New Jersey authorities have detained a suspect in the bogus chip scandal that forced last weekend’s cancellation of Event #1 at the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Winter Open in Atlantic City. Christian Lusardi (pictured), a 42-year-old resident of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was arrested Friday at an Atlantic City motel and charged with rigging a publicly exhibited contest, criminal attempt and theft by deception.
Lusardi is being held on $300k bail, with the standard 10%-down formula not applicable in this case. This isn’t Lusardi’s first brush with the law: in 2008, he was arrested in his hometown on illegal gambling and alcohol charges in connection with poker games he hosted at his house.
Play at the Borgata was suspended last Friday after several players noted the presence of counterfeit 5K chips. Event organizers eventually calculated $800k worth of bogus chips had made their way onto the tables. A further $2.7m worth of bogus Borgata chips were discovered across town in a clogged sewer pipe at Harrah’s Resort and Casino, where Lusardi had been staying during the tournament. Officials at Harrah’s then called Borgata senior VP Joe Lupo to inform him of their discovery.
The Borgata’s official poker blog posted a notice saying that while it was “very pleased” that state authorities had apprehended a suspect, the investigation was ongoing and the casino “remains under the order the [Division of Gaming Enforcement} issued last week.” There were 27 players still in the hunt when Event #1 was cancelled and there’s been no further word on whether they will be able to split any prize money or whether the event’s starting field of 4,814 players can expect refunds of their $560 buy-ins.
Lusardi was chip-leader going into Day 2 of Event #1, earning a $2k bonus for winning his flight. Police said Lusardi earned a total $6,814 from the tournament. A 2+2 poster named ‘just_mo’ claimed Lusardi’s eventual bust-out of the tournament was something of a mystery to his table mates, with Lusardi reportedly making an ill-advised all-in shove that was completely out of character with his play up to that point, suggesting that Lusardi felt the urge to get out of Dodge ASAP.
Even more intriguing is the possibility that Lusardi was ‘justbecauseican’, the poster who appeared Thursday night in the 2+2 ‘chipgate’ thread claiming inside knowledge regarding the scandal. The individual claimed to be “the responsible party” and said that “once I found out the chips made it into play, I flushed the rest down the toilet. Why the toilet? I don’t know. If Harrah’s had better plumbing I may not be posting this right now.” Although ‘justbecauseican’ had stated his intention to turn himself in, speculation has it that New Jersey authorities may have performed some IP-address sleuthing in order to track down the poster’s whereabouts, leading to Lusardi’s arrest on Friday.
STAY CLASSY, GEORGIA POKER PLAYERS
Speaking of Southern sewer dwellers, Jezebel.com spotted a Craigslist ad posted by a “male group of poker players” in Georgia who were looking for a “Hostess/Server” to brighten up their next get-together. This group of 8-10 “professionals” meets once a month, and they wanted someone to “serve sandwiches, chips, drinks, etc, while NUDE.”
These pervy pros “prefer a Caucasian Lady” that is “Clean, Drug & Disease Free” as well as a non-smoker. Interested applicants were asked to send “a FACE picture” and “any other pics would be appreciated.” Oh yeah, and the lady would also be required to “service the winner of each hand with oral sex” and “other activities can be discussed.” For agreeing to blow the winner of each hand, the lucky lady would receive “$250 plus a percentage of each pot.” Does anyone else get the impression these 10 “professionals” are a bunch of horny 16-year-old boys who each managed to save $25 from their shifts at McDonalds? Seriously, who else would be able to come that quick to ensure the winner of the next hand doesn’t have to wait?