I read a lot of articles that say that Houdini was a pretty bad magician, so I don't think that fooling him was such a huge feat...
A lot of magicians from that time could fool him, they just didn't try.
True and untrue.
Houdini was a great performer. He knew how to read his audience and play things up as long as he could. He was not the most amazing technician. He was not a master with a pack of cards but he could jazz it up plenty. He did not do much magic and that is true. He was more into escapes because that is where he felt he could hold peoples attention better. Everyone always looks at you if you are in a deadly position. He did perform the vanishing elephant, the needles, and some card scaling but only a few feats more then that.
I do agree about Houdini begin stubborn and egotistic. Being marked as the best at something after a childhood like his can be like a drug. All the evidence needed is how he died. Kind of like saying that you want someone to kill you (get the reference). He basically thought he was good enough to take anything from anyone. Rumor has it that he even claimed to know how Vernon did his trick but never gave any evidence of it.