When people hear that a woman was involved in a casino cheating scandal, they often assume that she was used simply as a distraction and that she didn’t play a vital role in executing the plan. This, however, is certainly not the case when it comes to Ida Summers.
She’s one of the most successful casino cheats in history and she did the majority of the cheating without anyone’s help.
Yes, she did flaunt her beauty and use her captivating personality to distract the dealer and pit bosses from paying too close of attention to her moves, but she was the one actually pulling off very risky hustling techniques at the same time.
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 1960s until the early 1970s 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.
Not only was she beautiful but she had a way of convincing these men that she was interested in them in order to distract them from doing their job the way it’s supposed to be done. She would flirt with the dealers to the point that they didn’t even realize she was cheating them out of their money.
Ida’s game of choice was definitely blackjack, as this brought her in the most revenue. However, she had tried playing several different forms of poker including Texas Hold’em and Caribbean Stud, making substantial money off of them as well.
When Ida Summers first made an appearance in Las Vegas, she would use the process of “hand-mucking” to make a living.
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.
She would often steal decks of cards from dealers who weren’t paying attention or would sometimes even persuade these men to give her one of the casino decks, so she could “practice” at home.
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.
“Coolers” or “cold decks” were blackjack shoes filled with prearranged cards that were equipped to flawlessly beat the house. 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. Plus, she had to physically switch the original shoe with her own in the matter of seconds without being seen by the pit boss, the dealer, or any nearby players.
Despite all the odds being against her, Ida Summer was successfully able to use these “coolers” to guarantee herself a win. Ida needed assistance to follow through with this plan though, so she recruited several male friends to help in her efforts.
She would usually hold the original shoe that she took off the table in her lap until she had the opportunity to pass it off to one of her accomplices. They would dispose of it for her and in return would receive a small portion of her winnings.
This technique was actually so victorious, that she would sometimes have to lose on purpose in order to avoid being suspected of cheating. So she wasn’t the only one winning, Ida would sometimes switch things around and would have her male accomplices play the hand while she disposed of the original shoe.
She only hired men she trusted to help her, as she knew what the risks would be of letting someone in on this operation that she couldn’t trust.
The exact details on how casino officials and the FBI finally caught and arrested Ida Summers are somewhat unclear. They had apparently been watching her for several months before they accumulated enough evidence to prove that she was actually cheating the system.
This just shows how talented of a cheat she was. Speculators believe that one of her male partners may have tipped of the police about her actions, but this has never been proven.
Her accomplices were also discovered and arrested for their actions and some of them even served jail time for the crimes.
Overall, Ida was very lucky that her punishments weren’t worse, as we must remember that in those times the casinos were often run by the Mafia. She could have easily been killed for her actions.
Breaking Vegas was a show that aired in 2004 and 2005 on The History Channel and it centered on the criminals who managed to cheat the casinos of Las Vegas out of millions of dollars. One of the last episodes they featured, in May of 2005, was called Vegas Vixen.
It was focused on the life and cheating techniques of Ida Summers. The beautiful Natalie Nardone represented Ida in this episode and the makers of the show did an amazing job of portraying how Ida Summers operated in the casinos.
Ida Summers has definitely made a name for herself and she will never be forgotten. She was placed in Casino Placard’s Casino Cheats Hall of Fame and she was rated six on ListVerse’s Top 10 Casino Cheats. ListVerse had this to say about her,
We would also like to make it a point to mention that she was the only female to make the list, which must mean her cheating abilities surpassed those of many men.