Posted in Guides, Industry June 27, 2020

Cheating Slot Machines – Yay or Nay?

Even though any attempt at cheating in both brick-and-mortar and online casinos is considered a crime, many players have tried to do it in one way or another. Since slots are the only type of casino game you play alone, they were the most common choice for fraudulent players.

As technology advanced, online video slots replaced traditional slot machines that you could allegedly cheat. Yet, the question remains: was this ever really possible in the past? And if it was, what were the ways to do it?

In this text, we will analyze all the popular myths about cheating slot machines and check whether or not the rumours are true. Stay tuned!

The Most Popular Fables About Cheating Slot Machines

Since the moment slot machines first appeared, players have tried to trick them into cashing out more coins than they normally would. Numerous myths about techniques for cheating slots have been circulating the web, and we decided to get into some details on the notable few:

  • Cheating slots with magnets
  • Coin cheats
  • Cheating devices
  • Cheat codes
  • Cell phones
  • Software and hardware cheats

We would like to emphasize that this text is written for informative purposes only, meaning you shouldn’t try any of the methods described here under any circumstances. Also bear in mind that these techniques date back to the time when only traditional slots were available in land-based casinos.

Today, slots are powered by sophisticated technology that can detect fraud in a matter of seconds and are virtually impossible to manipulate. You can even go to jail for trying to tamper with them. However, purely for the sake of fun, we decided to let you in on all the crazy things people tried throughout history when it comes to cheating slots. Let’s get right into it!

Cheating a Slot Machine with a Magnet

In the 1960s, when slot machines were completely mechanical, there was a belief that a strong magnet could be used to make the reels create the desired outcome. Players would hold the magnet near the reels and wait for them to show the winning combination. Once that happened, they would hide the magnet and cash out their winnings. 

Yet, if you are thinking of buying a strong magnet that can fit into your pocket, let us save you some time. Even though this might have been possible back then, slots today use random number generators to determine the outcome of each round – in other words, any attempt to cheat modern slots with a magnet would be useless.

Cheating Slots with Coins

After the magnet thing, some other cheaters thought of cheating slots with coins. Let’s take a look at what type of coins served this purpose.

Fake Coins

We all know that old-timey slots were powered by coins. These coins were specifically designed for casinos and featured particular sizes and weights. The players who were able to find other coins with a similar weight and size used those to trigger slots and play for free until they hit a jackpot.

Shaved Coins

After fake coins, the era of shaved coins arrived. These were coins with shaved edges that were meant to trick slot machines’ light sensors. Namely, a player would put in a proper coin followed by a shaved coin. The slot would count in the value of the shaved coin as it has already entered the machine, but the light sensor would detect it as inadequate and eject it, giving players a chance to use it again and increase their game balance.

Coin on a String

The coin on a string trick borrows its pattern from the yo-yo toy. A coin is attached to a string and inserted into a slot. Once the slot registers the coin and starts the game, the player can take it out by pulling the string. After casinos realized that coins can be used for cheating to a large extent, they’ve changed the mechanism and made this trick impossible.

Cheating Devices for Slot Machines

Apart from coins, players also used to come up with various different cheating devices. Some of the most popular ones are described below.

Bill Validator Device

This device was created in order to trick a slot machine to register a $1 bill as a $100 one. It was so thin it could be wrapped around the bill and inserted into the machine without any trouble.

Light Wand

The light wand was used to blind the slot machine’s optical sensor and prevent it from keeping a count of how many coins were put inside. As the so-called feeding of a slot with coins used to influence the payout back then. The machine would pay out faster with the use of a light wand.

Monkey Paw Device

Can you imagine carrying a guitar string attached to a bent metal rod into a casino and using it to cheat slot machines? Neither can we. Still, some players allegedly managed to push this device into the slot’s air vent and trigger the coin hopper that in return made them rich. Whether you believe it or not, please don’t ever try this method as it certainly won’t work today.

