“How to win on slot machines” is a popular search term, but we all know that the real question most of the gamblers want to know if there are “ways to cheat a slot machine”. That’s ok. Everybody wonders that. Since it is just the reels turning and symbols placing, there must be a “trick”, right? Well, we will answer this question right below but we are warning you: Don’t get your hopes up.
IS CHEATING ON SLOTS POSSIBLE?
No. It is certainly not possible. This is not a click-bait article, we are giving you the answer right away. No, you cannot manipulate slot machines. There are no cheats, no hacks. Sorry. There was a time when this was possible, but not anymore. (We are giving a couple examples below.) To understand why, you must learn how slot machines work.
Most of the players still think that they are made of cogs and wheels. Thing is, they are totally “digital” since the 90’s. The spinning reels you are seeing are actually a piece of a computer code. If you open a slot machine cabinet and look inside, you won’t be seeing any “cogs”. The inside of a slot cabinet looks like a computer case. Each cabinet is connected to a central server, which actually “spins” the reels. A computer software decides whether you have won or not. You cannot manipulate such a system with a screwdriver – you cannot manipulate it at all.
CHEATING THE COGS AND REELS
Up until the 60’s, slot machines at casinos were mechanical devices. Believe it or not but they did not actually require “electricity” to run. They were like mechanical watches and some casino worker manually winded them every couple of days. These were the games that could be cheated: In fact, most of the slot cheats are made to work with that type of machines. It was even possible to understand when a winning spin would happen – the cogs were making a weird sound when that was about to happen, especially if the machine was old. Thing is, there are no mechanical slot machines anymore. In 1960, all casinos switched to electro-mechanical games, which worked with electricity. These were still using cogs and wheels, but they were much harder to cheat. In the 90’s, IGT presented video slots: Games that ran on a computer software. All the wheels and cogs were gone, it has been only computer code from now on. And this is the case since the last 30 years: All slot games have been running on a central server (even the ones in brick-and-mortar casinos) and they are using advanced software, which cannot be “hacked”.
WHY IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO CHEAT MODERN SLOT MACHINES?
That’s because the results are determined by an RNG (random number generator) and it is impossible to predict the outcome. Let’s explain this so it will be easier to understand. The symbols you see on the slot machine screen are not actually symbols. They are computer codes that have a numerical counterpart. Here is an example:
- Watermelon symbol: 22343
- Grapefruit symbol: 34342
- Jackpot symbol: 33525
Each time you spin the reel, the RNG software randomly generates a series of numbers. If this number is in the range of the symbol’s number, that symbol is displayed on the screen. For example, if the RNG software generates a number between 22.340 and 22.350, you see the watermelon symbol on the screen, because its numerical counterpart is 22.343. Basically, it works like this:
- The RNG software tells the central server which numbers it generated.
- The central server checks the numbers and decides which symbols to place on screen.
All this happens in mere seconds. The results are really random, even the programmer of the RNG software cannot predict them. In other words, even if you have full access to the central server, you still cannot change the result of the RNG. That’s why “hacking” won’t work: The results of a spin are checked by multiple sources and all this happens in a very short period of time. To “cheat” such a system, you must hack several servers, listen to every digital communication, and get full access to the entire network. To tell the truth, if you are capable of such things, do not waste time on cheating slots. We are sure some intelligence agency will find a job for you. It will be a futile effort anyway: The RTP values of these games are known by the casinos, and if those values change, someone will notice you. In short, there are no slot cheats for modern slot games, whether they are in a brick-and-mortar or an online casino.
THE MOST FAMOUS SLOT MACHINE CHEATS: TOP 10
We mentioned that there was a time when slot cheats were possible, due to mechanical defects of the cabinets. Well, here are some examples. These are known as the most famous slot cheats of all times. We must warn you though: None of them work anymore. So if you are planning to visit a casino with this “knowledge”, know that it will be a punishable crime and a very shameful situation.
- Cheat Code: This was a cheat method that was not open to “public”. When the video slots first appeared, they were using simple computer code and even simpler chips. There is a thing called “backdoor” in coding, which means the programmer leaves an open door for himself to access the software anytime he wants. Ronald Dale Harris was one of those programmers. He left several backdoors on slot codes he wrote and used some of them to gain full access to the games. Basically, he was able to predict the results before the reels start to spin. He got arrested and the casinos switched to the central server audition we mentioned above. It is impossible to do this anymore.
- Shaved Coins: Slot machines use simple light sensors to identify the value of coins inserted. The name of this slot cheat is literal: People were shaving the outer rims of the coin. The light sensor accepts it as a normal coin since it is unable to check the outer rim. However, the payout mechanism is able to do that, so detects it as a faulty coin and refunds it. Basically, it was possible to insert a coin, spin the reels, and get the coin back. This was a mechanical fault and it is mostly fixed now. Modern light sensors check the whole surface of the coin (sides included).
