How to Trick a Slot Machine to Win

For both players and the house, video slot machines are some of the most lucrative games on the casino floor, and cheaters abound.

It’s no wonder that slot machines have been a game of ‘cat and mouse’ between cheaters and the house ever since they were invented, with such huge payouts available.

Let’s check out some of the naughty tricks used by slots cheaters over the years; though we don’t recommend ever trying them yourself!

1. Cheat Code

Gambling regulators are in place to ensure that the gaming business is functioning correctly and fairly. Engineers develop gaming machines that may be tracked and audited while still providing high-quality play. However, what happens when an engineer modifies the codes for personal gain?

The well-known slots cheat Ronald Dale Harris, who also worked as an engineer for the Nevada Gaming Commission, figured out how to manipulate slot machines by reverse engineering their source codes. He went unnoticed until his partner won $100,000 playing keno in 1995.

2. Shaved Coins

Today’s slot scams using shaved coins don’t exist, but it’s still fascinating to learn about them. Light sensors were used in slots beginning in the early days of technology. The optic sensor on a lot of machines worked alone from the physical comparator. In other words, if a shaved coin was dropped at the same time as an object that matched the shape and size of the required stake coin, the shaved coin would be returned while the other thing would enter the machine and begin play.

3. Fake Coins

Fake coins were also utilized in the past as a method of slots cheating. For years, Louis «The Coin» Colavecchio used phony money to defraud casinos until his arrest in 1998. He was released in 2006, only to resume his scamming shortly afterwards. It was little more than a year before he was again detected by authorities.

4. Magnet

People often ask us how they can use a magnet to cheat on slot machines. Even though it may sound possible, you cannot actually cheat modern day slot machines with magnets since they are programmed by computer software and aren’t magnetic. However, this was possible to do with older machines when they were made out of metal.

Cheaters in the past would spin the reels at a slot machine and then use a strong magnet on the outside of it to stop them from spinning when they saw their winning combination. Then, they would take off the magnet and claim their prize money. Even though this wasn’t very discreet, if done correctly, people could win sizeable amounts of cash!

5. Yo-Yo

This slots cheat was all about the technique. A string is attached to the coin, and it’s dropped into the machine until it activates the game’s beginning. The player then retrieves the coin using the rope. Technology has made this approach obsolete today. It’s a genuine classic, and if it worked, you would have seen a substantial profit.

6. Light Wand

Tommy Glenn Carmichael is one of the most prolific slot cheats in history. He is credited with inventing the light wand, a device used to create the illusion of winning jackpots from thin air. Magicians such as David Copperfield, Dynamo and David Blaine use similar techniques to create illusions, but Carmichael’s invention remains one of the most effective tools for cheating slots.

The compact light wand would blind the optical sensor on slot machines, preventing it from determining how many coins were deposited and when to pay out. This allowed Carmichael to use a slot machine in his favor by converting modest gains into large payouts.

How to Trick a Slot Machine to Win

7. Piano Wire

In the world of slots cheats, this is a classic yet effective method. In 1982, a group of men collaborated at the Caesars Boardwalk Regency casino in Atlantic City. The goal was to open the targeted slot machine and attach 20-inch-long piano wires to the spinning innards of the game.

The wires could be used to block the counter that kept track of wheel rotations, allowing the group to control the spins. They won $50,000, but their whole scam had been recorded and the winning player was arrested before he left the premises.

8. Top-Bottom Joint

This method of cheating at slots entails using a tool that is split into two parts, including a top (a metal rod with its end bent in the shape of a “q”) and bottom (a long wire). Scammers were especially fond of this tactic in the 1970s and 1980s.

By shoving the bottom in through the coin chute and forcing the top though the coin slot, cheats were able to jam machines and make them release all coins.

This led to big wins!

9. Monkey Paw

The notorious Carmichael is at it again. He’s a total genius when it comes to cheating.

He came up with the «monkey paw». After perfecting his method on a video poker machine, he finally built the contraption that would work. And it was shockingly simple. All he did was get a guitar string and attach one end to a metal rod that was slightly bent. Then he shoved the rod into the machine’s air vent and wiggled it around until he hit the trigger switch for the coin hopper. Suddenly, coins were spilling out everywhere.

10. Bill Validator Device

A cheating device that is easy to use and very effective on slot machines. This wrapped up bill will make the machine think it’s taking a $100 even though it’s actually only a $1 bill.

11. Computer Chip Replacement

Dennis Nikrasch forever changed the slots cheating game with this idea. He purchased a slot machine and took it apart in his garage to understand its flaws. He discovered that the computer chips inside the machines could be re-programmed to create jackpots on demand.

Nikrasch ordered a load of chips that he knew were rigged, got hold of some slot machine keys, and scammed casinos out of millions of dollars.

12. Software Glitch

Cheaters have exploited software glitches in slot machines for years by playing a specific sequence of wagers and games. This confuses the machine, causing it to pay out the jackpot. Many cheats have benefited from this technique over the years, but now many legitimate jackpot winners are also being denied their winnings because casinos suspect them of cheating.

Though she was later rejected, 90-year-old grandmother Pauline McKee from Illinois tried to sue the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo after winning $41 million on a Miss Kitty slot machine in 2015. The casino won easily based off precedent set by similar cases in the past.

What’s the Best Way to Win at Slots?

There is no surefire way to win at slots, but there are some strategies that can help you boost your chances of winning.

Here are a few tips:

1. Play lower denomination machines. The higher the denomination, the higher the house edge. So if you’re looking to win big, stick to lower denominations.

2. Look for machines with higher payouts. The higher the payout percentage, the better your chances of winning.

3. Play at casinos with good player rewards programs. These can give you freebies, like free slot play or comps, that can help you save money and boost your chances of winning.

4. Stick to your budget. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of playing and spend more than you intended to. So set a budget and stick to it!

5. Quit while you’re ahead. This is probably the most important tip of all. It’s tempting to keep playing when you’re on a winning streak, but resist the urge! The longer you play, the higher the house edge gets, and the more likely you are to lose all your winnings. So cash out when you’re ahead and enjoy your winnings!


While it is certainly possible to cheat at slots, the chances of getting caught are pretty high. Cheaters always face the risk of being banned from casinos for life if they’re caught. So think twice before you try to cheat your way to a jackpot!

How to Trick a Slot Machine to Win
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