Cheat Codes for Slot Machines

After so many complaints from casinos that people won’t stop trying to cheat mechanical slot machines, game providers worked on upgrading them. They added secure source codes to slots machines that couldn’t be manipulated so easily. Nevertheless, there were still people who had an insight into the slot codes and tried to use it for getting rich. To learn more about one particular person who tried to do it, read on.

Cheating a Slot Machine with a Cell Phone

As the technology behind slots advanced, players’ attempts to trick it became more and more creative. The era of cell phones gave birth to a new idea of cheating slots – players would record the reels spinning and send the video to people whose job was to analyze the algorithm of the game until they got the winning combination. When we heard this, all we could say was “good luck with trying to trick modern random number generators.”

Software and Hardware Cheats

Ultimately, after all of the previous methods failed due to improvements made on slot machines, players turned to software and hardware cheats as a last resort.

Finding a Slot Software Glitch

There’s been no perfect machine of any kind ever made. Same goes for slots, meaning some had certain software glitches. Some players realized this and used the glitches to their advantage. However, to discover a glitch on a specific slot, it would take a lot of playing and spending your own cash.

Computer Chip Replacement

Some slot fanatics wanted to cheat the system from inside out. That’s why they bought a slot machine only to dismantle it and find out how it works and how it can be easily manipulated. That’s how they created special computer chips that were programmed to throw out jackpots frequently. Then, a team of cheaters had to replace the original chips in land-based casino slot machines with the reprogrammed ones and simply play that game the following day.

Piano Wire

Piano wires were used to open slot machines and exploit the clock mechanism that served to measure the wheel rotation. In this way, a player could manipulate the spins and get a jackpot quite easily. However, as this cannot really be done secretly, players who tried it were discovered and finished their gambling career then and there.

Top-Bottom Joint

Last but not least, a top-bottom joint was a tool made of a metal rod and a long wire. The purpose of this device was simple – insert the long wire into the coin chute and trigger the machine to cash out all the coins that are inside.

Players Who Got Famous for Slot Machine Cheating

Nowadays, it is known that the outcome of slot games is completely based on luck due to the use of RNG software. Yet, various players have tried their luck in trying to cheat slot machines over the years. Some of them became known across the globe for these cheating attempts, so we decided to mention a few of the most prominent names.

Louis Colaveccio

If you think that cheating slots with coins was just a made-up story, Louis Colavecchio can prove you wrong. This guy became famous for using fake coins in various casinos. He was caught after some time and went to jail for several years. Apparently this wasn’t a strong enough punishment, as he reverted back to his old ways and soon got caught cheating again.

Tommy Carmichael

A well-known figure among gamblers worldwide is Tommy Glenn Carmichael. He is said to be the first person who used a light wand to trigger jackpots on slot machines. Apart from that, he was the brains behind the monkey paw device we previously mentioned in the text.

Ronald Dale Harris

Any regular player would say that cheating by using the source code of a slot machine is not possible since you can’t get to it in the first place. However, a computer technician, Ronald Dale Harris, was the person in charge of randomly checking EPROM chips of slot machines. He cunningly used that advantage to reprogram slot machines to pay out jackpots after inserting a specific number of coins. When the scam was discovered, Harris not only got fired, but he also ended up behind bars.

Dennis Nikrasch

The title of Most Successful Slot Cheater probably belongs to Dennis Nikrasch who managed to cash out more than $15,000,000 from rigging slot machines over the course of two decades. He was the one who first dismantled a slot machine and successfully managed to perform chip replacement together with a team of other cheating experts.

Final Thoughts

All the cheating methods we outlined in this text can today only be used as inspiration for movies and documentaries, as new technology is well protected with different encryptions and virtually impossible to trick. However, it’s fun to remember all the different things people were ready to try just to get some easy cash. Bottom line – we hope you’ve found this text amusing, but don’t try any of these cheating methods unless you are willing to serve some prison time.

Try out some of the slot machines on – find them here!

Casino cheats, Casino Guides, Casino Slots, Cheating, Fraud, Manipulation


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