If a slot is designed in the right way and is truly random, it’s nearly impossible to beat. However, there are multiple situations in which real-life players where able to make the opposite happen. 
Now, these methods are essentially cheating, and revolve around changing a slot’s hardware capabilities to make it easier to beat. 
Sometimes players were lucky, as well. 

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However – more importantly – there is a case from about ten years ago that doesn’t involve either of the two previous situations  A man from Russia managed to predict the outcome on certain models of slots.

This was used to be able to make millions aoround the world.

It’s an insane technique, and it’s worthy of some exploration here.

Alex: The Man Who Deciphered RNG and Made Millions

Alex is the hero of the story here. He was laboring in programming. He also did work as a hacker and a Russian gambling organization brought him on to change the RTP of certain machines. These were games from Novomatic.

Alex had to do a lot of research and learn a lot of info to be able to do this. He had to learn about Pseudo Random Number Generation (PRNG), how that functions, and how slot machines use them to determine the outcome of a pull.

He figured it out when he learned that they had an algorithim that was somewhat predictable. Because it wasn’t true RNG, it was able to be manipulated. Real RNG uses what is basically electromagnetic sound to pick randoms from numbers. It’s totally random – you cannot predict it at all.

PRNG, however, has weaknesses that can be exploited. If it has a weak alogrithim, you can exploit and predict the next number.

Alex learned this after some trial and error, and then knew that this would be exactly what he could utilize to gain an unfair edge.

It took him years, but eventually, he had an amazing plan in place.

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He spent painstaking hours and months reverse-engineering the most well-known casino games.
He used this info to develop an alogorithim which could predict this information, and used it to create something else.
He made a phone app that would use predictions to tell players when to press the button and win.
After all this, he hired people to use the app and make money off of casinos for the next five to even years.

Alex makes a rather large boast that, during that timeframe, he earned multiple millions off of his strategy.

Was This Legal and Moral?

The technique that he made – hilariously enough – doesn’t actually do anything that prohibits the manipulation of slots. That’s of course far different than actual physical manipulation of slot machines, and other techniques, which is explained later in this guide.

Alex’s creation is based on his own math, and many would consider it a fair and legal and moral way to beat the slots. It’s similar to counting cards, or bonus hunting.

Casinos put these machines out. It’s not anyone’s problem but theirs if someone finds a way to take take advantage for their own gain.

Remember: the casinos would have no problem taking your money if the situation was reversed. Remember how that Russian casino wanted Alex to change the RTP so the house edge would be even larger? Keep that in mind.

It technically wasn’t illegal. The worst that happened to him was they banned him and confiscated the winnings.

Despite the law, casinos are very powerful companies, and worked hard to try and stop this behavior. Eventually, they labeled this as conspiracy to commit fraud, and two of Alex’s agents were arrested and received twenty four months in prison.

That is where things began to change. Many of these agents had already become known. Another suffered an arrest in Singapore.

Working With Slot Makers

Alex knew it was too risky to continue doing this. He decided to try one last time. He got in touch with Aristocrat, which was the company in charge of the slots he’d figured out how to trick, and tried to see if he could get them to buy his knowledge in exchange for safety against future manipulation.

It didn’t work. So, instead, after they rejected him, Alex went to someone else – a man called Brendan Koerner, and got his story out that way.

It was a big article, and a lot of people became aware of it at that time.

Some might even call it one of the biggest gambling stories of the 21st century.

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How Huge Was This? Consequences?

Alex managed to use his trick on many different outdated slots. The one that was supposedly most succesful was manipulating the Aristocrat MK IV slot machine.

Funny enough, Aristocrat now recommends that customers change out these games.

Most casinos shouldn’t struggle to buy new slots and remove these slots, even though there are still many of them left around the world.

Alex has stated in the past that around 2009 was when he managed to figure out the tricks with the older Novomatic slots. Some say this was fixed as early as 2011. Alex then stated he did the same with slots by Atronic.

Many disbelieve this story. However, one of the strongest claims that Alex has ever made is that the weakness for another Aristocrat cabinet was similar.

