The way the police latched on to Lusardi will go down in poker mythology. As a prop bet it would have been funny, but as a means of destroying evidence, it was hilarious.
While staying in his hotel room at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City, it is alleged that Lusardi attempted to flush $2.7m in fake tournament chips down the toilet. The daring scheme came unstuck when the chips wouldn’t flush, and created a blockage in the sewage pipes.
Other hotel clients complained of overflows and a maintenance man discovered that the blockage consisted of tournament chips. He traced the blockage to the room Lusardi had occupied, and once the chips had been identified, the police quickly tracked Lusardi down to a motel where they arrested him.
The Borgata’s senior vice president, Joe Lupo, said: “Borgata will continue to work with the DGE and the State Police until this matter is concluded and a final order is issued by the DGE concerning the resolution of Event I.”
The difficulty of continuing the tournament is going to be a tough nut to crack. The impact of the addition of the fake chips will have rippled through the event, changing stack sizes, strategies, and even the make up of the final player pool.
At the start of day 2, Lusardi was chip leader – and if the allegations are true, then a chunk of that lead could have been made up of fake chips. He then bust, in the money, making $6.8k in prize money. What will the organizers do about the people Lusardi bust and what about the players who beat Lusardi out of his fake stack?
Over a third of the prize money has already been paid out, so starting from scratch doesn’t seem possible. Calculating the impact of the addition of the chips mathematically could be done in online poker where all hands are recorded, but in a live event that’s impossible. The regulators and organizers will have to do some head scratching to sort out an equitable solution – if it’s not handled well it has the potential to be a public relations catastrophe for the Borgata.
By Matthew Marietta, Rakeback.com Executive Editor
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