The final man in a trio of card sharps was arrested by Las Vegas police on Monday, according to a report from KLAS-TV/Las Vegas. The trio is accused of stealing $126,000 in table game winnings from Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood and The Wynn in a card-bending spree a little over a year ago.
Pogos Simityan of Glendale, Calif. was charged with committing fraudulent acts in a gaming establishment, cheating in a gaming establishment and cheating at gaming. His alleged accomplices, Vahan Sudzhyan and Gevorg Avagyan, were both previously arrested and took plea deals on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime.
Bending the Truth
Bending is a form of marking a card in which a corner is folded slightly inward or outward to indicate the card’s value. This enables a player to estimate how much a dealer’s hole cards are worth by how they lie on the table.
According to court documents, the Paris Las Vegas casino manager contacted the Nevada Gaming Control Board on July 4, 2021 to report that three men “were actively bending cards during their gameplay.” Simityan was observed bending all the face cards and aces during games of Let It Ride and Mississippi Stud poker.
After reviewing video of the suspects playing, security officials detained them. When gaming control officers began investigating, Simityan reported chest pain and went to the hospital, according to court records.
Cheaters Never Prosper
Gaming officials also accuse the trio of bending cards on July 3, 2021 at Planet Hollywood. And on July 5, 2021, representatives of The Wynn contacted the gaming control board to let them know they had previously been scammed out of $19,000 by the trio.
Avagyan and Sudzhyan agreed to pay restitution and may serve jail time upon sentencing, according to court records. Following his arrest on Monday, Simityan was ordered by a judge to stay out of all casinos pending his next hearing.
Simityan and Sudzhyan are both poker players with lifetime earnings listed by WSOP.com. (Simityan’s is $61,767, Sydzhyan’s $75,216.)
How to Prevent Cheating in Your Home Game
- Never allow the same person shuffle and deal.
- Watch for any odd changes in shuffling styles, strange hand motions or unnatural card grips.
- Seat players at random to prevent collusion.
- Regularly count the cards to ensure that none are missing.
- Check the cards for marks, bends and folds.
- Place a Joker at the bottom of the deck to prevent bottom dealing.
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