Counting cards in Las Vegas is usually a minor offense relevant only to the affected casino. Bending cards to get ahead in the game is a crime, though, and so, the final man of a trio who allegedly stole $126,000 from table games at the Paris Las Vegas, The Wynn and Planet Hollywood, was finally arrested on Monday, a report by KLAS-TV/Las Vegas outlined.
Bending the Cards, Testing the Fates
The three men almost made it away with the money, but they ran out of good fortune and their sleight of hand trickery was exposed. The culprit, one Pogos Simityan of Glendale, California, was the last to be arrested and charged with committing fraud in a gambling establishment and cheating a gambling establishment.
His alleged accomplices, Vahan Sudzhyan and Gevorg Avagyan, faced similar charges, but secured plea deals. The men were reported first by the Paris Las Vegas where the casino manager spotted that the culprits were actively bending cards across various games. Simityan and Sudzhyan are poker players who have amassed respectable WSOP.com winnings. The question is whether they have played on the straight and narrow or attempt similar foolery at the time.
As to card bending, this is a practice where one of the cards’ edges is bent inwardly so that the face cards, usually the most worthwhile ones, could be spotted easily on the table and advise a player on what decision is best. The trio used this ill-concealed technique for both Let It Ride and Mississippi Stud Poker.
The men were first apprehended by police in 2021 but Simityan was released shortly after the arrest as he had to go to the hospital on condition of returning later. He never did. The investigation into the trio, though, led to police establishing that they have tried something similar – and successfully – at other establishments.
More Than Slap on the Wrist
Police collected information from the Nevada Gaming Control Board which is usually alerted to such suspicious practices. While casinos are not always able to spot the fraudsters in the act, they usually notice aberrations in the payouts and check surveillance coverage to make sure.
All three venues said to have suffered from the trio have the video footage to back this claim up. Avagyan and Sudzhyan entered into plea deals, agreeing to pay restitution to the casinos. They are not out of the wood just yet, as they may yet end up serving brief prison sentences, depending on what the court decides.
Simityan has been ordered to stay out of the casino while he awaits further action against him. The three men that once thought they could get away with a sleight of hand are now likely to face the consequences of their actions.