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Famous gambler must stand trial in Barona cheating case

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EL CAJON, Calif. — A world-famous gambler and poker player accused of marking cards at a Barona Casino blackjack table must stand trial on charges of burglary, winning by fraudulent means and cheating, a judge ruled Thursday.

Archie Karas

Archie Karas (Source:

Anargyros Karabourniotis, also known as “Archie Karas,” faces three years in prison if convicted.

He was arrested last September at his Las Vegas home and later extradited to San Diego.

Following a preliminary hearing today in El Cajon, Judge John Thompson found that enough evidence was presented for Karabourniotis to proceed to trial on felony counts of burglary and winning by fraudulent means, and a misdemeanor count of cheating, said Deputy District Attorney Andy Aguilar.

Prosecutors allege Karabourniotis, 63, was seen on surveillance cameras marking cards last July by members of the Barona Gaming Commission, and cheated the casino out of $8,000. The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control and Nevada Gaming Control Board assisted with the investigation into the Barona case.

Karl Bennison of the Nevada agency said it has investigated Karabourniotis multiple times, and arrested him on four occasions dating back to 1992.

Between 1992 and 1995, Karabourniotis had a run of luck in which he turned $50 into $40 million by playing poker and dice games, winnings he subsequently gambled away.

Karabourniotis will be back in court May 14 for arraignment.

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