Ida Summers probably thought of herself as just a gambler with the edge. The truth is she probably went down in history as biggest casino cheat of all time.
Ida Summers Casino Cheat – Charm Beauty and Skill
It was probably her beauty and charm which facilitated her success as a casino cheat. Apart from being very skilled at cheating with cards apparently, she was a very professional flirt. Being very pretty and petite with a huge personality she was nicknamed as the “Vegas Vixen”.
History tells us that most casino cheats were males so, being an attractive female may just have given her the edge. Also historically, most gambling scams involved using pretty women as a distraction.
Initially, Ida Summers worked as a dealer on the Blackjack tables and honed her skills at “hand mucking“. Hand mucking occurs when a player deliberately retains a card for later use in the game. The card will be concealed or hidden, thus it is secretly withdrawn from the game. Later, Ida learned to prearrange decks of cards in favour of the players, rather than the house.
During the 60’s and 70’s of the last century she scammed the casinos out of thousands of dollars every day.
She would flirt with the dealers, when playing at hand mucking to the point that they were totally distracted. Ida even used to steal a deck of cards, rearrange them and return them without the dealer even being aware of what she had done. She would also take cards from the deck and introduce the to the table when playing. Her main game was Blackjack but she also used the technique in other forms of games, like Poker. She also worked with male accomplices at the tables in return for a share of the winnings.
Ida was so successful at cheating that, at times she had to deliberately lose to throw off suspicion.
Remember, in the days before CCTV was installed in casinos, only the pit bosses would have stood a chance of detecting her. Think about it, the only way they could catch Ida in the act was to search her. That would not have been possible without the police being there so she was on fairly safe ground.
Predominantly, her turf was Las Vegas and the local Gaming Officials were becoming more and more suspicious of her activities. Eventually the FBI were involved and an investigation was set up. Not much is known about her eventual arrest and subsequent charging but, as a result, she did appear in Court. Luck must have been on her side that day because she walked out with only a probation order. Was it a male judge you might ask, we do not know.
Probably the worst thing about it, from her point of view was that she had been rumbled. No doubt the word was out and she would have had a hard time entering a casino in Las Vegas.
Read more about casino scams.
Other Gambling Scams which involved criminal activity
The Roselli Brothers who conned the banks and casinos out of 37 million dollars during the 1990’s.
Louis Colavecchio who became an expert forger of casino tokens. He went to prison for seven years and then tried again.
Bill Brennan a casino employee who apparently walked out of a casino at the end of his shift with half a million dollars in casino chips and cash.
Dennis Nikrasch a slot machine cheat who reportedly won more than 15 million dollars over time.
Monique Laurent a Roulette cheat who worked with her brother to electronically control the outcome of the spin.
Richard Marcus who won hundreds of thousands of dollars by manipulating casino chips.
Ronald Dale Harris and Reid NcNeil who learned to cheat the the gaming machine software.
Tommy Carmichael who manipulated slot machines to win. He is now a reformed character an works as a slot machine security consultant.
A Blackjack card counting scam which enabled a group of students to win millions of dollars from US casinos.
A card cheating mobile phone which can scan and read a deck of cards, discovered by Google.