Notorious Gambler Charged in Barona Casino Cheating Scheme

Archie Karas, 62, is accused of card-marking at a San Diego casino blackjack table

A notorious gambler known for the largest and longest documented winning streak in gambling history now faces charges of cheating in connection with a card-marking scheme allegedly carried out at San Diego’s Barona Casino.

Back in July, world-famous gambler Anargyros Karabourniotis, 62, who goes by the name “Archie Karas,” was caught by the Barona Gaming Commission allegedly marking cards at a Barona Casino blackjack table.

On Friday, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that Karas had been arrested at his Las Vegas home on Sept. 24 for his alleged involvement in the gambling scheme.

He’s now facing charges of burglary, winning by fraudulent means and cheating, and will be extradited to San Diego to face those counts, Dumanis said.

According to the DA’s office, card-marking is a gambling cheating technique in which a person “puts a subtle, but distinguishable mark on the back of playing cards.”

A good mark will likely not be apparent to the dealer or others at the table, but the cheater will be able to identify the mark and use the card to increase his or her chances of winning.

The DA’s office says Karas was caught on surveillance tape marking cards in an effort to identify the value of the cards that he was dealt at the Barona Casino blackjack table. Through the ploy, investigators say he was able to cheat the San Diego casino out of more than $8,000.

The incident was investigated by multiple agencies including the Barona Gaming Commission, the California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Authorities were able to identify Karas on tape as the perpetrator.

Dumanis said the Nevada Gaming Control Board assisted with the arrest of Karas in Las Vegas and the search of his home. The DA’s office will now coordinate the suspect’s extradition to San Diego.

In the meantime, Karas is being held without bail in Las Vegas jail. His extradition hearing is scheduled for Monday.

If the case goes to trial and he is convicted, Karas could face up to three years in local prison.

The DA’s office says Karas’ best-known winning streak happened between 1992 and 1995 when he turned $50 into $40 million by gambling. He’s been referred to as the “greatest gambler of all time” in the world of high stakes.

However, Dumanis said it appears that Lady Luck wasn’t on Karas’ side this time.

“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 Dumanis.

Contact Us