Gambler who had $40 million Las Vegas hot streak in ‘90s runs out of luck

Archie Karas arrested for marking cards at Indian casino in California

Archie Karas carved out a name for himself as the legendary gambler who stumbled through Las Vegas casinos in the early 1990s on a two-year streak of extraordinary luck, turning $50 into $40 million.

But the world-famous gambler’s luck ran out last week when Nevada gaming agents arrested him at his Las Vegas home for allegedly marking cards at a California Indian casino and walking away from the blackjack tables with $8,000 in swindled cash.

Prosecutors say surveillance video cameras caught Karas — born Anagyros Karabourniotis — putting “subtle but distinguishable” marks on the backs of playing cards at a Barona Casino blackjack table so he could determine card values before the dealer revealed them with a flip, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Karas, 62, now stands charged with burglary and winning by way of fraud. If convicted, he could spend up to three years behind bars.

The Barona Gaming Commission eventually caught on to Karas and alerted the California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control, which then opened an investigation.

A regular on the World Series of Poker, Karas notched his legendary gambling streak between 1992 and 1995, earning $40 million only to lose it all to gambling.

An extradition hearing is set for Thursday. Until then, Karas remains in the Clark County Detention Center without bail.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.