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Slot machines are one of the most popular parts of a casino. Whether you’re a professional or a gambling newbie, slots are the perfect opportunity to try your luck, promising fast-paced thrills with no skill involved. But have you ever wondered how these well-loved machines work?
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The roaring success of online slots is a testament to how much we enjoy the slot machines in our bars and casinos. The technology may have finally made the shift into the digital world, however, this is simply the latest development in the long history of slot machines.
If you want to find out more, read on. In this article, we’ll be explaining how slot machines actually work – and why these games of chance are even harder than you thought!
How many parts does a slot machine have?
In general, traditional slot machines are made up of six parts. When you insert your money, these parts work together to activate the mechanism:
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- The coin slot. Modern slot machines also usually have an in-built card machine.
- The lever. On early machines, pulling the lever would physically trigger the reels to spin, but this is now motorized.
- The reels. Slot machines contain three reels, each one notched so that it can spin around a metal shaft (and eventually stop at the desired position).
- The brakes. The braking mechanism causes the reels to stop one at a time.
- Payout trigger. These are a series of metal pins that can ‘read’ the depth of the notches on the reels in order to work out the required payout amount.
- Winning line. This is the combination of symbols that you’ll need to get to win the jackpot.
What happens when you pull the lever?
When you insert your money, the lever is unlocked so you can start to play. Once you pull the lever, a motor automatically causes the reels to spin (on some old-fashioned machines, the lever itself spins the reels).
A braking system brings each reel to a stop, one at a time. At this point, the metal payout trigger pins are used to detect the depth of the notches on each reel. This means the machine is able to identify the reels which the player has spun, triggering the correct payout. (The notch that signifies the jackpot is often a lot deeper than the other notches).
What are computerized slot machines?
Today, most new slot machines use a computerized system, rather than the motorized mechanism which drove more traditional machines.
These computerized slots rely on a random number generator, which means that each spin has a truly equal chance of hitting the jackpot. As soon as the machine is switched on, this generator is constantly cycling through a wide range of numbers. When you pull the lever, it stops suddenly and ‘remembers’ the last three numbers it cycled through.
These numbers will determine the position of the reels, with each number divided by a set amount in order to reach a value which corresponds to one of the notches on the reel.
This technology means your chance of hitting the jackpot is staggeringly small – but if games of chance are how you get your thrills, this should only add to the fun!
Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.
Most slots players have dreamed about using slot machine hacks and cheats to bring down the house. I’ll walk you through some of the most successful slot machine cheats, as well as some outdated techniques that will fail every time.
Some of these video slot machine hacks and cheats used to work, but they don’t any longer. Before I begin, let me start with a disclaimer. Hacking slot machines is against the law in most countries. I do not advise it, and LegitGamblingSites.com does not endorse it.
Let’s see how slot machines work and whether you can cheat slots today.
Casino Slot Machine Hacks
There are some slot machine hacks that worked on old-school slots. I don’t recommend trying these today. They won’t work on modern slot machines which have evolved to deal with them. If you try these and get caught, you’ll likely get banned from the casino for life. Nonetheless, they did work once upon a time, and if you happen to find a classic slot machine in a bar, you might be able to try some of these.
The Yo-Yo Slot Hack
I have a confession to make before I tell you about this slot hack. I have used this successfully, but not on slot machines. I pulled it off once or twice on the vending machines in my high school and scored a free bottle of Coca Cola or two.
The idea is to tie a thin string around a coin and deposit it. When a deposit is registered, you yank the string and pull it out. If you know anything about modern slot machines, you probably just laughed out loud. Out of all the slot machine hacks and cheats, this most definitely would not work today.
The Counterfeit Coin Trick
Before scanning technology became widespread, slot machines used to accept bets based on the weight of the coin. The question of how to hack slot machines had a real answer: Use fake coins which were the same weight as real ones. They used similar metals or hard material, and they got away with it for a long time.
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Again, technology has caught up and rendered this slot machine cheat impotent. Ask any experienced player, and they’ll tell you that it’s difficult enough to get a slot to accept some real coins, never mind counterfeit ones!
