Otherwise known as the Vegas Vixen, Ida Summers is one of the few women who was involved in casino cheating scams as an active player, rather than just a beautiful distraction for the men who were committing the scandals.
Don’t get us wrong, Ida certainly was beautiful, and she did use this to her advantage (because let’s face it, who wouldn’t?), but she didn’t rely solely on her feminine wiles and sparkling personality, she also pulled off some pretty impressive scams and techniques. In fact, she was doing enough to get thousands of dollars daily between the late 1960s and early 1970s!
At just 5 foot 2 inches, and weighing less than 100 pounds, she was a pocket-sized, brunette bombshell who knew exactly how to get men to trust her, including those that should have known better, such as the dealers. She played a variety of games, including poker games such as Texas Hold’em and Caribbean Stud, but her most profitable game was Blackjack.
Ida’s original technique was “hand-mucking” where you bring a few of your own cards to play during the games. Of course, this wasn’t as easy as it sounds as the cards had to be the same ones used in the casino so Ida would either steal decks when dealers weren’t looking or charm them into giving her them so she could “practice at home”. She’d hide the spare cards up her sleeve and using this technique managed to get to 21 in a game of Blackjack hundreds of times.
Her next method was using coolers or cold decks. A very risky way of cheating, this involved having a shoe of cards that were specifically arranged to ensure she won. The deck had to be convincing and swapped without being seen - not easy! In an ironic turn of events, Ida actually hired male friends to distract the dealers while she did this. This worked so well that she often had to lose on purpose or let her male accomplice win so as not to arouse suspicion.
She was finally caught after the FBI had watched her for several months, gathering evidence to prove that she had been cheating. There are theories that they were tipped off by one of her male partners, although this has never been proven. In true Ida style, she charmed the judges into giving her probation rather than a jail sentence, whereas many of her male accomplices were sent to jail
Ida Summers has gone down in history as one of the top casino cheats of all time.