No joke, this is a true story. A little less than a month ago online blackjack players in Armenia were suddenly without online blackjack. The connection, the internet, the games—and even an online blackjack tournament—were all interrupted when 75 year old Aishtan Shakarian cut through an international fiber optic backbone cable, known as the West-East cable, that connected Armenia to the rest of the world’s internet.
The elderly woman had been out gathering scrap metal to sell when she found a steel wrapped cable. Thinking to bring what she could carry with her to sell, the grandmother of eight began to chop away at the cable. After about ten hours of hacking at the cable Shakarian was able to pull free a twenty meter section of the steel casing. In doing so she damaged the fiber optic internet cable to the point that the majority of the country lost its internet connection for around twelve hours.
Online blackjack is the second most popular online casino game in all of Armenia, hence all of the upset when the cable was damaged and internet service lost. At the time the cable was damaged an online blackjack tournament was taking place. Players in this particular tournament were highly upset due to the fact that entry fees into the tournament were unrefundable, and after twelve hours of no internet, there was no one winning that tournament.
At the time Shakarian was arrested and admitted to damaging the cable while digging. When commenting on the situation, Zurab Gvenetadze, a police spokesman, said, ‘Her age is a mitigating factor. I am not expecting the prosecution to push for a strict punishment.” It is likely she will face a fine, some time doing community service and potentially a year in prison. It is unclear if she knew what the cable was for and if she knew she was cutting her country off from the Internet. There has also been no word on whether the online blackjack tournament players received a refund owing to the exceptional circumstances.