How to trick a slot machine to win?

how to trick a slot machine

What would cheat a slot machine and get the winnings you can read the previously performed tricks from our article.

Slot machines are highly profitable games in casinos, benefiting both the players and the establishment, as well as those who resort to cheating.

Given the substantial amount of money involved, it is no surprise that slot machines have always been a target for cheaters, resulting in an ongoing game of deception with the casino.

In this article, we will explore some of the unscrupulous techniques used by slot machine cheaters over the years. However, we strongly advise against attempting these methods yourself.

Cheat Code

One method of cheating in slot machines involves manipulating the source codes used in their design. However, gambling authorities exist to ensure the fairness and integrity of the gaming industry.

To guarantee quality gameplay and transparency, gaming machines are designed with monitoring and auditing capabilities. Nevertheless, there have been cases of engineers rigging codes to gain an unfair advantage. Ronald Dale Harris, an engineer from The Nevada Gaming Commission, is a prime example of this type of cheat.

Harris managed to cheat slot machines for several years by exploiting his knowledge of the source codes. However, the scam was ultimately exposed when his partner won a significant amount of money – $100,000 on a keno game in 1995.

Shaved Coins

While the shaved coin scam is no longer prevalent in modern times, it is still worth learning about this deceptive technique.

With the evolution of technology, slot machines have become equipped with light sensors to process payments. In many machines, the optical sensor operates independently from the physical comparator.

This setup allows for the possibility of inserting a shaved coin simultaneously with an object that matches the size and shape of the necessary stake coin. The shaved coin would be rejected and returned, while the legitimate object would be accepted and initiate the game.

Fake Coins

Fake coins have also been a popular tool for slot machine cheaters throughout history.

Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio, a well-known con artist, used fake coins to defraud casinos for many years until his arrest in 1998. After serving his sentence, Colavecchio resumed his cheating ways and was caught once again within a few months.


We are often asked whether it’s possible to cheat a slot machine using a magnet. The short answer is no, since modern-day slot machines operate through computer software and are not magnetic.

However, it was once possible to cheat using a magnet on the older machines, which were constructed with metal. By spinning the reels and then applying a powerful magnet to the exterior of the machine, cheaters could halt the reels once their desired winning combination appeared.

After removing the magnet, the cheater would claim the payout. While not the most subtle of tactics, it was an effective way to win a large amount of cash if executed successfully.


One popular slot machine cheat involved the use of a string, and was primarily focused on technique.

The player would attach a string to a coin, insert it into the machine, and wait for the game to start. Once the game began, they would use the string to retrieve the coin.

However, due to technological advancements, this cheat is now virtually obsolete. Although it’s a classic technique, its effectiveness has diminished with time. If the cheat had been successful, the player would have scored a considerable win.

Light Wand

Tommy Glenn Carmichael is widely regarded as one of the most notorious slot cheats in the history of gambling. He is the inventor of the light wand, a device that he used to create the illusion of jackpot wins.

While magicians such as David Copperfield, Dynamo, and David Blaine can create illusions, Carmichael used his light wand to trick slot machines into paying out jackpots that weren’t legitimately earned.

The light wand would emit a beam that blinded the optical sensor on the slot machine, making it impossible for the machine to determine how many coins had been deposited or how much to pay out.

By using the light wand, Carmichael was able to turn small payouts into massive jackpots, effectively manipulating the slot machine to his advantage.

Piano Wire

This is a classic example of a slot machine scam.

In 1982, a group of men worked together at the Caesars Boardwalk Regency casino in Atlantic City to cheat the system. One of the men opened up a specific slot machine and attached 20-inch long piano wires to its inner workings.

The wires were used to jam the clock that measured the wheel rotations, giving the group the ability to manipulate the spins and increase their chances of winning.

The group was able to hit the $50,000 jackpot using this method. However, their entire scheme was caught on camera, and the winning player was arrested before he could leave the casino.

Top-Bottom Joint

A highly deceptive way to cheat at slots that gained popularity among scammers in the 1970s and 1980s was the use of a special tool consisting of two parts – a top (a metal rod with its end bent in the shape of a “q”) and a bottom (a long wire).

These cheats would insert the bottom part through the coin chute and the top part through the coin slot, jamming the machine and forcing the game to release all the coins it had stored, resulting in big wins every time.

Monkey Paw

Once again, Tommy Glenn Carmichael proves himself to be a master of cheating when it comes to slot machines. One of his most notorious inventions was the “monkey paw.” After trial and error with various methods on a video poker machine, he finally came up with a simple yet effective contraption.

The “monkey paw” consisted of a metal rod with a guitar string attached to it, which he would insert into the machine’s air vent and manipulate until he hit the trigger switch for the coin hopper. The result? A cascade of coins pouring out of the machine.

Bill Validator Device

This is a straightforward yet highly efficient technique used to cheat at slots.

The trick involves using a small device to wrap around a one-dollar bill, tricking the machine into believing that it is a hundred-dollar bill. This clever deception can result in significant payouts without having to risk much money.

Computer Chip Replacement

Dennis Nikrasch revolutionized the world of slots cheating with his ingenious idea.

He purchased a slot machine and spent time tinkering with it in his garage to discover its weaknesses.

After figuring out that the computer chips within the machines could be re-programmed to be manipulated, he obtained a large number of these chips and employed a group of cheaters to assist him.

He also acquired a set of slot machine keys and initiated a massive scam operation that would drain casinos of their wealth for years to come.

All he had to do was replace the original chips with his own modified chips.

Software Glitch

For decades, cheats have taken advantage of software glitches in slot machines. By playing a specific combination of games and bets, players could manipulate the machine and trigger a glitch that would payout the jackpot. However, now many jackpot winners are being denied their winnings due to this practice.

One of the most notable incidents occurred in 2015 when 90-year-old grandmother Pauline McKee won $41 million on a Miss Kitty slot machine at the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo in Illinois. She attempted to sue the casino in 2012, but her final appeal was rejected three years later. Unfortunately, past occurrences like this are why the casino won the case.


Jesse Miller
Jesse Miller iGaming Writer
Last Updated: January 14, 2024

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