Poker Pro Michael Borovetz Scams Travelers at Newark Airport

2 years ago
Poker Pro Michael Borovetz Scams Travelers at Newark Airport
09 Apr

The fascinating and sadly pathetic tale of degenerate poker pro Michael Borovetz hit the headlines again when the 43-year old Pittsburgh man was arrested for scamming unsuspecting travellers at Newark Airport – a scam which Borovetz has used multiple times over the course of two decades to fund his gambling problem and poker buy-ins.

Borovetz, who has amassed – and spent - $587,615 in tournament cashes throughout his 14 years as a tournament player according to, was arrested after a passenger complained to Port Authority police after handing Borovetz $200 on April 3rd.

The poker, pai gow and baccarat addict ‘told the man his flight had been cancelled and he needed $200 for a hotel room,’ according to press reports, promising to repay the cash. After the victim withdrew $200 from a nearby ATM and handed Borovetz the cash, he then ‘got suspicious’ and reported the incident to police.

Investigations led police to the Newark Airport Marriott hotel, and on Thursday 5th April they arrested him in his room.

Borovetz has a long and troubled history of pulling such scams, openly admitting on the 2+2 forum – which has a 36 page, 900 post thread dedicated to his misdeeds stretching back almost 2 decades:

“I have a serious compulsive gambling addiction which I think it is safe to say, has ruined my life in so many ways.”

The Penn State Chem. Eng. Grad explained his compulsion in interviews with’s Barry Petchesky, and Chicago Joey Ingram, back in 2014...

Later that same year, Borovetz was arrested at Charlotte-Douglass International Airport, scamming five people out of hundreds of dollars after saying he was in Charlotte for a job interview and his flight had been cancelled. Police said at the time that ‘this is a lie Borovetz has told countless travellers in airports across the country for 12 years’.

Borovetz told Ingram back in 2014 on the Poker Life podcast:

"I didn't just wake up one day and say hey I wanna, I wanna get money from people at airports. It was a gradual process that happened for me and I was basically like a druggie, a junkie, trying to get money for my high."

He explained on 2+2 around the same time that:

“Instead of working hard at my job and doing things the right way, I chose to use any excuse to gamble and gamble and gamble and gamble.”

Borovetz added:

“I became so compulsively addicted that not only did I get fired from various jobs as an engineer and a sales engineer, I also started getting a nice welcome to the criminal justice system because I was a degen who needed and wanted money to play.”

Borovetz is due back in Essex County Municipal Court on April 17th to answer his latest charges. It is not known if, or for how long, he has served in jail for his multiple felonies over the years.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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