How To Cheat Slot Machines

How To Cheat At Slots

There are plenty of legends about slot machine cheaters and just as many methods for cheating at slot machines. Before you read any further, keep this fact in mind – there is no way to cheat a modern slot machine.

It is not true that no one has ever gotten away with cheating at a casino. Popular entertainment provides plenty of examples of individuals (and even groups) who have scammed Vegas out of a good deal of money. Think of the MIT Blackjack team. Even though this team didn't come away from their cheating ways with nearly as much money as most people think, they got away with it – for a little while.

Cheating Mechanical Slot Machines

In the days of mechanical slot machines (and even in the days of so called "electronic mechanical slots") there were more than a few simple ways to earn more than your fair share of pay. Every imaginable item was used to attempt to rob the casinos of their money -- from the "Monkey's Paw" device, made famous by Tommy Glenn Carmichael who ended up in prison for most of his life, to simple coat hangers bent into odd shapes, to shaved coins or coins attached to strings.

How to Cheat at SlotsThe Monkey's Paw was simpler than its name implies. A mere piece of flexible steel (about a foot long and bent like a claw on one end) was inserted into the machine's payout chute until the cheater felt or heard the clang of the steel door. At this point he knew he'd reached the coin counter mechanism. Once there, the Monkey's Paw would interfere with the mechanics of the machine, causing it to overpay.

Shaved coins, another popular tactic, were merely coins altered so that they would pass right through the slot machine after activating play, thereby allowing the cheat to play one coin endlessly. Coins on a string, also known as "plugs", were some of the more crude devices used to fool the slots. The cheat would lower the plug into the coin hopper, activate the slot machine, then simply pull the coin out so it could be used over and over.

Advanced Mechanical Cheating

Far more advanced tactics were used in addition to simple mechanical means. Attempts to become instantly rich should always be suspect – and the case is the same for the more "sophisticated" cheat methods.. Miniature light boxes and other mechanical devices that emit specific light beams used to be placed near enough to the machine's light sensor that the machine would essentially become "confused" and couldn't keep proper track of payout procedures -- this usually resulted in a machine overpaying a player.

Unfortunately for these kinds of cheats, modern slot machine developers have long since outsmarted these tactics. Attempting to insert a coat hanger, plug, or Monkey's Paw into a modern slot machine would be either impossible or fatal – urban legend is full of reports of slot cheats who were badly burned or even fatally electrocuted by the machinery inside a slot. The lesson here is, don't do it.

Slot Machine Cheating

Perhaps the only cheat possible these days is for a cheater to be a slot machine insider – if you work for a slot machine manufacturer as, say, a computer programmer, it is possible that you could introduce a flaw into the system at the time of manufacture, then follow that machine to its eventual casino home. Besides being incredibly time consuming, casinos keep regular watch over their machine's payouts, and would soon become wise to the fact that one particular machine just happens to be paying one particular slot player a ludicrous amount of money. Between security cameras and machine monitoring, this idea just isn't practical.

Card Operated Machines

If you've played slots lately, you may have noticed a trend toward card operated machines. When coins are removed from the picture, so are coin related cheats. It would be impossible to alter the card your credits are loaded on, and as technology in the casino gets better and better, the intellect required of the cheat must also increase. One man against the world usually turns out bad for the one man – again, don't try it.

It is likely that people try to cheat slots because there is no surefire way to "beat" them. Slot machines are specifically designed to produce positive revenue for a casino. No method of play can increase your chances of winning, not doubling bets after losses, not looking for "hot machines", not even cycling your play between machines and banks of slots. Remember that slot machines operate with no prejudice whatsoever – the machine has no idea who is playing it, how long they have been playing, and what betting pattern they may be attempting.

Nevada Black Book

A full third of the Nevada Black Book (a book that details cheaters and their methods) is dedicated to slot machine fraud. This shows you how eager people are to open coin hoppers, play with light sensors, and even shove pieces of metal or shaved coins into a machine. If you enjoy casino gaming and want to be allowed to continue to play, avoid cheating at all costs. You're not going to win in the end, and you'll likely be banned from casino gaming forever at the very least. The previously mentioned cheater, Tommy Carmichael, spent plenty of time in prison before being converted to the side of the casinos. He now works full time defeating cheaters.

Cheaters Never Win

Trust me – casinos watch big winners. Even if you were somehow able to alter a machine's payout, you'd only get away with it once, best case. Try the same cheat again, and you're likely to find yourself answering questions under a single bare light bulb. If you're interested in personally getting to know guys named Guido and Luigi (and getting to know the 2x4s they keep under their trench coats) I would suggest cheating at a casino. Otherwise, step up your slot game by practicing, handling your bankroll properly, and keeping a cool head. Cheaters never win, in the end. Play a clean game. You'll be happy you did.

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