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Legendary Gambler Gets Lifetime Ban From Nevada

Archie Karas In State's Black Book Until He Dies


Karas During His Early 1990s UpswingOne-time high-stakes poker player Anargyros Karabourniotis, better known as Archie Karas, has been placed on Nevada’s list of persons barred from entering any casino in the state. The only way to get off the list is to die.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Karas became the newest member of the infamous Black Book on Thursday thanks to being arrested at least five times for cheating in casinos in California and Nevada over the years.

The report said that Karas was not at the Gaming Commission hearing to protest the decision. Nevada’s Black Book was established in 1972, and it’s actually pretty rare for someone to be added.

Karas’ story of turning $50 into $40 million playing a variety of casino games in the 1990s is well-known, especially because he dusted off everything between 1995 and 1996. During his streak, Karas played poker against the likes of Stu Ungar, Doyle Brunson, Puggy Pearson, Chip Reese, Johnny Moss and Johnny Chan—and beat most of them.

According to the way Karas tells it, he only began playing dice, and later baccarat which decimated his bankroll, after the world’s best poker players stopped giving him action.

There’s no evidence that Karas cheated fellow high-stakes poker players.

Forty-million dollars might sound like a lot to lose, but it’s not even close to what some historic whales have lost in short periods of time in Las Vegas. What makes Karas’ story legendary and especially tragic is that he built up his gambling bankroll from practically nothing.

His latest case of cheating happened just a couple years ago at casino in Southern California. Karas was able to take a plea deal for marking the cards while playing blackjack, somehow avoiding jail time despite his history of cheating. He cheated the Barona Casino in San Diego out of $6,860.

Karas has $200,000 in career poker tournament cashes, with his most recent score coming in a 2013 World Series of Poker event. The 64-year-old will never be at the WSOP again.

Here’s a look at ESPN’s coverage of Karas during the WSOP several summers ago. T.J. Cloutier characterized Karas as a compulsive gambler who couldn’t put on the brakes.

Tags: Archie Karas,   Nevada,   Las Vegas