Casino Files: Cheaters’ Hall of Shame

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It’s not news when a cheater gets caught at a casino. The unsavory games some people play are fairly easy for sophisticated casino security systems to detect. But when players manage to evade the long arm of the law or escape capture altogether, well that’s noteworthy. Here are four of the most interesting cases in the cheater’s hall of shame.

Ida Summers – The Dangerous Games Women Play

Lovely ladies have long been known to use their charms to swindle casinos, whether alone or working with male accomplices. One of these scammers is Ida Summers, aka The Vegas Vixen. Summers’s specialty was blackjack; her M.O. was to jump from table to table and win by switching cards using sleight of hand. She was eventually caught by the FBI, but managed to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.

Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is considered the greatest cheater never to be caught. Indeed, his deceits only became known after he retired from gambling and published his book, “American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down—My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off the World’s Casinos”. Marcus’s game was roulette, and his procedure was simple. When playing roulette, he would stack his chips with a lower-denomination chip on top and a higher-denomination chip beneath. Pretending to be intoxicated, he would toss the chips at the dealer after a loss, in the process swapping out higher for lower chips and minimizing his losses. Marcus avoided the scrutiny of casinos with this clever tactic, which are mainly on the lookout for suspicious winners, not losers.  He now works as a consultant to help casinos catch other cheaters.

Louis Colavecchio – Counterfeit Coins

Louis Colavecchio was an American casino counterfeiter known as “The Coin”. While residing in Rhode Island, Colavecchio defrauded several Atlantic City and Connecticut casinos by making fake slot machine coins. He was arrested and convicted in 1998. After being granted parole in 2006, Colavecchio—like Marcus—turned his cheating skills into a profession and now works as a casino consultant.

Bill Brennan – The Long Game

Sometime during the morning of September 22, 1992, a casino cashier named Bill Brennan calmly walked out of the Stardust in Las Vegas with $507,361 in cash and gaming chips. He has not been seen since. Presumably, Brennan is still alive, although his whereabouts are unknown.  It remains Las Vegas’ most lucrative unsolved heist.

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