Well-known poker players arrested after Las Vegas sting
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Three California-based Armenians, charged with card bending at poker games at multiple casinos on the Las Vegas strip, have all been finally arraigned.
The Hendon-Mob-listed Poker pros reportedly stole up to $126,000 at table games in the Paris Las Vegas, The Wynn and Planet Hollywood.
The leader of the trio, Pogos Simityan, has finally been caught and is now facing charges of committing fraudulent acts in a gaming establishment, cheating at a gaming establishment and cheating at gaming.
His two alleged accomplices, Vahan Sudzhyan and Gevorg Avagyan already took plea deals on conspiracy charges to commit a crime.
They would have made off with the fortune gotten from their sleight of hand if not that a manager at the Paris Las Vegas noticed their tricks and reported them to the Nevada Gaming Control Board on the July 4, 2021.
The Wynn, on the July 5, 2021, reported that “they had also been victimized by the same card bending scheme and suspects,” according to court documents, with the trio making away with $19,000.
Meanwhile, on the July 3, 2021, gaming officials at Planet Hollywood accused them of bending cards. The game they cheated at was not the traditional poker game but the Mississippi Stud and Let It Ride, two poker-based games that are played against the house.
After security officers at the Paris and later investigators with the NGCB at the Wynn reviewed CCTV footage of the men playing, they found out that “all face cards and aces on both decks were bent either inward or outward in relation to the non-numbered [front] side of the playing card.” This made the investigators detain them for further questioning.
However, during the detention, officials said Simityan reported chest pain and went to the hospital but when investigators went to his room at the Wynn, they realised he had “abandoned his hotel room,” only to later be arrested on Monday, August 15, 2022.
Card bending is a form of cheating in which the corner of a card is folded slightly inward or outward to indicate its value. This lets the player know what values the dealer’s hole cards are based on the way it lays on the table. Though, counting cards is a minor offense relevant to the affected casino in Las Vegas, bending cards to win is a criminal offense.
Simityan and Sudzhyan are WSOP winners but their wins are in question in light of these criminal charges. Currently, Simityan has been ordered to keep out of all gambling establishments while Sudzhyan and Avagyan have agreed to pay restitution to the casino with a possibility of a prison sentence.