- Fake Coins: This is actually counterfeiting. Some gamblers were using hardened metal dies to make their own “coins”. A person is able to tell the difference but a light sensor can be tricked, which was the whole “concept” of this cheat. Once more, modern light sensors do not fall for this scam. A person named Louis Colavecchio was especially successful at this tactic and he is in jail now.
- Yo-Yo: Get a monofilament fishing line. Tie it around a normal coin. Drop the coin to the machine. Right after the light sensor accepts it as a payment, pull the line and get the coin back. This “tactic” used at phone cabinets too for years. It does not work anymore. But it was possible to trick the old mechanical slots back in the days.
- Light Wand: Invented by the famous slot cheater Tommy Glenn Carmichael, this was a weird looking device. Remember the light sensors of slot machines we keep telling you about? Yeah, most of the slot cheats were designed to manipulate that system and the light wand is no exception. This device is inserted at the coin slot of the cabinets, where the light sensor is placed. Then, the device starts to flash a series of lights to confuse the sensor. With this “technique”, you can place a penny and the sensor will think you just placed hundreds of coins. The device was very small and portable, and once it goes into the slot, it is impossible to see it. The fun part is, it is actually still possible to use this technique because light sensors are unguarded against it. However, you need to know which “light codes” the sensor accepts. This was the trick of Carmichael. He bought a couple of scrap slot cabinets, analyzed the sensors, and programmed his device accordingly.
- Piano Wire: Take a mini-drill. Find a mechanical slot cabinet. Open a small hole next to the cogs. Insert a 20-inch long piano wire to the hole and manipulate the wheels & cogs. If you know what you are doing, you can jam the cogs and stop them at the winning spin. All of these happened back in the 80’s. Well, not anymore. There is a reason why casinos stopped using mechanical slot games.
- Top-Bottom Joint: Another device designed by Tommy Glenn Carmichael. Yes, he was the most famous slot cheater of all times. He loved to manipulate gaming cabinets – the guy had a talent for it. A top-bottom joint is a long wire. The top looks like the letter “Q”. The bottom is connected to a mini-battery. You insert the Q part into the coin chute and give a little electricity to the wire. If you know where to “touch” inside the cabinet, you can hot-wire the payout mechanism and force the cabinet to release all of the stored coins. Again, this technique required a very detailed knowledge of how slot cabinets work. Tommy Glenn Carmichael was buying those used slot cabinets for a reason. In theory, it is still possible to do this.
- Monkey Paw: This was the primitive version of a top-bottom joint. Basically, a monkey paw is guitar string attached to a metal rod. If you know where it is located, you can put a monkey paw to a coin chute and trigger the release switch of the payout mechanism. Once more, it is invented by… you guessed it right, Tommy Glenn Carmichael. He used this device on mechanical slots and switched to the top-bottom joint when video slots appeared.
- Bill Validator Device: You can insert bills into a slot machine too, coins are not the only way to pay them. This is a simple device: The top part is covered by a 100 USD bill. You put a 1 USD bill inside. Insert the device into the chute. The light sensor will accept it as a 100 USD bet. Pull the device out (and the 100 USD bill that is tied to it) and the 1 USD bill will drop into the machine. Congrats, you just made a 100 USD bet with paying only 1 USD. This technique still works on some old slot games.
- Computer Chip Replacement: Buy a second-hand slot cabinet. Reverse engineer its chips. Write the entire code and get a chip of your own, which will favor the odds in your favor. Go to a casino. Open a cabinet, insert your own chip. Start spinning. A skillful cheater can open the cabinet & insert his own chip in less than 15 seconds. This technique does not work anymore due to the multiple control mechanisms we described above.
HOW CASINOS PROTECT FROM SLOT CHEATS?
They are investing in better light sensors, for starters. In addition, the whole casino floor is watched & recorded 7/24. Note that almost all of these cheats require physical manipulation of cabinets. So they watch the recorded streams right after anybody wins a prize. If they see the manipulation, you get arrested – simple as that. There will always be cheating players, but they will always get caught.
IT IS LUCK AND NOTHING ELSE
Do you wonder how to win at slots? It is luck and nothing else. You cannot cheat slots or use a “system”: All games are random and you cannot predict the results. Sure, there are some tips and tricks you can use to increase your chances of winning, such as choosing games with high RTP rates but that’s it: You cannot cheat the system. Read our other guides that focus on slot games tips & tricks to see the “legal” ways of increasing your luck. Using a cheat is… well, it won’t end well, we can guarantee that.