Archie Karas Gets Written Up in Nevada Black Book, Banned from State’s Casinos for Life

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Archie Karas Nevada black book
Archie Karas has been added to Nevada’s “Black Book,” a list of gamblers excluded from entering casinos in the state. (Image:

It looks like Archie Karas has finally busted for good. If he wants some action, it will have to be in home games, or in a state other than Nevada, from now on.

Karas became a legendary gambler in Las Vegas over 20 years ago, when he played poker against legends like Stu Ungar and Doyle Brunson, among others.

But if he ever wants to go on another streak like the one he did back then, he’ll have to find another town in which to make his run.

The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously agreed to put Anargyros Karabourniotis, Archie Karas’ birthname, on the state’s List of Excluded Persons on Thursday. That list is better known as the Black Book, and being listed there makes it a crime for Karas to so much as enter any casinos in the state of Nevada.

He will be the 33rd person ever to earn the dubious honor of being placed on the state’s exclusion list, and did not appear at the hearing to contest the decision. He had previously been placed on a similar excluded persons list in California, just last year.

2013 Arrest Led to Ban

The ban appears to be the end result of Karas’ most recent gaming-related arrest, which took place in 2013 at the Barona Casino in San Diego. Nevada gaming agents apprehended Karas after he allegedly marked cards during a blackjack game, a charge that initially led to a three-year probation from Nevada authorities.

Before that arrest, Silver State law enforcement officials had already arrested Karas four times on similar cheating charges, the first coming in 1988 at the Flamingo Reno, where he was again charged with marking cards. In each case, the iconic gambler plea-bargained to avoid felony charges.

Best Known for Legendary Run in Vegas

Karas’ biggest claim to fame came in the early 1990s, when he went on what has become known as “The Run.” The gambler supposedly went on a winning stream between 1992 and 1994 that saw him take just$50 and run it up to $40 million, before allegedly losing it all over the next two years.

Karas has said that he played against Brunson, Unger, Chip Reese, Johnny Moss, and others during the stream, with only Johnny Chan reportedly beating him during that time. Karas also won much of his fortune playing pool, craps, and other games.

He would eventually lose it all, with most of the money being gambled away in just three weeks, according to lore. That included dumping tens of millions playing craps and baccarat, as well as throwing $2 million back to Reese in new poker sessions.

While it is difficult to verify where fact ends and legend begins, there is no doubt that he has long been an active part of the poker scene in Las Vegas. Karas has seven World Series of Poker cashes in his career, with the first one coming in a $1,500 Limit Ace to Five Draw event in 2004.

Karas’ most recent WSOP cash game in 2013, when he finished in 26th place in the $2,500 Seven Card Razz tournament. For his career, the Hendon Mob database credits Karas with over $204,000 in career live tournament earnings.

It would be easy to diminish the poker accomplishments of Karas given his arrests for cheating in casinos. However, those arrests were all related to games played against the house, and there is no evidence that he cheated in his high-stakes poker showdowns. Nonetheless, Karas will have to find games outside of Las Vegas casinos going forward.

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