Russian Poker Cheat Given 4 Months in Jail

A Russian gambler who managed to cheat his poker opponents out of £57,000 at a game organized by the Palm Beach Casino in Mayfair, London, has just been handed a four months jail sentence by the Westminster Magistrates Court, and ordered to pay a total of £193,718 in fines and costs.
On the night of Nov 30/Dec 1, Valeriy Mikhaylets, 57, won the money by using sleight of hand to hold onto cards from previous rounds before then using them to his advantage during later hands. During the Texas Hold ‘Em game he also used sandpaper to subtly mark the cards so he could recognise from across the table, and gain an unfair advantage over his hapless victims.
The Russian’s luck ran out, however, after CCTV later revealed the extent of his cheating, leading to his arrest in January 2015. At his apartment was found evidence of his crime, including a Genting Casino membership cards in someone else’s name, and playing cards, and some sandpaper which he admitted was used for marking the card edges.
Mikhaylets subsequently skipped bail and headed to the continent, but was eventually rearrested on the Russian-Finnish border and extradited back to Britain in April.
At his recent trial, Mikhaylets claimed to be a gambling addict, who also suffered from epileptic episodes at night. Nevertheless, Judge Alistair McCreath said that Mikhaylets should be given a proportionate punishment to match his crime, as well as face a stiff monetary penalty. After sentencing him to four months in prison, McCreath then explained:
“You have been punished proportionately and you have been hit in your pocket which is precisely where you should be hit for committing this sort of financial crime.”
Mikhaylets, a deputy director of a Russian construction firm, had the judge’s judgement translated for him into Russian by an interpreter before nodding and being led away to jail. Commenting on the case, DC Mat Wake said:
“His sentence should act as a deterrent for those considering committing similar offences in Londons’ casinos.”

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