For as long as slot machines have been present, there have always been fraudulent players who tried to “beat the system” and cheat on slots at land-based casinos. In fact, the art of slots has constantly been a thought-provoking subject for all players, as well as the question - how to manipulate a slot machine?
From using high-tech methods to low-tech cheats like putting a coin on a string, people tried different mechanisms in order to crack slot machines and earn big wins at the casino. To name a few, these the most-popular slot machine cheats:
- Cheat Codes
- Cell Phones
- Coin Cheats
- Cheating Devices
- Software and Hardware Malfunction Cheats
Of course, all of them are illegal, so do not try them as gaming authorities take cheating very seriously and those trying to commit a felony while trying to crack these machines can end up in jail. We’re talking about long-term sentences, so do not ever try them yourself.
Although we believe most of these ways to manipulate slots are impossible to implement today, we’ll guide you through them ‘cause we consider them as fun facts. Now, let’s go through some of the naughtiest tricks to winning on slot machines, shall we?
Cheat Codes for Slot Machines
To understand if cheat codes for slot machines have any result, you first need to know how slots work. Gambling jurisdictions’ job is to ensure all software providers, casino operators and players are obeying the rules and regulations, when it comes to playing the games of chance. That’s why all games are carefully audited and monitored throughout the entire gameplay session. Auditing, monitoring and many other aspects of slot games are covered in the third episode of our podcast, how online slots work, so make sure you give it a listen for additional insight.
However, there are always some who try to break the rule. There was one person in particular who attempted to manipulate a slot machine cheat by knowing the source codes and we’ll reveal his name a bit later. Let’s just say cheating by knowing codes is one of the “methods” but we’re not sure if anyone managed to crack the system that way, earn the money and get away with it.
How to Cheat a Slot Machine with a Magnet?
Nowadays slots are protected from any kind of influence by magnetism, but back in the 1960s slot machines were vulnerable and it was possible to use a strong magnet and make the reels spin freely and avoid them from stopping where they were supposed to. But how did it work? Once the combination of symbols on the reels triggered a winning combo, the cheaters would remove the magnet and claim the payout shown on the screen.
Of course, it would be impossible to cheat a slot machine using a magnet today because the outcomes of every game are determined by the random number generator.
How to Cheat a Slot Machine with a Cell Phone?
Using a mobile phone while spinning the reels of a slot machine is a technique some use to figure out the winning combo on the reels. After the video is recorded and sent, the live footage receivers will work out the way by analyzing the algorithm of the game, until they generate the winning combination. Almost every land-based casino will let you film yourself as you play your favourite slots or other casino games, but the figuring out part will indeed be tricky.
Slot Cheats with Coins:
Decades ago, scammers used different tricks to hack slot machines, some of them included different kinds of fake coins, so we thought it might be amusing to find out more about them. In fact, here they are:
Ever since their creation, slot games became more advanced and even started using a light sensor in order to register payments. In most cases, the optic sensor worked unconnectedly to the physical comparator. So, in case a shaved coin was inserted at the very same time as an object with an identical shape and size, the shaved coin would be returned as the other object would stay inside the machine and start the game.
Long time ago, slot machines used to receive bets which were based on the weight of coins. That said, some players were using fake coins which weighed the same as the real ones and were made of similar metals. Some of them got away, some of them didn’t, but what we know for a fact is that the technology became so sophisticated that made it impossible to cheat with fake coins nowadays, don’t you think? Any experienced player will tell you how difficult it is to find a land-based slot machine that will accept anything but the real coins.
Coin on a String (Yo-Yo Cheat)
Coin on as String is yet another technique which was also known as a yo-yo cheat, because it pretty much worked like a yo-yo toy. With a string attached to the coin, the coin is placed into the slot machine until it activates the game. After the coin tripped the slot’s mechanism, a cheater would pull the coin back up by using the string. And use it again. Of course, we don’t know if it worked for sure, but we’re certain it would be impossible to hack any slot machine using a yo’yo cheat technique today.
