Mayfair Playboy Club cheat
Mihai Lacatos spent hours at a poker table \'card marking\' to plunder £43,400 Google Maps/Met Police

Poker cheat Mihai Lacatos spent hours bending cards at a Mayfair Playboy Club poker table as part of a cheating method that saw him plunder £43,400.

The unemployed Romanian, 62, who was today jailed at Southwark Crown Court for 18 months, used the "card marking" technique to cheat at three-card poker at the central London celebrity hangout.

He subtly bent specific cards at the poker table, so that he would later be able to tell what the dealer and other players had been dealt, giving him a significant advantage.

Between 8 January and 15 January 2014, Lacatos used false IDs to enter the Playboy Club in Mayfair and cheated the casino out of £43,400 using this technique.

Mihai Lacatos cheating
Mihai Lacatos used \"card making\" technique to cheat his way to more than £40,000

So good was he at cheating, his scam went unnoticed until detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service Gaming Unit began investigating after they were contacted by Caesars Entertainment, which owns the Playboy Club, in January 2014.

They circulated his image to casinos across the UK and he was arrested on 31 March, 2014, at the Rubicon Casino on Regent Street, Northampton after staff there recognised him and called police.

Mihai Lacatos cheating
Mihai Lacatos spent hours at the table bending cards to \"win\" tens of thousands of pounds

Officers seized £1,485 from him under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and he was taken into custody.

He was subsequently bailed to return to Charing Cross Police Station on 13 May 2014 but did not do so. While on bail, he continued to commit fraud in at least three more casinos.

Detectives began searching for him again and eventually managed to trace him, arresting him in the departure lounge at Luton Airport on 20 November 2014. Officers seized approximately £3,000 from him under the Proceeds of Crime Act .

Lacatos was charged on 20 November 2014 and pleaded guilty to the following offences at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, 27 February: