Baccarat players ordered to return £1 million

Players spotted cards hadn't been shuffled

57437296  (Royalty-free)Collection:  Stockbyte SilverCaption:   close-up of a display of playing cards partially covering a man'

A group of gamblers have been told by a judge that they must hand back their $1.5 million (£990,000) to the casino.

The 14 punters had started betting big in April 2012 when they realised that the Golden Nugget casino was using unshuffled packs of cards.

While the packs were supposed to have been pre-shuffled by the manufacturer, the gamblers detected a pattern. They upped their bets from $10 a hand to $5,000 and were able to win 41 hands of mini-baccarat in a row.

However, a judge has now ruled that the punters must hand their winnings back on the basis that, because the cards hadn't been shuffled, the games didn't conform to state law over how they should be played.

"The dealer did not pre-shuffle the cards immediately prior to the commencement of play, and the cards were not pre-shuffled in accordance with any regulation," wrote the judge, according to the New York Times.

"Thus, a literal reading of the regulations ... entails that the game violated the [Casino Control] Act, and consequently was not authorized."

The players actually had the chance to keep the cash. Owner Tillman Fertitta had told them he'd honour their win if they dropped other claims against the casino - but they refused. They now have to hand back their £1.5 million winnings in cash and chips.

Once you've got the idea that you've had a big win, it's not easy to accept that you haven't.

Canadian man Joel Ifergan has recently lost a four-year court battle over a ticket that would have won him C$27 million - if it had only printed out a little more quickly. He's spent an estimated C$100,000 on the case.

Soon after, Oshane Grant of Bristol was told by a bookies that it was only paying out £1,217 on a win he'd been told would net him £9,250. The problem was that the clerk had made a mistake writing the odds on the betting slip; and the rules meant it only had to pay out at the odds displayed on the shop.

And there's a case currently making its way through the Italian courts that hinges on a software glitch that affected online casino Eurobet. Bruni Venturi raked in £650,000 over the course of three hours after betting just £17, but was told he couldn't have the money.

Sometimes, though, the mistake goes the other way: two years ago, Canadian grandmother Maria Carreiro was delighted when she thought she'd won C$40,000 - only to discover that the true figure was actually C$40 million.

Biggest UK lottery winners

Biggest UK lottery winners

Read more on AOL Money:
Poundstretcher staff gamble profits away

Prison for casino theft manager

The gambler who came within a whisker of a £1 million win
Thieves Storm Calgary Casino, Steal Empty ATM