Oswald Jacoby

December 1, 2020 at 3:14 am

Oswald Jacoby About Oswald Jacoby

Oswald “Ozzie” “Jake” Jacoby was one of Americas most remarkable and most renowned card players in the 20th century. He was born in 1902 in Brooklyn New York and was a mathematical genius by all accounts. When he was 15, he lied about his age to join the army during WW1. Luckily he never saw much action and spent the last two months of the war playing poker.

After the war he enrolled at the Columbia University which he funded with his poker winnings. He became known for his genius in games when he beat the US champion, Frank Marshall, in a chess match. Once he earned his actuary license, he dropped out of University and started working as one of the youngest actuaries in New York History.

Jacoby’s Career

Oswald Jacoby was not only an expert in Bridge and Chess but also in Poker, Gin, Rummy, Canasta, Backgammon and Checkers. Furthermore, he wrote books about all of these games. He won multiple national titles during the 1930s and wrote a nationally syndicated bridge column for 34 years writing over 10 000 newspaper articles purely about Bridge. He also invented bidding conventions which are still popular today, and they are the Jacoby transfer and Jacoby 2NT bids.

In 1970 and 1971 he captained the North American and US teams that won the Bermuda Bowl. During his long career, he won many tournaments with various partners, including his son and wife of more than 50 years, His final tournament victory was at the ACBL late in 1983. He died from cancer in 1984, but Jacoby was posthumously made one of the founding members of the ACBL Hall of Fame in 1995. It is in this Hall of Fame that his masterful, and genius legacy lives on.

John Montagu

October 15, 2020 at 3:15 am

John Montagu Accomplished Gambler and Nobleman

John Montagu was not your usual professional gambler. He accomplished many great things as the 4th Earl of Sandwich. He negotiated treaties, sponsored a voyage through the Pacific and served as a captain of a regiment.

This extraordinary man was born in Cheswick in November 1718 and lost his father at the early age of 4. His mother got remarried, leaving him to be raised by his Grandmother and rarely seeing his mother. As a way to deal with the stress of his duties, he turned to gambling for comfort. His love for cards saw him spend endless hours around card tables, winning and losing thousands of pounds regularly.

The Impact of Gambling

Montagu first started gambling when in College. He was encouraged by his friends to join them at Horse Races, and when it came to this form of gambling, Montagu was too cautious.

As the years passed, he stopped betting on horses and started focusing on card games instead. He would spend hour’s playing cards, and his longest stint lasted 24 hours. He enjoyed convenience when eating during card games and would often ask his servants for pieces of meat between two slices of bread. He wanted this so he could hold the sandwich in one hand while holding cards in the other. Hence the birth of the sandwich because those who played against him started asking for “the same as sandwich.”

Know when to Quit

Once Montagu started playing cards, he did not know when to quit and would often lose thousands of pounds in one night. He, however, did enjoy a winning streak that paid for Captain Cook’s voyage through the Pacific Ocean where he discovered Australia and small islands, which he named The Sandwich Islands which are today known as the islands of Hawaii.

Montagu eventually depleted his savings due to his gambling habits, and when he passed away in April 1792 he was broke.

Brian Molony

August 21, 2020 at 3:16 am

Brian Molony The Banker and Gambler with a Secret

Brian Molony is a former compulsive Canadian Gambler and embezzler who was one of four children of a Toronto Doctor. He started stealing from his parents at the age of 10, to feed his addiction at the race track. Further to this, he also acted as a bookie for his school friends.

He graduated from the University of Ontario with the notion of being a financial writer; however, he did exceptionally well in the CIBC aptitude test, so the Canadian Bank placed him in their management training programme. Molony started off as a teller, then moved across to savings, current accounts, forex and loan accounting. He then floated between the bank’s vast network of some 1600 branches; giving him a broader insight into their workings and weaknesses. It was the start of his secret life that led to his ultimate downfall.

Gambling and Embezzlement

Molony led an unassuming life, ensuring he kept a low profile wearing inexpensive suits, leaving minimal tips at restaurants all whilst embezzling $10.2 million from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to feed his gambling habits.

During his prime, he was betting up to $75 000 a hand by playing anything from craps to poker. He even dabbled in sports betting and once lost $800 000 when he placed a bet on a team that lost. On the other hand, he wagered $500 000 on a winning team at the Super Bowl, successfully doubling his money.

Brian Molony was arrested on April 27, 1982, the day after he lost a million dollars at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel-Casino. Molony pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was incarcerated. On release, he agreed to community service and a programme of restitution which included public speaking on the compulsion of gambling.

Today Brian Molony works as a management consultant and is also paying back the funds he stole. He is happily married with three children living in a modest home in Pickering, Ontario.

Ida Summers

June 15, 2020 at 3:18 am

Ida Summers The Vixen of Vegas

Ida Summers or better known as the Vegas Vixen, is one of the most notorious and successful casino cheaters of all time. A petite and attractive woman with bold cheating techniques earned herself thousands of dollars daily during the 1960s and 1970s across casinos in Las Vegas.

Summers Bold Cheating Techniques

Amongst many cheating techniques Ida Summers used, was her attractiveness. She would flirt with the dealers to the point that they lost focus and did not realise she was cheating them out of their money. She also used the process of hand mucking when she first arrived in Vegas. Hand mucking involves bringing one or two of your own cards into play, but you have to match the cards being used by the casino perfectly.

Often Ida Summers would steal cards from the dealers or at times convince the dealer to give her one of the casino’s decks so she could “practice at home”. Upon her return to the chosen casino she would hide the cards in her sleeve and swop them without being noticed so she could reach 21, Blackjack her game of choice.

As she grew bolder, Ida decided to use “cooler” as her new method of cheating. Cooler or Cold Decks were Blackjack shoes filled with pre-arranged cards that were flawlessly designed to beat the house. It was risky as it entailed shoe swopping, yet Summers managed to pull it off by recruiting several male friends to assist her in her efforts.

The End

The details on exactly how Ida Summers landed up getting caught is unclear. Assumptions were that the FBI had been watching her for several months gathering sufficient evidence to prove she was cheating. It is said that the FBI received a tip-off by one of her male companions. Ida Summers indeed cheated death too, because the Mafia ran the casinos at that time; instead, she got off with probation.