Borgata Chipgate Mastermind Gets 5 Years in Jail


On Thursday, Christian Lusardi (pictured), the mastermind behind the so-called Chipgate at Borgata, was sentenced to five years in jail. According to the Associated Press, “Lusardi also must pay $463,540 in restitution to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa for the revenue it lost when it canceled the 2014 tournament in Atlantic City and $9,455 to Harrah’s Casino Hotel for damaging its plumbing.”

Lusardi was indicted in July. At the time, the Acting Attorney General in New Jersey said, “Lusardi’s alleged scheme to play high-stakes poker with counterfeit chips played out like a Hollywood movie plot. As theatrical as this was, we cannot lose sight of the serious nature of this financial crime. By allegedly betting with phony chips, Lusardi cheated other players and cost the Borgata hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tournament revenues.”

This Hollywood movie plot ended with a half-decade in jail, to be exact.

According to the Associated Press, Lusardi officially pleaded guilty to trademark counterfeiting and criminal mischief. He is 43 years of age and also landed in hot water for pirating DVDs in an unrelated incident.

The tournament, the opening event of the Borgata Winter Poker Open, was canceled when 27 players remained and the counterfeit chips were discovered. Lusardi had cashed in the event, but was not in the field when it was suspended. It was a $2 million guaranteed Big Stack No Limit Hold’em event.

In February 2014, a class-action lawsuitspearheaded by Jacob Musterel was filed against Borgata. Two months later, almost $20,000 was paid out to each remaining playerfrom the prize pool, about what 10th place would have made had the tournament played out normally. Over 2,100 other players received their $560 buy-in back. Shortly thereafter, members of the final 27 sued.

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    • …mastermind? The guy who got caught for clogging Caesars toilet with poker chips?

      Not all masterminds are good at what they do.