By Oleg - November 16, 2023

You may know that modern slot machines have nearly impregnable security features and are tough to manipulate. However, old-style slot machines can be tricked using various techniques, devices, and hacks detailed below.

We must mention that there are no legal ways to trick a slot machine. All methods that have been tried successfully are illegal, and often the perpetrators get caught. The last thing you want is to spend several years in jail for a few hundred dollars in slot wins.

That being said, there are many players who try to trick, fix, or rig slot machines every year. Most don’t succeed, while the few that do end up on the wrong side of the law.

With plenty of caution, here are top ways you can potentially trick some slot games.

  • Using Shaved Coins

    Online blackjack games can have varying house edges and unique rules, impacting your ideal betting strategies and bankroll management techniques. Understand the specific rules and gameplay structures of the blackjack variant you are playing, and adjust your bankroll management accordingly.

  • The Monkey Paw Technique

    You’re well-versed with slot machine cheating if you know something about the top-bottom joint, the kickstand, or the monkey paw. Odds are you’re already aware that this cheating technique doesn’t work today. You won’t be able to use the monkey paw to manipulate or trick modern, highly advanced slot machines.

    Be that as it may, the top-bottom is one of Tommy Glenn Carmichael’s most elaborate cheating methods for slot machines. In the past, when it was popularly used, the monkey paw let players trip the payout device of a slot machine. That way, the machine could payout without an actual play, meaning you will receive lots of coins from the slot without even playing a single spin!

    Carmichael also developed the notorious slot machine cheating device called the light wand. He, and his fellow cheaters, would use the device to trick the slot machine into magically paying out a jackpot, literally out of thin air.

    The light wand uses optics to blind the optical sensor on the machine effectively. It confuses the slot machine, so it cannot work out how many coins the player has inserted into the machine. That means the slot machine would not determine when to make a payout or how much to pay out.

    Tommy could use this technique to trick slot machines and manipulate them to turn small wins into massive payouts. It made a lot of money for Carmichael and his associates.

  • Spooning

    Whether you take it literally or not, spooning devices were pretty rampant among slot machine cheaters before Strip casinos began using payout ticket printers. When spooners were common, most old-model slot machines used coin hoppers for payouts. They paid out coins from a coin box or pool.

    In fact, the majority of old-school fruit machines were equipped with coin tubes. The coins were stacked in these tubes for payouts. This coin payout design enabled cheaters to use the spooning technique. The whole process is pretty manual and involves no electronic cheating device.

    As the name suggests, the ‘spooner’ is a spoon-shaped tool used to push the coin tube, forcing it to slide open. And voila! coins started dropping like hail stones. Of course, it wasn’t long before spooners were discovered and payout ticket printers were introduced.

    Needless to say, you cannot use spooning to trick modern slot machines. Most of them no longer accept coins or tokens. Instead, they use rechargeable electronic cards.

  • Using Cheat/Pre-Programmed Codes

    This one borrows a leaf from the video gaming industry. As you might already know, gaming authorities like UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) use specific codes to determine whether slot machines operate fairly and correctly.

    The so-called source code defines the behavior, random number generator (RNG), and payout trends of a particular machine. If a given slot doesn’t deliver the desired outcome (say the payout is high or low compared to the set amount), the regulator will inform the developer and casinos of the same.

    That’s, of course, great for players. It’s one of the most effective ways of keeping rogue casinos and slot developers from rigging their games. But what if someone in the gaming development firm (perhaps an engineer, coder, or designer) decides to go rogue?

    When people who develop slot machines go dark, that’s how cheat codes arise. If an ill-reputed slot machine engineer wishes to exploit the source code, they’ll create a pre-programmed algorithm that will make the game predictable. Behind the scenes, the cheat code tricks the slot so that it thinks you’ve created a winning combination and thus pays out.

    When it comes to pre-programmed slot machines and slot cheat codes, the best example is that of a former engineer at the Nevada Gaming Commission, Ronald Dale Harris. Over more than a decade, Harris used a cheat code to swindle thousands of dollars in illegal wins on slot machines across the Las Vegas Strip.

    In one hit, the former gaming control engineer struck an astounding $100,000 in rogue wins through well-calculated cheat codes. The massive win in question happened in 1998 on a keno game at Bally’s Park Place in Atlantic City. The amount of the win was so massive that he got caught.

