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An attempt to trick a casino is never proper. The great majority of people who have tried it have faced a police investigation and a protracted prison sentence. However, there are always individuals whose scams go unreported or who can escape when their plans are discovered.
It is impossible to estimate how many people have successfully defrauded, and, likely, many of them are still alive and operating frauds today. Only a small portion of those who are caught do, however, wind up doing less time than anticipated.
Richard Marcus will go down in history as one of the most active casino scammers. He is still at large, and neither an investigation into his frauds nor an attempt to extradite him has ever been made. In actuality, his thefts from roulette tables weren’t made public knowledge until he retired and authored a book about them. This case begs the issue of how many additional individuals like Marcus are working under the radar of the law and the casinos.
He had a simple plan of attack, but it worked incredibly well. Marcus would arrange his chips in a roulette game so that the lesser value ones were on top and the higher value ones were below. Marcus would grab his lost wagers and hurl them at the dealer while acting inebriated, exchanging one chip with a greater value for another chip with a lesser value. He was cheating on his losing spins in his daze by exchanging bigger losses for smaller ones. When his numbers came up, he would leave the chips where they were, and then, while the dealer was celebrating, he would tell the dealer that his stack was worth much more than the top chip.
Women have long played a role in casino scams, often being used to distract players or dealers or even carry out the schemes themselves without raising as much suspicion as their male accomplices. Ida Summers went above and beyond by playing both sides in a long-running deception. Eventually, Summers became known as the Vegas Vixen, and blackjack became her game of choice. She frequently “mucked the pot” at blackjack tables by showing up and playing multiple hands. A skilled sleight-of-hand maneuver allowed her to switch out the cards she was handed for her own, effectively increasing her chances of winning. This is accomplished by using “cold decks,” which modify the game’s outcomes.
The FBI’s assistance allowed casino management to learn about her deception, nevertheless. Summers received probation and was permitted to continue living free rather than serving time in jail. She was extremely fortunate to avoid the calamity that befalls the vast majority of casino scammers; some have hypothesized that her attractiveness and charisma contributed to her success.
The creativeness of the scam artists who prey on casinos is well recognized. But occasionally all it takes to get away unnoticed is an arrogant exterior and boundless self-assurance. Bill Brennan worked as a cashier in an upscale casino in Las Vegas and had the plan to pack his bag one day to steal $500,000 in chips and cash. As he did every day, he collected the bounty after his shift and left the building without a second thought. He miraculously slipped out of the casino without drawing attention, and he has since disappeared from view. Some say he was murdered, but only Bill Brennan is certain of what happened to him and the money. The casino notified the police about the missing money, but Brennan has evaded capture ever since.