Cheating Devices for Slot Machines
Not only did people use fake coins to cheat on slot machines, but there were also so-called cheating devices used to crack the slots, such as:
Bill Validator Device
Bill Validator Device is a little machine that is used to cheat slots. Wrapped around a bill, it is used with an aim to fool the slot machine to think it is receiving a bill of $100 when it is actually accepting only $1.
Can you believe some people used their light wands to magically snag jackpot wins? Apparently, some people knew how to manipulate slots and take advantage of them. The thing is, the light wand would blind the optical sensor on slot machines, preventing them from working out how many coins had been deposited into the machine. That way, the machine would “loose track” on when to pay out.
Monkey Paw Device
Moving on to the Monkey Paw. It was used as a bent metal rod with an attached guitar string. Its inventor pushed it inside the machine’s air vent and twisted it around until he managed to tick the trigger switch for the coin hopper. Sounds a bit like sci-fi, right?
Software and Hardware Cheats
If you thought that was all, you were dead wrong. We’re moving to some software and hardware cheats.
Finding a Slot Software Glitch
It sometimes happens that a casino can’t payout a jackpot because of the software glitch. So, some players were inspired by software glitches and used them to manipulate the system. There are certain patterns of stakes that players use to confuse the machine and activate a glitch that pays out the jackpot. As so many cheaters took advantage of it over the years, certain amount of honest jackpot winners may get denied and not receive their winnings because of this.
Computer Chip Replacement
Computer chip replacement was another method used by people in the past in an attempt to trick a slot machine. For example, Dennis Nikrasch bought a slot machine to mess with it in his garage until he figured out how it works and what its flaws were. His main idea behind it was to work on computer chips inside the machine, so he tried to reprogram them, and manipulate jackpots. He hired an entire team of scammers and with their help managed to switch the independent chips for his manipulated ones.
Back in the 1980s, a group of men managed to open a slot machine and attach piano wires in order to jam the clock inside the machine that measured the rotations of the wheel. Once it happened, they had the wind at their back to manipulate the spins in the future. Although they hit the jackpot, the whole scam was recorded and discovered, and the winning player was arrested.
When learning how to win at slots, probably one of the most popular methods of cheating at slots was a top-bottom joint, a unique tool made of two parts. On the top it has a metal rod with a long wire at the bottom. That long wire was put inside the slot machine coin chute, whereas the metal rod was used to go through the coin slot. By doing so, the scammers managed to jam the machine and make it release all the coins that happened to be inside it.
Famous Slot Machine Cheaters
Now most games like slots are entirely up to luck, but there are some games that require certain skills which successful gamblers use as their advantage. Some gambling pros even knew how to hack slot machines, so let’s see who they are.
Tommy Glenn Carmichael is probably the most widespread name among the slot cheats in the entire gambling history. He was perhaps the first to use his light wand to manipulate jackpot wins, turning small winning combos into massive payouts. Unsurprisingly, he was also the creator of a monkey paw explained above.
According to some resources, Louis Colavecchio was famous for using fake coins to cheat many casinos. He was arrested in 1998 and released in 2006. Soon after, he returned to his cheating habit until he was caught again.
Ronald Dale Harris
Not only did Ronald Dale Harris try to manipulate a slot machine but also cheated by knowing the source codes. The question is - how did he know all that? Being a computer technician, his job was to randomly choose slot machines and check their EPROM chips. After a certain period, Harris was suspected of reprogramming slot machine computers that paid out right after certain sequences of coins were inserted. On his return home, Harris was arrested and fired.
A Vegas slot cheater and a former locksmith, Dennis Nikrasch was the one responsible for leading the biggest casino theft in Las Vegas history, by taking more than $15,000,000 from rigging slot machines for over 2 decades. As mentioned earlier in this article, Dennis Nikrasch was responsible for computer chip replacements and some of the most elaborate cheating strategies.
In our opinion, we believe most rational people would not cheat slot machines. Knowing it’s almost impossible to cheat at online casinos, there’s a tremendous effort required to cheat land-based slot machines, not to mention the potential prison sentences. Still, we hope you had fun reading our blog and we can’t wait to see you or hear from you over at our forum.