Slots are the most popular games in online casinos and these quirky little machines are all about luck. But that doesn’t mean you can’t win some serious money if you know what you’re doing. Although fruit machines are generally games of pure chance, there are always some ways to improve your chances of hitting a payout and beating the casino.

People have always tried to cheat fruit machines and there are some clever and unscrupulous players in the past who have found ways around even the most complex machines. Playing in brick and mortar casinos will always be different to playing online and the best cheats, tips and strategies are of course different depending on where you are playing. However, there are some slot machine cheats that are applicable to both real fruit machine and online play.

There can be a fine line between cheats and strategies and we’ll explore the difference in this article. So, read on to find out all about fruit machine cheats, casino slot machine tricks and betting strategies that can improve your winning chances of hitting the biggest jackpots.

Traditional Fruit Machine Cheats

In the early days of fruit machines, players looking to cheat the house would stick a bit of wire into the mechanism to try to release coins. A favourite method of cheating a machine was to use a coat hanger to interfere with the mechanical workings and cause it to pay out more coins. Casinos soon cottoned onto this trick though and sneaky players had to find new, more creative ways of cheating.

Another popular method was to bend a piece of metal into the shape of a claw to form what was affectionately known as a ‘monkey’s paw’. This was a more inventive way of reaching the deeper mechanisms in the machine and could result in a tidy payout – until the casinos thwarted all the fun with better technology.

In addition to physically trying to wangle more coins out of a machine, thieves came up with more crafty ways of swindling the casinos. One such fruit machine cheat that became popular in the 1980s was to smooth off the edges of the coins so they passed through the machine and triggered the free spins round. Another crude but effective method of cheating was to tie a piece of fine string or thread to the coin and once inserted, pull it out again to obtain free credits. Some players even managed to create fake coins that would be accepted by machines.

Some cheats even worked from within the casino industry. Programmers and engineers who designed the games would place weaknesses deliberately into the system, which could then be exploited at a later stage once the game arrived in the casinos. These weaknesses in the code created by the software developers meant that those in the know could use special fruit machine cheat codes to activate a payout on the machine.

Famous Casino Cheaters

One early slots swindler was Tommy Glenn Carmichael, who created the ‘Top Bottom Joint’ which consisted of a steel spring and a guitar wire. He would insert this slot machine cheat device into the payout chute to trip the switch and force the machine to empty its coins into the hands of the player. Tommy Glenn Carmichael was eventually caught in the act and sent to prison.

Other famous professional casino cheats who have been caught include Louis ‘The Coin’ Colavecchio and various Russian agents who swindled casinos across America, Peru and Singapore. All have been sentenced to time behind bars for their crimes.

In addition to the wire contraptions used to insert into the fruit machine mechanisms, another famous fruit machine cheat employed by some of these professional swindlers was the ‘light wand’. This was a sort of small torch that players could shine into the machine to trip the sensors and force the machine to award a large payout. A further slot machine cheat device was a simple magnet, which players would hold against the reels to force matching symbols to line up.

Most of these cheats were reasonably crude with the exception of the computer programmer inside jobs, which created a deliberate weakness in the code. These days it’s a bit more complicated due to the sophisticated technology employed by casinos. However, some modern gangs have managed to beat the casino at their own game by coming up with more advanced ways to cheat at slots.

A gang of fraudsters from a St. Petersburg organisation found a way to compromise fruit machines by using their mobile phones. The gang would travel around the world from casino to casino making small wins of less than 1,000 credits each so as not to arouse suspicion. The way they achieved this was to record a couple of dozen slot spins and send the information for analysis by technical experts in their Russian HQ. The experts deciphered the complex spin pattern and sent back a list of timing markers to indicate when the agent should press the spin button.

Online Slots Mechanisms

The more advanced cheating methods of the Russian gang worked because slot machines use mathematical patterns to create the spins, which they managed to decipher.

The outcome of each slot spin is determined by ‘pseudorandom number generators’ or PRNGs. Auditors and regulation bodies, such as eCOGRA, test the algorithms of each slot game before casinos are allowed to offer it to players. However, although the algorithms produce random results in practice, they are not truly random, hence the ‘pseudo’ in the name.

