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Poker News | World Poker News

Counterfeit chip nightmare at Borgata resolved by New Jersey Gaming Regulators

Borgata Winter Open
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The 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open's first event was compromised by a counterfeit chip scandal and consequently shutdown pending an investigation. That was back in January — fast forward to Monday, April 14th, and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) Director David Rebuck released the final edict — including the payout disbursements to affected players.

The total to be disbursed is $1,721,805 and, according to the DGE order, will fall to the Borgata to make the required payouts. Included in the total is the $1,433,145 in prize money and the $60 per entry (total of $288,720) paid by the entrants.

According to a statement by Borgata, the payouts will be disbursed as follows:

  • 2,143 entrants who may have been impacted by the counterfeit chips, but did not finish in the top 450, will receive a total of $560 each, which includes a refund of their $60 entry fee. The eligible entrants for the $560 reimbursement include:

    • All entrants who played Tuesday, Jan. 14 on Day 1a beginning at 10 a.m., with the exception of those entrants who played in the Event Center and busted out prior to 4:30 p.m (those entrants could not have come into contact with Christian Lusardi)
    • All entrants who played Wednesday, Jan. 15 on Day 1b beginning at 10 a.m., with the exception of those entrants who played in the Signature Room and Poker Room on that day and were eliminated (those entrants could not have come into contact with Lusardi)
    • All entrants who played Thursday, Jan. 16 on Day 2
    • Entrants who re-entered any Day 1 after busting out may also be eligible for a refund of $560 per entry, depending on the above criteria.
  • The $50,893 in prize money that remains to be paid to players already eliminated will be disbursed as scheduled
  • The 27 players who were still active in the tournament will each be paid $19,323

The nightmare that started the need for an investigation and suspension of the Borgata Winter Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee began with the discovery of counterfeit chips being introduced into tournament play, which ultimately caused the cancellation of that event on January 18, 2014. Lusardi introduced the counterfeit chips into tournament play multiple times according to the investigation and that's how he entered Day 2 with the chip lead in the event.

It wasn't until later that 2.7 million in Borgata counterfeit chips were discovered clogging a sewer pipe at Harrah's Resort and Casino — Lusardi's room. Lusardi was arrested and charged with rigging a publicly exhibited contest, criminal attempt, and theft by deception.

Before Lusardi busted out on Day 2 of the $2 Million Guarantee event, he managed to add 1 million in counterfeit chips to the tournament and destroy the integrity of the competition — not to mention the issues it created for players who traveled long distances to play the tournament and then had their funds and a shot at a major title yanked from their grasp and placed into a holding pattern waiting for a decision.

Nick Guagenti — second in chips when the tournament was cancelled — went to Twitter upon reading the order:

Will Borgata add anything to the decision? We'll keep you updated as news arrives.

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