Archie Karas: The Man Who Nearly Broke the Bank at Binion’s Horseshoe
If the legendary man who nearly “broke the bank at Monte Carlo” has a modern-day reincarnate, he is most certainly Archie Karas.
The Greek-born immigrant who arrived in the United States penniless as a teenager made headlines between 1993 and 1995, going on what’s been described as the greatest run ever in gambling history. A short time before Christmas Day, he arrived in Las Vegas with $50 in cash and ran it up to a figure reported as high as $45 million. The story goes, at one time during his hot streak, he possessed every single $5,000-denomination chip at Binion’s Horseshoe and very nearly ended up holding the note to the place.
But the odds inevitably caught up with Karas and just as effortlessly as he won it all, he lost it all back. Within a few years of the run of a lifetime, Karas was allegedly seen sleeping in a borrowed car during most nights out in a casino parking lot.
Little has changed. He’s been in and out of money several times since then, mostly out of money, although you wouldn’t know it from his manner of dress or the expression on his face. Win or lose, Karas never gave a fuck about the money. He cared even less about what any of us thought of him.
A few weeks ago, Karas might very well have hit bottom in a life filled with epic heights and even deeper valleys. He was arrested for cheating at a casino near San Diego. As I write this, he currently sits behind bars.
I expect to go to the detention center and see Karas in a few days. In the meantime, here’s a podcast I did on Friday morning with Lance Bradley and Tim Fiorvanti from Bluff Magazine. I appear as the first guest on the show, which also includes Vanessa Selbst and Mike Matusow.