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Crazy Gambling Stories From November

From Poker Room Robbery To Prosecutions Over Slot Credits


The gambling world can sometimes produce really off-the-wall stories. Every month there are plenty of cases of individuals going to extreme lengths to pay back debts, or of simply bizarre behavior at casino properties around the globe. It can be entertaining and sometimes sad.

November was no exception, as there was plenty that happened in the casino world.

Here’s a look at some of the most colorful and/or noteworthy from the month that was.

Popular Las Vegas Poker Room Robbed At Gunpoint

One of the largest poker rooms on the Las Vegas Strip was robbed, according to local police. Authorities said that at approximately 3:45 p.m. local time on Nov. 28 a white adult male entered the Bellagio and walked up to the poker cage deep inside the casino and demanded money. He left with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was armed with a handgun and wore a mask, police said. He fled in a Chevrolet Cruze, which has been recovered by police. No one was injured. Police were still searching for the suspect about 48 hours after the incident.

Man Sentenced For Running High-Stakes Poker Games In Brooklyn

A federal judge sentenced an organizer of underground Brooklyn poker games to a year in prison. Isok Aronov, 33, was among nine people charged in November 2016. Other crimes from the indictment included racketeering, extortion, loansharking and drug trafficking. The Department of Justice said it was an “Eastern European organized crime syndicate.” Aronov was said to have used threats to recover debts from the underground poker games, which the feds said “involve[d] wagers totaling as much as $150,000.” In a separate indictment from August, several of the aforementioned nine men were charged with torching a building last year that hosted a rival poker game.

Casino Owner Says He Was Tired, Drunk When He Lost $3M In Controversial Poker Game

A high-stakes court battle involving two wealthy poker players heated in early November after one of the men filed a counterclaim to the original lawsuit filed this summer. Australian poker pro Matt Kirk claimed in the suit that Czech casino owner Leon Tsoukernik owes him $2 million from loans made during a poker session in late May at the Aria casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Months later in court documents, Tsoukernik said he was taken advantage of by Kirk and the casino they played at. Tsoukernik said that alcohol was provided to him and that it was “sufficient to visibly intoxicate and impair” him and “induce him to play for large sums.”

Church Pastor Tries To Rob Same Casino Three Times Before Being Caught, Police Say

Las Vegas police say a local pastor tested his luck one too many times at an off-Strip casino. Police arrested Gregory Bolusan at Penn National Gaming’s M Resort casino for attempting to rob the property of about $33,000. Police say he brandished a phony gun when he demanded the cash from the casino’s cashiers cage. Remarkably, the incident was Bolusan’s third attempted robbery of the casino in just the last three months, according to police. The first occurred in late August. Bolusan reportedly works a senior pastor at Grace Bible Church Las Vegas.

Naked Man Tries To Buy Into Las Vegas Poker Game

A fully nude man was walking around one of Las Vegas’ largest poker rooms when poker players started to take notice. The Bellagio poker room was abuzz when the unknown gambler was eventually cornered off by security and forced to put back on his clothes that he was carrying around in his arms, covering his groin area. According to a Tweet from Tommy Bates, Director of Poker at Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino, the man apparently was playing poker previously and returned nude for some reason to retrieve a couple of personal items. However, others in the poker community said it looked like he was trying to buy into a game.

Berlin Police Find Radioactive Iodine On Playing Cards

Police raiding a Berlin restaurant discovered playing cards which had been laced with a radioactive substance. Detectives believe players could wear a hidden detector on their bodies allowing them to recognise certain cards, giving them an advantage. The scheme was discovered when a routine check at a waste treatment facility uncovered an increased level of radioactivity in a rubbish truck. Police managed to trace the vehicle to a restaurant in Berlin. It’s not clear what type of game the cards were being used for. The venue was not authorized for gambling.

Foreign National Booked In Las Vegas On Charges Of Cheating At Craps

A foreign national was arrested by the Gaming Control Board on charges of cheating while playing craps, the highest profile case of its kind since 2011. Badri Tsertsvadze, a resident of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, was apprehended at the Flamingo and booked on 18 counts of cheating in Nevada, according to the Gaming Control Board. The suspect was observed sliding dice on multiple occasions. Tsertsvadze, 44, was held at Clark County Detention Center on $90,000 bail. If convicted, he faces from one to six years in prison for each charge and/or a maximum fine of $10,000 per offense. The last known major arrest in Las Vegas for dice sliding happened in 2011, when an Argentine pair were apprehended after winning about $700,000 at Wynn Las Vegas.

Colorado Casino Customers Prosecuted For Playing Abandoned Slot Credits

Casinos in Colorado have been quietly helping prosecute hundreds of everyday gamblers under a little-known law. Court records show in the past five years, 728 casino customers in Black Hawk and Central City, and 202 more mostly slot machine players in the Cripple Creek area, have been cited or arrested. Their indiscretions range from innocently playing abandoned slot credits left on machines by other customers, cashing in credit vouchers found on the floor, or finding forgotten or dropped chips — to a series of less innocent crimes such as cheating at roulette or trying to swipe blackjack chips. By law, casinos own lost, forgotten or abandoned “property” inside their establishments.