Tampering With Payout Switches
Throughout gaming history, slot machine hacks and cheats have brought on some hilarious inventions. A number of them involve guitar strings and metal wires. At one point, players would attach hooks and metal claws to the end of metal wire or strings and feed it through the cooling system of the slot machine. They’d rattle around for a while, and eventually, they’d hit the payout switch.
This hack would never work on an electronic slot machine. To understand why, you should read our report on Random Number Generators (RNG). There are no physical switches which activate payouts in modern slot machines. The only thing tampering with slot machines will get you these days is a place on the sidewalk when the casino security team catches you.
Slot Machine Cheat Codes
As slot machines evolved past basic mechanical parts and made use of technology like RNGs and electronic sensors, computer programmers became a key part of keeping them honest.
What happens when the computer programmer who’s supposed to do his job lets temptation get the better of him? Just ask Ronald Dale Harris. He was in charge of finding and fixing software flaws. He was a high-level programmer and worked for the Nevada Gaming Control Board in the 1990s. One day, for whatever reason, he decided to modify some slots so it would pay out when he entered a certain sequence of coins.
Harris got away with this for a long time, but his accomplice got busted when they tried the same thing on keno. Harris was locked up for seven years, but he got out in two for good behavior. I doubt he has ever tried to hack casino slot machines again, especially since all Vegas casinos have banned him.
A Mobile Slot Machine Hack Which Really Worked
What happens when you take cash-rich American casinos, Russian mobsters, high-tech equipment, and a team of jet-setting slot players and put them together? No, this isn’t the plot of a bad B movie, this slot machine hack really happened. In fact, it may still be happening today.
In the summer of 2014, a casino in St. Louis noticed some of its machines had paid out much more than they should have according to their payback averages. After watching the security footage of the casino, they found the same man winning again and again, and they knew he was a slot machine hacker right away. They just had to figure out how he was doing it. They noticed three things:
- He was holding his iPhone close to the screen when playing
- He was winning on Aristocrat slots
- And he was “jabbing” the spin button suddenly after long pauses
It soon became apparent that lots of other casinos had been the victims of slot machine hacking, and the same man was involved in most of the slot machine hacks and cheats. Authorities tracked down Murat Bilev and discovered he was part of a Russian team which had successfully hacked slots from the United States to Macau, bilking the casinos for millions.
After arresting him on a return trip to the US, Bilev spilled the beans. He was part of a Russian slot machine hacking team which figured out the exact timing of how the PRNGs work in Aristocrat slots. His phone was equipped was a slot machine hacking app which told him exactly when to press the spin button, hence the sudden hand movements after long pauses.
Bilev was sentenced to two years in prison and deported from the USA. However, authorities worry that the scam has evolved and there are still teams out there using slot machine hacks and cheats today.
Are slot machine hacking apps available online? Yes, but if you get caught using them, you’ll end up in the slammer like Murat Bilev. I’d strongly advise against it.
What If You Do Discover a Slot Machine Hack?
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If you do figure out how to hack casino slot machines, you’ll face a moral and legal choice: to steal or not to steal.
I’d advise you not to. You see, there’s an alternative option, and it could be just as lucrative. Contact the casino slot machine company, tell them you’ve found a bug, and make a contract for a reward if you show them and are proven correct.
Some slots companies will dismiss you as a quack, but believe it or not, lots of them will give you an audience, especially if they suspect there’s a bug in their slot machine software.
Heck, you could even get a job as a consultant. After all, you’ve figured out a slot machine flaw that their coders didn’t recognize.
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Can You Really Hack Slot Machines?
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If you read the full article on slot machine hacks and cheats above, then you’ll know the answer is yes. But it takes some serious skills and connections. Both of the successful slot machine hackers mentioned here ended up in prison. And you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it?
I personally don’t think so. For me, slot machines are about the thrill of potentially winning a life-changing jackpot. I don’t even particularly want to win by cheating. I’d worry about being found out and having to look over my shoulder for the rest of my days.
Instead, I advise you to relax, have fun, learn all you can about how slots work, and forget slot machine hacks and cheats. If there’s such a thing as karma, you might even get rewarded for deciding not to try slot machine hacks!