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Editorial: Three shots at slots manipulation

The idea is as old as slots themselves. Slots are just machines, right? And every machine can be tricked. Therefore, there must be a way to manipulate the machines so that they pay out without playing endless losing sessions. Thousands have tried and, as time has passed, the methods have become more complex much like the slot machines themselves. But, the basic task remains the same: How do I trick slots into paying out the jackpot without spinning a winning combination?

Today, we present you three ways players have tried to manipulate slots. We also advise you that these methods are highly illegal and will be prosecuted as fraud, punishable with a huge fine or even prison.

Trickster's paradiseThe Attempt: Quarter on a string vs. mechanical slots
Mode of operation: In older times, when slots were pure mechanical devices working with springs and cogwheels, even the coin check (the mechanism that verifies that money was inserted into the machine) was nothing more than a spring-loaded platform. The coin fell on said plate, pressed it down and the machine was unlocked for playing. Clever players developed a method called "stringing up": they simply attached a quarter to a piece of string. As soon as the coin had triggered the coin check, they pulled the quarter out again and played their game. Although this method didn't increase the winning probabilities, it effectively allowed the player to play for free.

Does it work? Once upon a time, this method worked quite well. And even today, some slot pros carry around a quarter on a string for luck, but in times of computerized slot machines they are nothing more than shiny little charms. The coin check is done digitally and safely deep within the machine, out of reach of every string in the world.

The Attempt: Oven lighter vs. electro-mechanical slots
Mode of operation: As technology progressed, many slots were equipped with electro-mechanic mechanisms for spinning and stopping the wheels. Many players figured that there had to be a way to remotely control those machines by giving the right kind of electric impulse. They looked around and found your everyday household oven lighter with its electric ignition spark. Applied to the machine in the right manner those oven lighters were indeed able to stop the wheels on command.

Does it work? The "impulse fraud" only worked on machines in the late 80s and early 90s that weren't shielded well enough against outside tampering to begin with. Actually, you might still find those electro-mechanical machines in some older casinos all over the country. Still, most of them are shielded properly today and even if you find a really outdated machine, you won’t leave the casino a rich man – they simply don't pay out big jackpots any more. Definitely not worth risking a prison sentence.

The Attempt: Microwave emitter vs. computerized slots
Mode of operation: Today, most slot machines are computerized precision instruments. But, even those are not totally safe, at least that's what some players say. They claim to have built a microwave emitter that makes the slot's chip go haywire and enables the user to either force an illegal payout, or even gain control over the wheels of the machine.

Does it work? The Jury is still out on this one. It is at least theoretically possible, that's for sure, but most slot machine are shielded quite well, and such a device would be very complicated to build if you want it to work with more than one specific slot chip. So, the chances are good that this won't work soon, if ever. And let's face it – if there would ever be such a controlling device, the casinos would find a way to block it anyway.

Also, should you really plan to manipulate a slot machine, there’s several other points to consider. In addition to the internal safety mechanisms, there are plenty of external security measures that prevent tampering with the slots. Primarily, all banks are under constant video surveillance. Slot attendants are wandering around all the time, not only to help the customers, but to verify that nothing fishy is going on as well. Bigger casinos even have a computer that measures fluctuations in the slot's power supply. In other words: we strongly recommend to refrain from any illegal manipulation attempt – the stakes are simply too high!

24-Sep-2009, 10:24

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