LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Investigators with the Nevada Gaming Control Board said three men bent cards while playing table games similar to poker, cheating at least three Las Vegas Strip casinos to win over $126,000, court documents said.
Pogos Simityan faces charges of committing fraudulent acts in a gaming establishment, cheating in a gaming establishment and cheating at gaming. Las Vegas Metro police arrested him on a warrant Monday, records showed.
The two other suspects, Vahan Sudzhyan and Gevorg Avagyan, took plea deals on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime. Both were arrested previously.
The casino manager at Paris Las Vegas contacted the Nevada Gaming Control Board on July 4, 2021, to report that Simityan, of California, and the two other suspects “were actively bending cards during their gameplay,” investigators wrote in court documents.
“Card bending is a method of cheating where a player bends the corner[s] of playing cards one way or the other based on their values,” investigators wrote in court documents. “This enables a player to know what value the dealer’s hole card[s] are based on the way it lays on the table game.”
The casino manager told investigators Simityan was playing a form of poker and “began bending all face cards and aces to gain an advantage during their gameplay,” court documents said.
Officials also learned the same three suspects “were bending cards the day before at Planet Hollywood,” investigators said.
The group, including Simityan, came away with more than $126,000, investigators said. Simityan had “cashed out approximately $60,000 in gaming chips earlier during his gameplay,” investigators said. The games involved were Mississippi Stud and Let It Ride.
Paris security officers reviewed video of the suspects playing at the table and later detained them, investigators said.
Gaming board personnel found “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,”
While performing their investigation, officials said Simityan reported chest pain and went to the hospital.
On July 5, the Wynn Las Vegas contacted the gaming board, saying “they had also been victimized by the same card bending scheme and suspects,” according to court documents. The trio allegedly “cashed out approximately $19,000 as a result of their criminal activities,” at the Wynn.
Investigators went to Simityan’s hotel room at the Wynn, finding he had “abandoned his hotel room,” they said.
Following his arrest Monday, a judge ordered Simityan to stay out of all casinos pending his next hearing.
Avagyan and Sudzhyan agreed to pay restitution and may serve jail time upon sentencing, according to court records.