Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dead Man Caught Poker Cheating...And Cheating Life!

John Park may have cheated death, but police said he couldn't cheat a casino.

In a jailhouse interview, the California man accused of faking his death and then cheating a Las Vegas casino said he’s glad his life on the lam has ended.

Earlier this week Park was gambling at the MGM Grand poker tables, where he said he got drunk and drew the attention of security guards. But other players at the table complained that Park was systematically shortchanging pots and that dealers weren´t catching on. Finally, however, surveillance did, and Park, whether he was good or not, got arrested and charged with gambling fraud. He denies cheating the casino, but confesses that he was "playing it all wrong," whatever that means.

“I guess I was just playing it all wrong and that’s why the security came and detained me for cheating.”

The arrest ended a nearly seven-month search that began when Park went missing during a spear-fishing trip off the California coast. At the time, he was accused of cashing a bad check and marijuana possession. Park knew there was a warrant for his arrest and said he planned to turn himself into police after spending one last day with friends. (Sure, and I'm the Pope!)

During the trip, he said he was swept away by a riptide and nearly killed. When he came ashore six hours later, he knew police were looking for him.

“I decided that at that time the best thing to do was just hide out because there were too many things going on, too many people threatening my life, he said.

Police were suspicious from the beginning, but Park insisted he never faked his death and simply panicked. From there, he said his unfortunate circumstances “Snowballed."..."I guess you could call it an avalanche.”

He panhandled to earn enough money for a ride to Las Vegas, where he struggled to find work. “I’ve had this huge boulder hanging on my shoulder and I couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t get a job, I can’t even mow lawns. It’s literally just destroying me.”

Park was able to keep his secret from his girlfriend, who is two months pregnant. They planned to get married, and despite his arrest, Park said he wants to move on with his life. “Everything happens for a reason, as upset as I am that I’m here I’m kind of relieved.”

Sounds to me like Park was much better at switching life for death than he was at switching poker chips!