How to Cheat Slot Machines: Top 10 Hacks

Written by: Ashley Grasse , Specialist in Casino, Games, and Trends
7 minute read
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The idea of cheating on a slot machine has probably crossed most players’ minds at some point, but following through is an entirely different story. Beyond the morality debate, it carries very serious repercussions. 

For this reason, we certainly don’t encourage cheating, but we also can’t deny it’s a fascinating subject. Over the years, people have found many creative ways to scam casinos, and we will satisfy your curiosity about them. Let’s dive into the interesting methods involved in cheating slot machines.

Best Hacks to Cheat on Slot Machines 

Most forms of cheating only worked decades ago when slot machines were made differently, and cameras weren’t watching your every move. But that doesn’t stop people from trying new methods today.

Take a look at the top 10 hacks to cheat on slot machines.


Cheating the Code

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Modern slots rely on technology such as random number generators to determine their outcomes, and one computer programmer decided to take advantage of this.

A man named Ronald Dale Harris, who worked for the Nevada Gaming Board in the 1990s, rigged slot machine software in his favor. However, it wasn’t long before he and his accomplice were discovered and sentenced to jail.


Monkey’s Paw

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With this trick, a player would insert a wire with a piece of bent metal affixed to the end into the slot machine’s payout chute.

The tool, resembling a monkey’s paw, would trigger the microswitch to release coins, giving them a payout they never earned. Of course, most slot machines now only give you a paper slip.


Yo-Yo Hack

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This trick was simple but effective. A string with a coin attached to the end would be inserted into the coin slot, triggering the start of a game.

The cheater would then yank the coin back out so they could play the slot machine for free as many times as they wanted. Sounds easy, but with today’s technology, this wouldn’t work for a second.


Magnet Hack

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The magnet hack worked on old slot machines made of magnetic metal reels. A person would use a magnet to manipulate the reels into landing on winning combinations.

Long gone are the days of these vintage machines. Now they all use computerized software.


Top-Bottom Joint

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This was a popular two-part tool used by cheaters in the 1970s and 80s to trick slot machines into releasing coins.

A person would insert a metal rod shaped like a q into the coin slot while, at the same time, forcing a wire into the coin chute. This method would effectively jam the machine causing it to spill all its coins.


Fake Coins

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Coins used to get accepted by slot machines based on their weight. Cheaters would use counterfeit coins of the same weight and similar material to scam them, which worked successfully for many years.

Nowadays, slots have elaborate scanning technology that reads the size, weight, and magnetic properties of a coin.


Light Wand

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The light wand was yet another device used to confuse slot machines into coughing up cash. A light shined into the machine’s light sensor would disrupt how it kept track of payouts.

That effectively tricked the machine into paying out more regardless of its predetermined payout rate.


Software Glitches

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Although slot machine software is advanced, glitches happen, and people figure out ways to exploit them when they do.

For instance, a man noticed a slot machine was crediting him $10 for every $1 he put in, and he continued to play. Although it was a glitch, he was arrested for trying to take advantage of the situation.


Bill Validator Device

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A bill validator device is a method cheaters use to masquerade their small bills as larger ones. They would wrap a $1 in a device that tricks the machine into thinking it’s a $100 bill.

Since Las Vegas casinos caught wind of this trick, they installed new bill acceptors on all their machines that notify authorities when one is being used.


Piano Wire

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In 1982 a group of men decided to scam a slot at Caesars Boardwalk Regency in Atlantic City. They opened the machine and attached long piano wires to the moving parts. That allowed one of them to control the spins and hit a $50,000 jackpot.

Little did they know the whole heist was caught on camera, and the player was immediately arrested.

How to Cheat on Slot Machines With a Cell Phone

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Cheating a slot machine with a cell phone is possible using a PRNG cracker app. The app can predict when a slot will use a seed, resulting in a high payout. All you have to do is wait for your phone to notify you when to hit the spin button.

However, this method is illegal, and since casinos know it, you can expect any suspicious conduct to draw a lot of attention. Such was the case in 2014 when casino staff in St Louis noticed that a man named Murat Bilev was hitting big wins and exhibiting odd behaviors at a slot machine.

He was holding his phone close to the screen and spinning the reels erratically. After arresting him, he confessed to being a part of a Russian team using PRNG cracker apps to hack US slots and spent two years in prison.

Although we don’t condone cheating, there are well-kept secrets about casino slot machines to keep in mind before you sit down and spin. Here are some interesting facts about slots, how they work, and how casinos use them.


Slot Placements are not Random

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When you enter a casino, the first games you see are the ones that earn the most for the casino – slots. Casinos place the most profitable slots in prominent places on the floor.

It is set up that way at online casinos, too. The most popular slots are the ones that make the most for the site, so they have a prominent presence. The casino does this through careful monitoring. 


Max Betting is the Way to Go 

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Each bet you make at a slot should be the maximum the machine allows. When you bet the most, it activates all the bonuses and jackpots, increasing your chances of getting lucky and winning big.

Of course, you should seek out machines with a wager limit that is affordable to you. But remember that progressive slots may not allow anything lower than a max bet to hit the big jackpot.


Classic Slots Pay Out More

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Those dynamic video slots with complex animation and sound don’t pay as much. The ones with three wheels and a single payline pay you more in the long run.

These classic slots take up less space on a walk-in casino floor and are easier to maintain. To verify returns, you can check volatility rates and return to player (RTP) percentages of online slots


Your Gameplay is Tracked 

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When you use your player’s card at a land-based casino, the house keeps track of what machine you use and how much you spend. When online, you can bet that when you spend a lot on a slot, that same game will show up on your screen when you sign on again

Like any other business, a casino monitors player habits as a marketing tool to protect themselves from cheaters.


You Can’t Beat the Machine in the Long Run

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Slots are set up and weighted to give the casino a slight edge. They run slots through thousands of spins before players ever see them. So, you won’t beat any slot machine over the long run unless you hit a life-changing jackpot.

Online slots have random number generators to ensure fairness, but they still beat you long-term. The average RTP of slots is around 96%

Is Cheating on Slots Worth It?

Hacks to cheat slot machines are fun to read about and might even sound tempting, but players should be careful. Between the advancement of slot machine technology at land-based and online casinos, and the ever-looming presence of the eye in the sky, there is a very high chance you will get caught.

It’s better to focus on having fun spinning the reels than to end up in jail trying to cheat the system.

Ashley Grasse

Ashley Grasse Specialist in Casino, Games, and Trends

Ashley Grasse is a research writer and online casino expert who dissects sites and games in detail to provide accurate, unbiased reviews. She's a gambling theory enthusiast, an expert on information accuracy that makes difficult concepts easy to understand, and a lover of the outdoors.

Learn More About Ashley