Fifty-seven year old Russian national Valeriy Mikhaylets works for a Moscow construction firm. But that's just his day job. At night, or during trips to the UK, he was both a poker hold-out and card-marking artist.
By holding onto key cards he played during previous hands and then reinserting them into play when he needed them on subsequnet hands, Mr. Mikhaylets poker-cheated his way to more than $80,000 profit at a lively poker game at London's Palm Beach Casino in November, 2014.
He was also using sandpaper to mark cards at the same table.
Even though his big win that night generated a lot of suspicion at the Palm Beach poker table, Mikhaylets was not arrested until he returned to the casino in early 2015. He posted bail, then fled the UK only to be arrested when returning to his native Russia from Finland in April, 2015.
For all his efforts, the Russian poker cheat was sentenced to four months in prison and fines, court costs and restitution totalling a quarter of a million dollars.
My take: Well, Mr. Mikhaylets had a good night that November at the Palm Beach, but he's gonna have to figure out another poker strategy to get back all the money he's lost to the UK court system--and hopefully for him it will be an honest one!
Take note that although holding out cards at the poker table is a rare cheat-scam, card-marking seems to be as popular as ever, even more so than the old Wild-West Days when poker cheats cheated cowboys by sun-drying cards before they were put into play. More and more of these modern card-marking poker-cheat scams involve invisible or disappearing ink and infrared lenses to see the marks on the cards.