Gambler Archie Karas wasn’t so lucky after all

October 24th, 20130 Comments »

Archie Karas pool shark, gambler and casino cheat

The story of Archie Karas is the type of story that Las Vegas thrives on.

The type of story that inspires others to come to Sin City and change their lives by hitting it big in Las Vegas.

A story of someone who grew up in poverty and who then went on to wins millions of dollars on a small bankroll.

And then lost it all.

But it’s not just a story.

It really happened.

Archie Karas rags to riches gambling streak

Archie Karas, born Anargyros Karabourniotis, is a 63-year old gambler who was born in Greece.

Allegedly abused by his father, he left home at age 15.

Karas found work on a cruise ship and eventually made his way to LA.

He honed his pool playing skills, gave up his day job as a waiter and “worked” as a pool shark for awhile.

Then he became active in the LA card rooms and, legend has it, built up a two million dollar bankroll.

In 1992, he lost it all playing poker.

Karas claims he won and lost millions numerous times in the LA card rooms playing poker.

With only $50 left to his name, Karas headed to Las Vegas.

For the next three years, Karas embarked on one of the longest documented winning streaks in gambling history.

He played against the top names in poker including Stu Unger, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss and Johnny Chan.

It got to the point that no one wanted to play against him so Karas found another way to make money.

He started playing craps.

He would shoot craps for $100,000 a roll and reportedly won $3 million over a few days.

At the end of his three year run, he had won $40 million dollars.

Only two and one half years later, it was all gone.

After losing the $40 million, Karas continued to gamble.

He had other lucky gambling streaks although none matched his earlier success.

In 2007 he told ESPN,

I consider myself the king of gamblers. I made it, I lost it and like Frank Sinatra says, I stood tall and I took the punches and I did it my way.

He seemed to take it in stride and has said many times that money is not important to him.

In a 2008 story in Cigar Aficionado Magazine he told author Michael Konik,

Money means nothing to me, I don’t value it. I’ve had all the material things I could ever want. Everything. The things I want money can’t buy: health, freedom, love, happiness.

Archie Karas busted for card counting

Karas was arrested Sept., 27 for counting cards at the Barona Casino in San Diego.

He allegedly used a hollowed out casino chip filled with dye to mark the backs of face cards and aces while playing blackjack, one of the oldest and crudest card counting methods, to identify the cards prior to being dealt.

Karl Bennison, Chief of the Enforcement Division of Nevada Gaming Control Board said,

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has investigated Karas on multiple occasions resulting in four arrests. Karas has been a threat to the gaming industry in many jurisdictions.

Karas has been extradited to California and has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of winning by fraudulent means and burglary, and a misdemeanor count of cheating.

He can be sentenced to nearly four years in prison if convicted.

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About Chellie Cervone

A Las Vegas "native" by way of New York, I'm a professional blogger who favors all things Las Vegas and offers a unique, witty and sometimes controversial perspective. You can count on me to tell it like it is. Please visit my other sites Las Vegas World News and Celebrity Feast Connect with me on Google+ Chellies World on Google+

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