Nevada’s List of Excluded Persons, better known as the Las Vegas “Black Book,” got a well-known addition this week when Archie “The Greek” Karas, who turned $50 into $40 million in just two years in the ‘90s, was banned from all casinos in the state.
The move came after what the Nevada Gaming Commission called “numerous transgressions,” most recently when Karas was arrested in 2013 for cheating at blackjack at the Barona Casino in San Diego. The 64-year-old did not show up at the hearing to defend himself. The vote was unanimous and Karas is now the 33rd person on the list. He could face criminal charges if he enters any casino in the state.
Karas turned his original $50 into roughly $17 million playing high-stakes blackjack and poker games beginning in 1992. Then he set his sights on dice games, playing the highest limits in the world, and his fortune peaked at roughly $40 million.
After his miraculous winning streak – known as “The Run” – Karas’s poker career came to a stunning halt as he proceeded to lose the money over the next two years.
“I feel lucky to have such a supportive family, as I realize for many others, who might have gone through the ups and downs in life as I have, the family ties might evaporate,” Karas told PokerNews in 2008. “Even though I went to the mountaintop and back, losing a fortune, my family is still there for me. My mom used to tell me in her own way, a Greek poem, that basically says, ‘When you’re a big mountain and the snow melts once per year, there are two more big storms on the way to hit you.’ She has always been very wise, yet gave me the freedom to make my own way in life. I loved her for that and still do.”
Before his arrest, for which he was ultimately found guilty and placed on three years of probation, Karas had been arrested four times since 1989 for cheating at blackjack in Nevada.
Karas, a Greek immigrant born Anargyros Karabourniotis, has over $200,000 in lifetime poker tournament earnings and seven World Series of Poker cash wins.
(Photo credit: Mark Hesseltine, Creative Commons.)
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