Slot machines are to win over you; and it’s never the other way round. That’s how the odds are stacked up against you by the casinos. Here, however, we discuss some mechanics that can alter the odds in your favour. The cleverness of these slot machine cheats vary; but the objective of making more money remains.
Yo-Yo of the early days
The oldest of all tricks, it’s visibly simple. A string was tied around the coin and inserted in the machine. Once the payment was registered, the string along with the coin would be pulled back. The process gets repeated with the same coin until jackpot.
With advancement of technology, optic verification sensors were introduced to arrest Yo-Yos. Here, a ray of light was used to capture payment as the coin dropped in. This was backed up by something called a comparator machine that checked upon the coin’s size and weight. Now cheaters scraped off the coins edges and even though the optic sensor registered a payment, the coin was being rejected by the comparator due to uneven size and weight. And the money was returned to the cheater. This worked similar to Yo-Yo without the string.
Counterfeit slot machine coins were pressed and put to use at casinos in Connecticut and New Jersey. These coins passed off as real for quite some time.
This was an unique device comprising two parts. The bottom was a guitar string and the top half is metallic with one of its ends curled up into a ‘q’. During the days of mechanical slot machines, coins were dispensed when the metal contacts attached to the levers activated a circuit. With the top-bottom joint, cheaters would jam the levers and manually activate the circuits from outside. The coins would then flow freely.
Over a period of time, slot machines changes from being mechanical devices to computer controlled equipment. As much as new technology took centre stage, there still remained a switch that would release the coin dispenser. Monkey paw was an advancement over top-bottom joint that fished into the machine through a vent and hit the switch for coin dispenser.
As the name suggests, this was a mini torch attached to a wire. The newer slot machines started dispensing through the help of optical sensors. The light wand was inserted into the dispenser before start of the game. The trick here was to hit a payoff with the slot machine (irrespective of the amount), switch on the light and block the optical sensor. The instrument could not make out as when to stop dispensing coins.
This was an one-off incident wherein the cheater, disguised as a mechanic, opened a slot machine and inserted 20-inch piano wires inside the machine. By this, he jammed the clock that controlled the rotation of the wheels and was able to manipulate the wheels and their outcome.
Bill Validator Device
A small device with two hidden prongs, that, when inserted into the bill validator make the machine feel that $100 has been inserted.
Ingenuously devised by Ronal Dale Harris, this worked upon insider information of the programming codes. Harris was a software engineer with the Nevada Gaming Commission who was entrusted with designing computer chips for the slot machines. Along with the normal designs, he also coded certain chips for his own benefit. These specific coding required coins to be inserted in specific combinations. Harris passed on these combinations to his accomplices who would then play the respective slot machines and reap money.
Computer Chip Replacement
Dennis Nikrasch bought a computerized slot machine and studied its intricacies. He procured standard slot machine chips from the open market and tweaked them. He then obtained keys to the live slot machines. His next task was to open the live slot machines and replace the original computer chip with his tweaked computer chip. An accomplice would be close by to run the altered machine and reap the money.
This is a case linked to the Game King Video Poker machine. To spot the malfunction wasn’t easy but seasoned hands at the game of poker could do so. After the first win, the player would switch on to a new game on the same machine. As he wins the second time, the machine allowed the option of ‘double up’. The player would now put more money but revert to the original game he was playing. He would then increase his stake to the highest available amount and en-cash. The original winnings now increase manifold with the higher stakes.