SAN DIEGO — A court hearing in Las Vegas has been delayed until Thursday to decide whether a well-known gambler should be being returned to San Diego to face charges of cheating at blackjack.
Anargyros Karabourniotis, 62, known in gambling circles as Archie Karas, was arrested at his home in Las Vegas on Tuesday on suspicion of "card-marking" at the Barona Casino in eastern San Diego County and winning more than $8,000.
At a hearing Monday, bail for Karabourniotis was set at $50,000. Whether he will fight the extradition request filed by San Diego County prosecutors remains unclear. If he chooses to fight, prosecutors will seek an extradition request from Gov. Jerry Brown.
The alleged cheating occurred in July and was caught by the surveillance cameras operated by the Barona Gaming Commission, according to the San Diego County district attorney's office.
Karabourniotis is suspected of marking cards so he could secretly identify the value of each card being dealt.
Karabourniotis once turned $50 into $40 million in a three-year span of playing poker, pool, and pit games, only to lose it all by late 1995.
Karabourniotis was arrested in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2007 by the Nevada Gaming Control Board for alleged cheating at blackjack in casinos in Reno, Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev. He has never been sentenced to jail, officials said.
Karl Bennison, enforcement chief for the Nevada board, said if Karabourniotis is convicted in San Diego, he could be recommended for inclusion in the black book which lists people banned from Nevada casinos. Thirty-three people are currently listed.
"He's definitely on our radar," Bennison said.
Karabourniotis is known to wear gold-and-diamond pinkie rinks and to boast that he is the "undisputed champion of gambling" and that he has won and lost more money than anyone in history.
He has told reporters that he arrived in this county as a teenager from his native Greece with only a few dollars in his pocket. He worked in Portland, Ore., as a waiter and then hitchhiked to Los Angeles, where he made money as a pool hustler before moving to Las Vegas.
"I consider myself the king of gamblers," he told
Karabourniotis has said that the thrill of action, not the lure of money, is what attracts him to high-stakes gambling.
"Money means nothing to me, I don't value it," he told author Michael Konik for a 2008 story in Cigar Aficionado magazine. "I've had all the material things I could ever want. Everything. The things I want money can't buy: health, freedom, love, happiness."