A lot of people might think of slot machine cheats and cheaters as the people who have figured out a way to beat the games. I tend to think of them as people who CLAIM to have figured out a way to beat the games. Then again, I guess both categories could be considered cheaters.
Real Slot Machine Cheats
Real slot machine cheats use devices to get payouts when they otherwise shouldn’t. These devices often have clever, colorful names, like the “light wand
” or “the monkey’s paw
”. The former sounds like something you might find in a Star Wars
movie, while the latter obviously brings up literary connotations. (“The Monkey’s Paw
” is a well-known short story by W.W. Jacobs
, about a paw of a dead monkey, which grants its owner wishes. Things end badly.
Tommy Glenn Carmichael is the most famous of these cheaters. Of course, he’s in his 60s now, and he’s retired from the cheating game. Like many former con-men, he’s turned his past as a less-than-honest-but-clever-confidence-man into a profitable career as a consultant for the people and businesses he used to swindle.
Carmichael was in the slot machine cheating business for over 20 years. 30 years ago, when Carmichael got started, the state-of-the-art slot machine cheating tool was a “top-bottom joint”, which is just a piece of metal that slides into the coin release slot. This triggers un-earned payouts in massive amounts—or at least it did in 1980. Modern slot machines don’t usually pay out in real coins anyway, and the manufacturers caught onto that trick years ago.
That didn’t even slow Carmichael down, though. He was caught cheating early in his career, but he used his 5 years in jail to learn about (and invent) other cheating techniques and tools. His approach to figuring out ways to beat a slot machine was simplicity itself. He would buy a machine, take it apart, and think about how the machine paid out money from a mechanical perspective. Then it was usually easy to come up with ideas like the monkey’s paw, which was actually just some springs and guitar wire that, used correctly, would trigger the machine to payout a massive bunch of coins.
Online Slot Machine Cheats
Cheaters online spend their time cheating players out of their money, not the casinos. And these cheaters aren’t casinos, either—they’re ebook authors. They claim to have all kinds of inside information about how slot machines work, and they sell this information for ungodly amounts of money.
The problem is that the information they’re selling is worthless and inaccurate. It’s not even worth buying for its entertainment value. Some of these “unbeatable” tips worked years ago, but none of them apply to today’s electronic and computerized slot machine games.
One example is a book that claims to help you win at slots consistently by explaining “betting concepts and spending habits”. It also claims to help you apply your common sense regarding slot machine decision making.
Here’s what my common sense tells me. Slot machines are entirely random. I don’t get to make many decisions at all. I can decide which machine to play, if any, and I can decide how much to gamble. But none of that is going to help me become a winner on a consistent basis, and the reason is simple:
A slot machine is a negative expectation game.
What does that mean?
It’s simple, really. A negative expectation game is one in which you stand to lose more than the odds of winning suggest. For example, if you and I played a simple game where you flipped a coin, and I won if you got heads, and you won if you got tails, and the winner got the quarter, we’d be playing a fair, heads-up, even-money game. The odds of winning are 1 to 1, and the payout is also 1 to 1.
But suppose we tweak the rules? Let’s say that if you win 2 quarter every time you get tails, but I win 1 quarter every time I get heads, then you’d have a positive expectation situation, and I would have a negative expectation situation.
That’s exactly the kind of math that applies to all casino games (except in certain rare situations). The casino always pays out your win at less than the odds of winning, which guarantees them a long term profit.
Common sense doesn’t increase your chances of winning. Neither does any combination of betting concepts and spending habits. Usually these types of books suggest setting a win goal and a loss limit for each session. While that might be an entertaining way of managing your bankroll, it does nothing for your long term expectation.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Cheater
The pros of being either kind of cheater are obvious. You’ll either win money or get money from a sucker. If money is all you care about, then being a slots cheat might be the perfect career for you to pursue.
The cons of being a cheat shouldn’t be underestimated though. Aside from the karmic implications, physically cheating at any gambling game in a major casino destination is a felony. If you get caught — and let’s face it, you probably will — you can plan on a lengthy probation and probably at least a little bit of jail time. If you get caught more than once, you can rest assured you’ll spend plenty of time in jail.
And if you have hopes of becoming a highly-paid consultant when you finish doing your time, well…ask Tommy Glenn Carmichael if the time he spent behind bars was worth gaining a career as a consultant. My guess is that he’d rather have had his freedom during those years.