Gambler Anargyros Karabourniotis accused of cheating at Barona Casino

Karabourniotis also known as Archie Karas

SAN DIEGO - A gambler known for winning and losing tens of millions of dollars is in custody for allegedly marking cards at a blackjack table at the Barona Casino in eastern San Diego County, the District Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Anargyros Karabourniotis, 62, also known as "Archie Karas," was arrested Tuesday at his Las Vegas home, prosecutors said. An extradition hearing is set for Monday.

The District Attorney's Office said Karabourniotis was spotted on surveillance cameras marking cards in July by members of the Barona Gaming Commission. They contend that he cheated the casino out of $8,000.

"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 District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

Between 1992 and 1995, Karabourniotis had a run of luck in which he turned an initial $50 into $40 million by playing poker and dice games.

However, he lost more than half of his winnings in 10 days playing baccarat. Still, he appeared regularly on ESPN's "World Series of Poker."

According to Las Vegas gaming and security expert Jeff Voyles, "Card marking is that you're changing the back of your cards to give yourself an advantage."

Voyles told 10News marking cards is the oldest way to cheat in the book. A player marks the back of a card letting him know what's on the other side.

"It's pretty much invisible to the naked eye except for those who have marked it and identified it," Voyles said. "You can use a piece of sandpaper on your finger; you can use a tack glued to your finger; you can use the back of an earring."

There are also YouTube videos showing how to mark cards, and Voyles said casinos know how to spot a cheat using an epic amount of security cameras and trained dealers.

The California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control and Nevada Gaming Control Board assisted with the investigation.

Karl Bennison of the Nevada agency said they have investigated Karabourniotis multiple times, and arrested him on four occasions. He described the defendant as a "threat to the gaming industry in many jurisdictions."

10News learned Karabourniotis was arrested for marking cards in Reno in 1988 and in Laughlin in 2007.

The Greece native was charged with burglary, winning by fraudulent means and cheating, and faces three years behind bars if convicted.


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