defendant's luck ran out thanks to extraordinary
cooperation between several different law enforcement agencies
who worked together to investigate and prosecute this case,"
said county District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
According to prosecutors, Karas was spotted by surveillance
cameras marking cards - using tiny smudges of dye secretly wiped
onto the backs of jacks, queens, kings and aces - while playing
blackjack in July at the Indian-owned Barona Resort and Casino
in Lakeside, California.
The marks gave Karas an unfair advantage by helping him
identify the value of cards before they were dealt as he chose
whether to take another card, or hold, in an effort to reach the
winning value of 21 without going over, prosecutors said.
The scheme worked so well that he managed to cheat the
casino out of more than $8,000 before he was caught, district
attorney's office spokesman Steve Walker said.
'THREAT TO THE GAMING INDUSTRY'
California Justice Department spokeswoman Michelle Gregory
said Karas was doing the marking with dye inserted into a
hollowed-out gambling chip that he would inconspicuously swipe
over the cards while playing through a deck.
A search warrant executed on Karas's home turned up
hollowed-out chips from other casinos, but so far no other
gambling establishments have lodged complaints against him,
But authorities said Karas has been accused of cheating
"The Nevada Gaming Control Board has investigated Karas on
multiple occasions resulting in four arrests," said Karl
Bennison, that agency's enforcement chief, said in a statement.
"Karas has been a threat to the gaming industry in many
Karas set the record for the largest and longest documented
winning streak in gambling history from 1992 to 1995, arriving
in Las Vegas with $50 in his pocket and going on to amass $40
million from high-stakes poker.
He subsequently lost most of those winnings at baccarat and
dice games in three weeks, according to Tom Sexton, who
publishes the online gambling magazine Poker News. Karas
returned to the poker table many times, often with backers, and
cleaned out many of the best players in the world, according to
He is considered by many to have been the greatest gambler
of all time and often has been compared with Nick "the Greek"
Dandolos, another high-stakes gambler and high roller who died
San Diego County has 19 federally recognized Indian tribes
and 10 Indian casinos, more than any other county in the United
States. Industry experts estimate that casinos nationwide lose
tens of millions of dollars a year in various cheating scams.
(Reporting by Marty Graham; Editing by Steve Gorman, Bernard