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Her game of choice was usually blackjack , but she would occasionally play poker as well. It wasn't uncommon for her to rake in thousands of dollars on a daily basis.
So, how did she do it? Summers would use a cheating technique called "hand mucking. She was able to this without being caught by striking up a conversation with the dealer so that his attention would be focused on what she was saying instead of what she was doing.
Once she got a little braver, she started bringing her own cards that she would swap out when she was dealt a bad hand at poker. She could only do this at casinos that used the same brand of cards that she had; otherwise, casino officials would have noticed that she switched the cards out for her own.
She eventually moved on to switching out entire decks of cards for "coolers" or decks that were pre-arranged to guarantee a win for her. It wasn't long before pit bosses started to get suspicious of this woman whose luck never seemed to run out.
In order to avoid heat from the casinos, Summers would lose on purpose. Every time she lost, she would make a big scene about it, so that the memory of her loss would stick in their minds.
Summers recruited some men she could trust to help her bring in more revenue without having to spend as much time in the casinos herself. She trained them on the process of hand mucking and gave them tips on how to swap cards out without getting caught.
They would be able to keep the majority of money that they won, as she would only take a small percentage of their winnings as a payment for their training.
Her team of casino cheaters nicknamed her the "Vegas Vixen," which is what she is still known as today. At her peak, Summers was overseeing 10 individuals who were successfully winning at the blackjack and poker tables thanks to her lucrative cheating techniques.
So, what did Summers do with all her money? She used it to feed her shopping addiction. When she wasn't at a casino, she would often be found at a mall.
She would buy luxury shoes, purses, jewelry, and anything else that was in style. Staying up to date with all the latest trends was very important to her.
Surprisingly enough, what wasn't important to her was the condition of her home. She lived in a rundown apartment in a bad neighborhood.
Despite having enough money to afford a better living situation, she never looked into getting an upgrade.
After a vacation in he became hooked on blackjack and recalled that Edward Thorp see 1 had written that the game was mathematically beatable. He tried card counting but was unsuccessful, and that was when he concluded that he would use computers to get an edge in the casinos.
He first completed a pound computer named George to help with card counting which he controlled with his toes and wore under his clothes.
Being too bulky, he created a more lightweight device which he named David and was shockingly advanced for its time. The image would be relayed to an accomplice who had a satellite on a pickup truck in the parking lot, and he in turn would signal back to the player the best move to make.
Other genius inventions included Thor, a computer which could deduce the positioning of cards in a deck if a perfect shuffle was used, and Naina, a sequencing computer.
In Nevada made it illegal to use electronic devices to aid in gambling, with a punishment of 10 years in prison. However, this was after Taft had won thousands upon thousands of dollars over the years.
For all his sweat, blood, and tears and pioneering computer work, Taft was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in With striking good looks, Ida Summers was not a woman who would seem to be the epitome of a casino cheater, but in the 60s and 70s she reeled in tens of thousands of dollars in the casinos using guile and shiftiness.
Hand mucking involves concealing a card that has been brought to the table or removed from play, then through sleight of hand returning it to play when it will benefit the player.
She made her way to Las Vegas and continued her cunning ways. This makes her next move even more brazen. She took it a step further and began to insert cold decks or coolers into the games.
Cold decks are pre-stacked decks, brought in by the player, that are traded out with the deck being used in the game.
It is an incredibly dangerous maneuver to pull in a casino, but somehow Ida was able to successfully execute it.
The fact that there were really no known female cheats at the time made her nearly invincible for a while. Soon she became a legend among the shady underworld of casino cheats since nobody in their right mind had ever attempted inserting a cold deck before.
Her boldness caught up with her however as the FBI and gaming officials ultimately brought her down. Tommy Glenn Carmichael, like Keith Taft, was a gifted individual who created prodigiously clever devices to gain an enormous edge in the casino.
However, his game was the slots. This device was a pretty simplistic piece of metal that produced payouts when inserted into the coin slot.
Soon, larger casinos replaced their older slot machines with newer ones that had random number generators. As a result, Carmichael moved to smaller gambling halls in Las Vegas but he was arrested at one of these and sentenced to jail.
Jail however only strengthened his reserve and when he was released got back to work evolving his cheating instruments. He developed tools called a Slider and Monkey Paw which when slipped into the machine tripped a switch and caused the hopper to release coins.
When slot machines went computer-based he immediately went on the offense and went to a slot machine manufacturer posing as a customer.
He had the salesperson open up the new machines as he studied their innards. This gadget consisted of a camera battery and miniature light and was used to blind a sensor inside the slots causing it to payout coins.
In he was arrested for using the wand but charges were later dropped. But in the next three years he was arrested twice in casinos for possession of a cheating device.
The FBI became involved and in Carmichael was sentenced to time served and probation. Today he consults casinos and ironically produces anti-cheating devices.
In the late 90s law enforcement agencies from various states, the FBI, Secret Service, and others, descended upon the home of Louis Colavecchio.
There, and at his orthotics business, they found thousands of manufactured slot tokens from dozens of casinos throughout North America.
What sets Colavecchio apart from other counterfeiters is that he was able to duplicate just about anything made out of precious metals or stones.
These hard-to-obtain things included: He was so good, that when coins were brought by officials to one of the casinos Colavecchio had hit, security experts there did not even believe they were counterfeit.
He was able to decimate casinos in Las Vegas before law enforcement had any perception of his crimes. It was impossible to ascertain a definite amount since those in Las Vegas refused to even acknowledge that they had been cheated.
A plea deal was reached when he promised to show law enforcement exactly how his operation had worked in order to help in the prevention of future, similar assaults on casinos.
Ida Summers, better known as Vegas Vixen, earned her name for the bold cheating techniques that earned her thousands of dollars on a daily basis during the late s until the early s across the casinos of Las Vegas.
More information on the life and adventures of Ida Summers has been provided in the paragraphs below. When discussing Ida Summers bold cheating techniques, we cannot overlook how she used her attractiveness to gain an advantage at the tables.
Ida was gorgeous, having long brown hair and a very petite body. She was only five feet, two inches and she weighed less than a hundred pounds.
Hand-mucking involves bringing one or two of your own cards into play at the table; of course these cards have to match the cards being used by the casino perfectly.
After Ida managed to obtain a deck of cards, she had to discreetly bring these cards into play whenever they would be useful.
Often times, Ida would hide these cards in her sleeves and then secretly swap them with another card in her hand in order to reach twenty-one on blackjack.
She used this method hundreds of times without ever being caught. This move was extremely risky for a plethora of reasons. For starters, she had to find a shoe that matched the casino shoes perfectly in order to avoid suspicion.