Gambling pro Archie Karas charged with defrauding casino | Reuters

SAN DIEGO, Sept 27 World-renowned professionalpoker player Archie Karas, has been arrested on charges ofcheating and defrauding a casino after authorities say he wascaught marking cards at a California blackjack table.

Karas, 62, best known for reputedly building a beginningstake of $50 into a $40 million fortune during a recordthree-year winning streak, was taken into custody on Tuesday athis Las Vegas home, the San Diego County District Attorney'sOffice said on Friday.

He will be extradited to San Diego to face a criminalcomplaint filed last week charging him with burglary, winning byfraudulent means and cheating, the prosecutor's office said.

If convicted, Karas, whose real name is AnargyrosKarabourniotis, faces a maximum penalty of three years inprison.

"This defendant's luck ran out thanks to extraordinarycooperation between several different law enforcement agencieswho worked together to investigate and prosecute this case,"said county District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

According to prosecutors, Karas was spotted by surveillancecameras marking cards - using tiny smudges of dye secretly wipedonto the backs of jacks, queens, kings and aces - while playingblackjack in July at the Indian-owned Barona Resort and Casinoin Lakeside, California.

The marks gave Karas an unfair advantage by helping himidentify the value of cards before they were dealt as he chosewhether to take another card, or hold, in an effort to reach thewinning value of 21 without going over, prosecutors said.

The scheme worked so well that he managed to cheat thecasino out of more than $8,000 before he was caught, districtattorney's office spokesman Steve Walker said.


California Justice Department spokeswoman Michelle Gregorysaid Karas was doing the marking with dye inserted into ahollowed-out gambling chip that he would inconspicuously swipeover civil rights attorney chicago cards while playing through a deck.

A search warrant executed on Karas's home turned uphollowed-out chips from other casinos, but so far no othergambling establishments have lodged complaints against him,Gregory said.

But authorities said Karas has been accused of cheatingbefore.

"The Nevada Gaming Control Board has investigated Karas onmultiple occasions resulting in four arrests," said KarlBennison, that agency's enforcement chief, said in a statement."Karas has been a threat to the gaming industry in manyjurisdictions."

Karas set the record for the largest and longest documentedwinning streak in gambling history from 1992 to 1995, arrivingin Las Vegas with $50 in his pocket and going on to amass $40million from high-stakes poker.

He subsequently lost most of those winnings at baccarat anddice games in three weeks, according to Tom Sexton, whopublishes the online gambling magazine Poker News. Karasreturned to the poker table many times, often with backers, andcleaned out many of the best players in the world, according toSexton.

He is considered by many to have been the greatest gamblerof all time and often has been compared with Nick "the Greek"Dandolos, another high-stakes gambler and high roller who diedin 1966.

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