Hall of Fame.Her name is Ida Summers, and perhaps you've seen her on one of the History Channel's "Breaking Vegas" episodes. Now she's in the poker and casino cheats
Most woman casino cheats are used as diversions to get the attention of male pit bosses away from the table layout where the cheat move goes down, but With Ida Summers, who was one hot babe in her day, the male attention could be right on her when she made those cheat moves. Later known as the Vegas Vixen, she was a master at cunning, quickness (at the casino blackjack table, I don't know about in bed) and getting the money off the table. She was one of the early Nevada female pioneer casino cheats.
Her cheat gig was first "hand-mucking" cards at blackjack tables and then later switching in entire "coolers" (blackjack shoes filled with prearranged cards to cheat the house) at those same blackjack tables. Hand mucking is the art of hiding a card (usually by palming) that has been snuck to the table before the play of a hand or taken off the table after it had been put into play by the dealer. Then with a quick sleight-of-hand movement the mucked card is either returned to play or taken off the table by the card-mucker, all in accordance with whether the cheat needs the card in his or her hand or back in the deck.
Ida Summers used all her beauty and talent to pull of these card swithces.
In addition to her good-looks, she was very flirtatious and very socialable, much like fellow Hall of "Famestress" Ruthie Berin. She was also quite petite, five-feet-two and less than a hundred pounds. This petiteness appealed greatly to the macho pit bosses of her day. She played them on her charm as she expertly and effortlessly switched cards in and out of decks.
But Ida took her cheating to the hilt. Uninspired by the ease of hand-mucking cards, she stepped up her craft to switching entire coolers into play. These are also called "cold decks" that are already prearranged to make the involved players at the table winners on as many hands they want. Some losing hands may be placed between the winners just to make the scam look more believable. After all, a player winning every hand, even if it be a beautiful woman, would surely raise suspicions in even the most distracted pit boss.
What made this move so bold was that the original card show on the table had to be physically lifted off the layout while the cooler was slipped into its spot, all in a split second. AND the shoe taken off the table had to be hidden from everyone's view. Ida managed this by placing that original shoe on her lap and then passing it off to a male cohort standing behind her at the first opportune moment. Then she would leave the table herself while other cohorts would begin playing the hands the dealer dealt from the cooler. The idea was that if they were caught, they would never catch Ida with the removed card shoe at the table.
In spite of this, gaming commission officials in Las Vegas, working in conjunction with the FBI, eventually caught Ida and her casino cheat partners, but they must have been very impressed with her skills and looks as well: she received but probation for her trouble.
At the time of her exploits and arrest, Ida Summers was the only known professional female casino cheat, which made her a true legend in casino cheating and underworld lore.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
While vacationing in the Bahamas in the 60s, Taft got interested in Edward O. Thorp's famous blackjack card-counting book "Beat the Dealer." In fact, he quickly became obsessed by it. However, he did not make any money counting cards at blackjack using Thorp's plus-minus count system.
Thus he turned his attention to developing computers to beat the blackjack tables. His first and now famous invention was a 5-kilo computer that he called "George." He used it to enter data while counting cards at blackjack, using his toes to enter the data to the prototype computer he had tucked underneath his baggy shirt. He later decided that George was a bit unwieldy and developed a lighter device that he called "David."
Taft had immediate success with David, beating Vegas casinos out of fifty grand in the first two weeks of operation. made $40,000 the first week he used it. After taking some heat in casinos, Taft decided he would do better by selling his minicomputers based on the David prototype for ten or fifteen grand apiece, which included his training of the buyers.
This decision Taft made after being grabbed up in a casino and taken to the back room, where he was interrogated by Nevada Gaming Control Board agents as well as the FBI. But neither law enforcement agency had the slightest idea of what the microcomputer actually was and failed to make any legal connection to casino cheating that they could use in court, therefore Taft was releaed.
Another casino.cheating computer deeloped by Taft´s sons Marty and Keith was called the "belly-telly." This was a small video camera they fitted into their belts and could film the dealer's hole-card at blackjack. The image was then transmitted to their cheating partners sitting in a van at the casino's parking lot. These cohorts would then send a signal back to the cheating blackjack players at the table, identifying the value of the hole card.
Yet another electronic gismo invented by Taft and his sons was the "Thor" computer, which could track the positions of cards in a multiple-deck shuffle. This was the first casino-cheat invention that directly led to today's high-tech video-reader devices that are used in blackjack and baccarat shuffle-tracking scams, which are currently costing casinos worldwide millions, especially in Macau.
In 1986, the Nevada Gaming Commission created a law making it illegal to use any electronic devices whatsoever in gaming casinos, which today is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison.
A true casino-cheating pioneer, Keith Taft was also inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2004.