Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to cheat at slots? Well, history has proven that it is possible and there were people who have successfully devised different ways to beat the house by cheating. Some are rather simple, using crude tools to get their way while others continuously improved their methods as casinos upgraded their security.
While we don’t recommend, suggest, nor encourage you to carry out any activities that break laws, it’s good fun to know how some people have cheated at slots and escaped detection for many years.
1. Alter the Source Code
Legitimate slot machines, including online slots, are programmed to give a fair payout rate with the outcome being truly random. However, if you know the source code and could change it, then you can rig the game to give a much higher payout.
This was exactly what the infamous computer programmer, Ronald Dale Harris, did back in the ’90s. He was hired to find flaws and bugs in computerised casino games and had access to the source codes of these games. He rigged some slot games to give out large payouts when a certain symbol combination was achieved and a certain number of coins was inserted. He managed to win thousands of dollars undetected until he was exposed when his partner tried to redeem a winning keno ticket.
2. The Yo-Yo Coin
Perhaps one of the earliest slot machine cheats is the yo-yo coin, which has a piece of string attached to a real coin. The player then drops the coin into a slot machine to activate it, then pull out the coin afterwards using the string. This allows the cheat to make countless spins without actually spending anything. However, this trick is not the easiest to master and will take some practising. It might also not work on newer slot machines with anti-cheating devices installed.
3. Exploit Software Bugs
Some slot games have undetected software glitches that could give you a huge payout. The trick here is to find out what the bugs are exactly, and how to manipulate the machine so that you can trigger this glitch at will.
The most famous – or should we say – infamous casino game software glitch was found in IGT’s first video poker machine, The Game King. The bug was that you play on the smallest stake possible, losing just peanuts until you get a good hand, like a Royal Flush for example. Then, before cashing out, you can switch your stake to the highest one by using the “More Games” button, effectively getting the machine to reward you as if you’ve wagered the highest stake possible.
4. Using Fake Coins
There have been many attempts at cheating on slot machines with fake coins. However, none was as successful as Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio who had produced thousands of fake coins in the ’90s. He managed to scam casinos for many years until his arrest in 1998. Although he was released 8 years later, he quickly resumed his cheating ways and was swiftly apprehended by the authorities again.
5. Slot Machine Rigging Devices
Meet Tommy Glenn Carmichael, perhaps the most notorious person in slot machine cheating history. He spent close to 40 years rigging slot machines, inventing new devices as casinos upgraded their slot machines with better protection against such devices.
It all started when Carmichael’s friend, Ray Ming, introduced the top-bottom joint device to him, which is a piece of coiled wire that could force a slot to discharge all coins that it holds. When slot machines were upgraded to use RNG, Carmichael invented the Monkey Paw, which when inserted up the payout chute, could trigger the machine to release its coins. When slots got upgraded again, he invented the Light Wand, which works similar to the Monkey Paw but uses light to shock the machine into releasing its coins.
6. Shaved Coins
A shaved coin is a slot token with its edge shaved or cut off, reducing the diameter of the coin slightly. As slot machines use visual sensors to recognise the coins fed into them, they would recognise a shaved coin as being a valid token and its corresponding credit would be registered. However, with its slightly reduced size, the physical coin compartment would reject the shaved coin, returning it back to the cheater. Therefore, the slot cheat could use the same shaved coin over and over again for credits in slot machines.
7. The Banknote Validator
Sometimes also known as the bill validator, this is a relatively new device to cheat slot machines. This device has two prongs and is usually camouflaged with a low-value banknote. When the prongs hit the contact points in the banknote validator of the slot machine, it will recognise anything inserted as a high-value note.
Some slot machines have already been upgraded to recognise the banknote validator cheating device. Therefore, you can only use this on machines that have not been upgraded yet.
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