He is the man who reputedly turned $50 into $40 million by playing a number of games, primarily high-stakes cash poker, in a four-year span.
It was the embodiment of the rags to riches stereotype, the notion that one could get filthy rich by literally playing their cards right. It was a hot streak that made Arargyros Karabourniotis – better known as Archie Karas – a legend in gaming circles all over the US and beyond.
Well, Karas had another solid win last week, netting $8,000 in one night by playing blackjack at the Barona Casino in the US state of California. There is one major notable difference between the earlier streak and the blackjack win, however, that difference being that Karas is facing charges related to last week’s victory.
The 62-year-old Greek-American was officially arrested in Nevada and charged with burglary and winning at gambling by fraudulent means, and could face three years in prison if he is found guilty of those crimes. Prosecutors have stated that Karas allegedly marked the appropriate cards with small smudges of dye, which allowed him to win the $8,000 while playing blackjack.
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said that the authorities viewed Karas’ alleged crimes with a high level of seriousness, which resulted in charges quickly being lodged against him.
“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,” Dumanis said.
It is not the first time Karas has been arrested and charged with fraudulently engaging in gaming at US casinos. In fact, this marks the fifth time he has been in trouble with the law for card cheating over a 25-year span.
His first brush with the authorities came back in 1988 when Karas was arrested at a casino in Reno, Nevada. He was arrested again in 1992 at the River Palms and in 1996 in Las Vegas for card cheating. Eleven years went by without a fraudulent gaming arrest until Karas was once again charged in 2007 at the Aquarius casino in Laughlin.
Karas has also dabbled in the professional poker tournament scene over the last decade. According to the Hendon Mob database, Karas finished in the money in six World Series of Poker (WSOP) events, including a $53,783 win for landing in fifth place in the 2009 No-Limit Duece to Seven Draw.
It is currently unclear when Karas will appear in court on the latest charges, as he will need to be extradited to California first. He is currently being held without bail.