Ida summers, also known as, "The Vegas Vixen," appeared as a kind, petite social-light to everyone she came in contact with in the 1960s and 70s. She sure had them fooled though, as there was certainly more to her than her looks and bubbly personality.
Summers was cunning and deceptive. She wasn't afraid to take risks by using hand mucking and cold deck techniques that even the most devious cheats of her time wouldn't dare to use. With her smart tactics and stunning looks, she was able to swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars out from the hands of Las Vegas casinos.
How it All Started
No really knows where this mysterious beauty came from, but when she arrived in Las Vegas in the early 1960s, she surely grabbed the attention of everyone who had the pleasure of crossing her path.
When she started playing Blackjack at all the local Las Vegas casinos, she certainly seemed to know what she was doing, sometimes racking in thousands of dollars a night. Early on, one of Summers' favorite moves was "hand mucking," which is the act of hiding a card that she either brought to the table or that had been removed from play, and then returning it to the table during another play to help her win a round or to prevent her from going bust.
Sometimes she was able to switch out several different cards per game. Summers mostly used this move while playing blackjack, but she would occasionally move on to poker tables too. Her beauty was so distracting that even though she did everything practically out in the open, none of her male competitors ever noticed.
Las Vegas Legend
Summers embraced Las Vegas and started taking even bigger risks by inserting cold decks or coolers into the games. Cold decks are pre-stacked decks that Summers would bring in herself that were strategically stacked to give her the best opportunity to win.
She would swap her stacked deck out with the deck being used in the game. This is an incredibly risky task to carry out in a casino, but somehow Ida was able to successfully implement it hundreds of times.
It seemed like just about every night, Summers would be winning another round of blackjack. Her methods were so successful that she would lose hands on purpose sometimes so that she wouldn't be suspected of cheating.
After Summers figured out how to work the system, she decided that it would be more beneficial for her to work in a group so she recruited different men who she trusted to help her bring in even more revenue.
Casinos in Las Vegas were typically run by the mafia during this time, so she truly was putting her life on the line, because if they found out she was cheating or leading a group of cheaters for that matter, they might even put her to death. Lucky for her though, that's not what happened.
Gaming commission officials in Las Vegas teamed up with the FBI to capture Summers and her teammates. Despite all the evidence and claims against her, Summers was only sentenced to a year of probation. Ida Summers was the only known successful female casino con artist of her time, making her a true legend in the eyes of gamblers everywhere.
Author: Nicole Miller
Updated: Novemeber 2016