Professional Poker Legend Archie Karas Ordered to Stand Trial for Marking Cards

Anargyros Karabourniotis, known to the poker world as Archie Karas, was ordered to stand trial for alleged crimes which took place at the Barona Casino in Lakeside, California. Officials at the Barona Casino claim to have surveillance video of Karas marking cards at one of their blackjack tables. If convicted, Karas could serve up to 3 years in prison.

Karas was arrested at his home in Las Vegas in September 2013 on charges of burglary, cheating, and winning by fraudulent means. He stayed in a Nevada jail for a time, but was eventually extradited to San Diego. The Barona Casino is found on a Native American reservation in northeastern San Diego County. The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control and the Nevada Gaming Control Board helped with the investigation.

Accused of Marking Cards at San Diego Casino

According to prosecutors, Archie Karas was seen on surveillance cameras marking cards at a blackjack table. During the session of blackjack, he won $8,000 from the casino.

This is not the first time Karabourniotis has been accused of such misconduct. Karl Bennison of the Nevada Gaming Control Board says the professional poker player has been under investigation “multiple times”. He has been arrested by Nevada authorities four times since 1992 on various gambling-related charges.

Archie Karas – Career Highlights

In the mid-1990’s, Archie Karas was a famous and successful pro poker player. He had a famous run of success where he turned $50 into a bankroll in excess of $40 million. From 1992 to 1995, Karas had an amazing run of luck playing poker and craps. Since these winnings overlap the time Nevada gaming authorities were investigating Karas, it is possible these winnings represented ill-gotten gains.

As quick as he won 40 million dollars, the money was gone, though. It is said by those familiar with his life that Karas gambled away all the money he won. The amount of the money he won in his alleged Barona Casino crimes indicates how far the famed gambler has fallen. While $8,000 is an impressive amount by the average gambler’s standards, by the standards of a professional gambler who once had tens of millions of dollars, it it a pittance.

Archie Karas Retrospective

The streak from December 1992 to the start of 1995 is one of the most famous winning streaks in gambling history. The 63-year old’s run of success is known by gamblers simply as “The Run”. The Greek-American gambler is considered by some gamblers to be the greatest gambler of all time. He is often compared to fellow high stakes gambler Nick the Greek.

While others have had much more success in the professional tournament circus, much of his career the pro Texas hold’em tour was much less lucrative. Playing ring games was considered more important and lucrative. Despite that, Archie “The Greek” Karas has had 7 money finishes in his World Seris of Poker career. He was born on the island of Cefalonia in Greece back in 1951. Archie was born into poverty and had to shoot marbles as a teen to stave off hunger. He ran away from home at age 15 when his father, a construction worker, threw a shovel at him and barely missed his head. Karas worked as a waiter on a ship, a pool shark, and eventually a high stakes gambler.

The Run

Karas honed his poker skills in Los Angeles card rooms and he built a bankroll of over $2 million. He had his highs and lows, though, as Karas had lost all but $50 of his bankroll by December 1992. It was then he moved to Las Vegas and sought out high stakes games. According to Karas, he lost and won back several fortunes.

At the beginning of the Run, Karas got a $10,000 loan from a fellow Los Angeles player. He built his bankroll up to $30,000, then paid back his creditor a full $20,000. Using the other $10,000, Karas became a pool shark. He took a great deal of money from a respected and wealthy pool player (“Mr. X”), playing first $10,000 a game and later $40,000 a game. In their games, he won several hundred thousand dollars.

Using this bankroll, he and Mr. X played poker and Karas won another $3 million in cash. Using this, Karas he went on a 3-month winning streak, eventually collecting a $7,000,000 bankroll. At this point, he began playing some of the world’s best gamblers at high stakes poker: Stu Ungar, Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, Puggy Pearson, and Johnny Moss. Among all these players, only Johnny Chan was able to beat Karas heads-up, taking $900,000 from him in a series of poker sessions. After 6 months of play, though, Archie Karas had a $17 million bankroll. Eventually, he would build the bankroll to $40 million and continue to face gamblers like Chip Reese, Johnny Chan, and Lyle Berman. But he lost the money gambling, mainly playing craps and baccarat.

Could Face Prison Time

Now Archie Karas faces his most serious legal problems. The prosecution claims to have video evidence of his crimes. With a history of legal issues, the 63 year old gambling legend could face prison time.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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