Random number generator or RNGs are created by human beings using coded instructions. The way they work is that a PRNG takes a first number (a ‘seed’) and combines it with various hidden and constantly changing inputs, such as the time from a machine’s internal clock, to produce a result that appears random, hence impossible to predict. The Russian cheats managed to identify the various strings to forecast the PRNG’s output.

When playing at online casinos, some players wonder if it’s possible to cheat at slots. Online casinos use some pretty sophisticated technology to ensure their payouts are fair and that cheating is as difficult as possible. Casinos are always coming up with new ways to counter wannabe cheaters and machines now have high-tech preventative equipment installed as a matter of course. If you read reviews of the different online slots available, the many features of the slots will show just how complex many of the games are. That said, the security precautions are just as complex.

Casino Security Precautions

In land-based casinos, one feature which prevents crude fake coin usage is the coin comparator. This is a device that can determine whether a coin is real or fake by analysing the coin’s density or weight. A similar mechanism is used in vending machines with paper money.

In addition to this, there are many cameras directed at every table and all slots to ensure players are always being filmed. A huge amount of money is spent on security in casinos to keep an eye out for potential cheats. Slots machines are highly sophisticated pieces of equipment these days and combined with the security measures employed by casinos, coat hangers, metal claws, counterfeit coins and coins on strings stand no chance.

The only true way to beat a slot now is for a technical expert to study the mechanics behind the slot to decipher its code or for a programmer to insert code into the machine at the development stage.

Slot Machine Tips and Tricks

Of course, cheating in a land-casino is very different to cheating in an online casino. While land-based cheats have the chance to use physical force and cheat wires on the machines, there’s no such possibility for online slot games. When playing slots online, the cheating will have to be in the programming or technical analysis. As slots are all about pure luck, there’s no way to cheat at slots online as a player. The only way to beat the house edge is to employ some clever tricks and strategies to increase your winning chances.

The first thing to consider when trying to boost your payouts when playing online slots is the variance of the machine you are playing. If you want to win big money you need to play the high variance games, which offer the bigger jackpots. Although playing low variance games gives you regular money trickling into your account, it’s the high volatility games which could potentially reward you with a life-changing sum.

Betting Levels and Jackpots

Another piece of useful slot game strategy is to always keep an eye on your betting level and make sure you are wagering enough to trigger the progressive jackpot. If the machine has a multi-level jackpot, often lower bets can trigger a lower jackpot but for the larger prizes, a maximum bet is necessary. Often, a progressive machine will only set off the biggest progressive jackpot if you’re playing at max bet, so this is a slot betting strategy to be aware of. There’s no worse feeling than hitting the jackpot only to realise you aren’t eligible for the prize.

Many players like to start small and work their way up to bigger bets. The theory behind this strategy is that the game will ‘warm up’ as you play and the bigger wins are more likely further down the road. However, this approach is not a good way to play because you’re just as likely to win big early on – each spin is unique after all. The best way to play is to bet the most you can afford from the get go.

Another theory to ignore is the ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ streak. Slot machines are no less likely to payout if they have just paid out a large jackpot or haven’t paid for weeks. There’s equal chance of hitting a tasty payout at all times, so don’t worry about machines going ‘hot’ or ‘cold’. Just stick to your budget and play the games that tick your boxes in terms of variance, betting level and theme, and cross your fingers.

Slot Machine ‘Three Hold Rule’

There are many different types of slots each with different features and you need to be aware of these to consider which strategy will work best. There is a nifty casino slot machine trick that can be used on slots which use traditional fruit machine features. These retro style slots often offer the classic ‘hold’ features, which can open up some potential slot machine tricks to win money in a legal way. This is an interesting area where cheating and strategy collide.

One such trick is the ‘Three Hold Rule’ which takes advantage of the machine’s ‘hold’ feature. If you manage to hold two matching symbols in place for three spins, you can expect the third matching symbol on the next spin. This cheat is by no means guaranteed to work on every slot with the feature, but it’s certainly available in several fruit machines out there. You never know, you could stumble across this gem while playing real money slots online.