It’s not often that a New Jersey poker tournament makes mainstream international news however the Borgata Winter Poker Open has done so, and for all the wrong reasons. During the 2014 tournament a player in the tournament, Christian Lusardi of North Carolina, bought counterfeit chips into the game, bringing the tourney to an early end. Hotel staff found the casino chips after Lusardi had attempted to flush them down the toilet and almost 500 $5,000 chips were discovered in the plumbing. The discovery actually came about after guests at Harrah’s Casino Hotel had complained about a leak and after a little digging around the cause became obvious.
The case has only recently come to court and Lusardi will not be sentenced until October 2015 and faces up to 5 years in prison plus large fines to both the Borgata Casino for lost revenue after having had to cancel the tournament, and to Harrah’s for the damage done to the plumbing.
Lusardi had already used around $800,000 worth of chips during the first two days of the tournament and it was only after he believed his plan was about to be uncovered did he attempt to get rid of the chips by flushing them away.
It’s alleged that Lusardi had got the chips from China and had simply put fake stickers on them and this is not his first brush with the law regarding illegal gambling activities as in 2008 he was charged with gambling and illegal alcohol sales after a bust on his home in North Carolina. The whole debacle meant that the 3 week tournament was cancelled and that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement was called in to distribute the prize money.