    Harris was sentenced to seven years in prison for masterminding a slot machine racketeering ring that saw his associates win thousands of dollars in illegal jackpot payouts. In one case, the computer code scheme tricked a slot machine into paying out a $42,000 jackpot.

  • Switching Slot Machine Chips

    Computer chip swapping is an ingenious cheating technique that casino cheaters like Dennis Nikrasch employed to swindle thousands. Rumor has it that Nikrasch may have been responsible for kicking off the entire slot cheating racket.

    Funny enough, he didn’t use a shaved coin, a light want, fake coins, or spooning. Instead of using these manual methods, Dennis opted for the emerging world of electronics. He created new slot chips and swapped them for the original ones. Because he knew how the fake chip worked, he’d know when the slot machine would pay.

    Nikrasch did not stop there. He collaborated with a ring of slot scammers who would be responsible for swapping fake computer chips with the original slot machine chips. He literally converted casino slot machines into ATMs.

  • Magnet Rigging

    Magnetic rigging is another slot cheating technique that has gone the way of the dodo. It doesn’t work on today’s state-of-the-art video slot machines. However, in the early 70s, most casinos used old-school slot machines with magnetic mechanisms incorporated into various design elements. The spinner was one such design feature.

    Casino cheaters used strong magnetic devices to manipulate, rig, or trick slot machines during this early era of slot machines. In specific, the magnetic contraption forced the slot machine to spin continuously and freely. That way, the cheat waits until a winning combination has been formed to stop the reels.

    Modern slot machines, especially 3D video slots, use random number generators. The mechanism makes it difficult for magnets or any cheating technique to be used to rig the machine.

  • Using a bill validator device

    Another common way to trick a slot machine is to introduce fake coins or cash into the game. Of course, this trick is impossible to pull off at modern and online casinos because they don’t accept cash. You might be able to trick an old slot machine, though.

    A bill validator device is a straightforward yet effective tool for fixing older slot machines. It is a compact device often wrapped around a cash bill to trick the machine into thinking that you have inserted a bigger bill.

    That means you can use a $1 bill to trick a high-limit slot machine into thinking you have inserted a $50 or $100 bill. It’s a goldmine for cheaters and can also be used along with counterfeit bills.

  • Slot Software Vulnerability Cheats

    No slot machine is 100% bug-free despite game manufacturers going above and beyond to make sure their products are free of errors. In fact, most bugs or software vulnerabilities occur in the lines of code. Some casinos use the excuse of software glitches to deny winners payment for jackpot wins and other large payouts.

    Of course, smart casino cheats can use software vulnerabilities and bugs in slot source code to win. For instance, in 2015, an old grandma won more than $40 million at Isle Casino while playing the Missy Kittle slot machine. Unfortunately, she didn’t get even a penny for the win.

    That has not stopped slot cheats and hackers from exploiting software glitches to make their way into millions of dollars in easy payouts. They typically incorporate an extra piece of code to trick the slot machine to trigger payouts.

  • Hacking the Slot Machines Random Number Generator (RNG) System

    Random Number Generators (RNGs) form the core of slot machines. They make slot machines give equal chances of winning to every player on every spin. In other words, RNGs guarantee that the slot outcomes are completely random and fair. The design of a random number generator may vary from one developer to the next, but they tend to work similarly.

    Tech-savvy casino cheats usually focus on the RNG of a slot machine. They either reverse-engineer or hack the random number generator algorithm/system. That makes it possible for them to access the backdoor of the slot machine functioning and manipulate the results.

    One typical example that comes to mind is the group of Russian hackers that reverse-engineered the random number generator of Mark VI slots by gaming provider Aristocrat. They essentially hacked into the slot machines’ backdoor. Once they did so, they essentially went from one casino to the next, using the technique to win thousands of dollars.

  • Using online slots scripts

    Online slots work in a similar but slightly different way to physical slot machines. Unfortunately, there are barely any ways to manipulate slot machines online. Most online casinos and game developers use state-of-the-art security features and encryption technology to protect the source codes of their slot progressive slots.

    If you have the privilege of knowing the game programmers or developers, you can illegally acquire the scripts. Online casino slots can be tricked using these scripts in the same way people use cheat codes when playing slots.

Advanced security features make it difficult to cheat on modern slot machines. However, savvy players can cheat on slot games using a variety of methods, which may include:

Recording outcomes of many spins on smartphones or tablets to predict the randomization pattern of the slot machine.

Using a light-wand to trick the payout sensor of a slot machine and trigger a big win

Using advanced technical skills and computer programs to rig the slot machines for large payouts and instant jackpots

Keeping an eye out for slot players who leave funded machines unattended so that you can spin the reels using their money

Using shaved coins and counterfeit or fake bills to fool slot machines for free spins

Hacking the random number generator cycles of a slot machine

Taking advantage of software glitches, bugs, and hiccups

Using cheat codes

Swapping the computer chips of slot machines with fake ones to manipulate them to pay out big wins or instant jackpots

Using the yo-yo slot hacking technique

Manipulating the payout mechanisms, such as payout switches, sensors, etc.

We have covered many often illegal ways you can trick, rig, or fix slot machines for free spins and potentially big payouts. They include using bill validator devices, hacking the RNG cycles, taking advantage of software glitches, leveraging slot machine cheat codes, and light-wand.

As we’ve mentioned, the vast majority of these tricks are not legal and may land you in jail.

So are there legal tricks to winning on slot machines? The answer is a solid yes – you can use the following tricks to improve your winning probability on slot machines:

  • Always focus on slot machines and slot games with high return-to-player percentages

    RTP is the expected return after thousands of slot spins. Knowing this figure can help you determine the winning probability of a slot machine. Use RTP to choose the best and most lucrative slot machines and slot games.

  • Check the volatility of the slot game before you play

    This might sound like a trivial thing, but the volatility of a slot machine can hugely impact your winning chances and gaming experience. It is all about the size of your bankroll and your play style.

    If you have a large bankroll and wish to hit significant wins, you should opt for high-volatility slot machines. If you are a casual player with a small bankroll, a low volatility slot game will suit your situation.

    Most players should play slot machines that feature medium variance or volatility. When you play slots of this kind, you can expect to land modest payouts fairly frequently.

  • Always manage your bankroll properly

    The first and perhaps most important thing you should keep in mind when playing slot machines is to always play within your means. It would help if you started by setting a budget and sticking to it throughout your play. Play slots with what you can afford to lose.

  • Create a win limit and a loss limit

    One of the most ignored tricks to winning on a slot machine is to create both a win limit and a loss limit. Setting these limits is a great way to exercise self-control. A typical example of this is to cap your losses at $200. When you hit this number, you should quit and avoid chasing your losses.

    Conversely, you should set a higher win limit (usually double the loss limit or higher). If you select a win limit of $500, you should quit when you hit this cap.

  • Start with lower stakes

    Yes, winning on slot machines is mostly luck. But easing into the game can help you manage your bankroll and avoid unnecessary mistakes. It would be best if you started playing a slot machine with smaller stakes and then you should gradually increase your bet size.

  • Avoid branded slot machines or games

    This is particularly important for people who play online slot machines. You will likely come across slot games branded after famous movies, game shows, personalities, and other popular culture brands. They usually come with a higher house edge and lower odds for the player.

  • Practice often

    You can take advantage of the demo accounts of casino games to practice and hone your skills.

  • Utilize casino bonuses and free spins

    Most online casinos offer free spins and bonus offers you can use to boost your winning chances.


What triggers a jackpot on a slot machine?

Random number generators trigger a jackpot on a slot machine. This occurs when you have a winning combination that constitutes a jackpot win.

Is there a way to tell if a slot machine is going to hit?

No, there is no way to tell if a slot machine will hit. That is because each outcome of modern slot machines and online slots is random, thanks to RNGs.

Is there any way to trick a slot machine to win?

Slot machines operate on random number generation, making it impossible to manipulate or \”trick\” them for guaranteed wins. While all outcomes rely on chance, selecting slot machines with higher payout rates and managing your bet sizes can optimize your gaming strategy. Remember, responsible gambling is key.

What triggers a jackpot on a slot machine?

A jackpot on a slot machine is triggered when a precise combination of symbols aligns on the reels. This outcome is determined by a Random Number Generator (RNG) each time the lever is pulled or the spin button is pressed, ensuring fair and unpredictable results.

Is there a way to tell if a slot machine is going to hit?

It’s impossible to predict slot machine jackpots with accuracy, as they operate on a Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG ensures each spin is independent and outcomes are random. Slot strategies won’t forecast a hit, keeping the game fair and unpredictable, aligned with gaming regulations.

Is there a pattern to slot machines?

No, slot machines do not operate on patterns; their outcomes are determined by random number generators, ensuring each spin is independent and not influenced by previous wins or losses. This randomness means no strategy can predict when a machine is \”due\” for a win or a loss.