Aristocrat has a huge problem on their hands if Alex was not lying. It’s even worse if it’s a problem that they cannot fix easily, even if they are a billion-dollar company. It may damage their reputation, but they will most likely live past it.

Casinos aren’t going to let ordinary people abuse this for long even if they figured it out – so don’t think you’ll be able to get away with the same thing that Alex did.

Is It Even A Real Story? Just A Legend, Maybe?

There’s plenty of circumstantial evidence and indirect sources that point towards this being a real thing that happened. Though many of course don’t believe it, there probably would not have been arrests by authorities if this wasn’t really something that happened.

Don’t these companies have people that work in security?

How could such an obvious flaw come to light?

Software development is a very difficult industry, and it’s absolutely possible to make mistakes that get overlooked all the time. If the attack is unknown, that makes it even more likely. Security managers are only trained to eliminate threats that they were aware of. If a real professional was not on board, something like this could’ve happened easily.

Regulators only require certain standards from PRNG to generate uniform distributions of numbers. The rest of it doesn’t even need to be tested.

For business people, as long as a slot machine is stable and well-liked and makes money, the rest of it is something they care less about.

Furthermore, software in cabinets often goes long periods of time with small updates, which gives people time to understand the software more because it’s not receiving large updates.

All of this contributes to what happened.

An Analysis of The Hacker’s System

It may be exciting to learn about this – at the end of the article, we’re going to explain this in detail. For now, we’re going to go into the other ways that slots can be manipulated, cheated, or otherwise interfered with in order to give a larger advantage to the player.

Special Tools, Hardware Manipulation, Frauding Slots

Many believe Alex’s method to be morally acceptable and actually not criminal in many regions. However, for other methods used in the past, they were clearly illegal and a massive form of cheating.

Most ways that slots are manipulated with involve tinkering with the hardware or using special tools to make money.

It’s really critical to note that this is illegal. If you try to do this, and you get caught, you will definitely be facing jail time. You may as well be robbing the casino – legally, it’s very similar with little differences.

Some of these tricks and operations were repeated, and others were one-off big thefts. They only function on physical cabinets that you can interact with, however: that is how they are all connected.

As casinos were stolen from, more security measures were put into place. Most of this is impossible to do today.

Fake Coins/False Tokens

This is a very simple method. Fake coins and tokens that slots registers as payment: you can use this in order to trick the slot and make money.

You need to be able to make the coins for very little value, however, otherwise this is not worth it.

One famous man managed to do this in a ridiculous fashion, Louis Colavecchio. He was a counterfeiter who used fake coins and fake casino tokens to fraud funds in Georgia and other states.

He was, of course, caught – since we know about him – but has been made quite infamous as a result.

Putting Objects On A String/ Yoyo

This is a trick as old as time. If you insert a coin or token into a slot, you can pull it back and use it repeatedly. It was a very simple thing to do: though many tried, not many were successful, and not everyone knew about this simple trick.

  • Shaved Coins: Technology continued to improve. These tricks like false coins started to become obsolete or very hard to successfully perform. Slot machines used light sensors and other kinds of technology to People started to get even more advanced with their ways of cheating. They started making additional objects with edited coins to force the machines to accept their fake coins. This usually fooled a light sensor, and afterwards the object could be used again on the next go.
  • Coat Hangers: Now we’re starting to get a bit ridiculous. The previous ways were designed to affect how things were inserted into a machine. This is completely different: designed to actually extract money out of the slot and interfere with the payout method of the machine. Older slots just paid out coins when players one. It was a simple mechanical system: ripe for fraud from someone who spent a bit of time thinking about it. Coat hangers were a simple way to do this: by sticking it in the coin counter, this didn’t allow the machine to count the money properly. This made it very profitable to play over a long period of time.
  • Top-Bottom Joint: This was a special type of tool that was made of two dually important sections: a metallic rod twisted to make a circle and a musical instrument string or thin wire. This was a popular tool in the 70’s and 80’s. It would literally empty out slot machines, forcing the cabinet to release the money within. The tool was designed to force the machine to register a win over and over by messing with the electronic and mechanical aspects of the machine.
  • Monkey Paw: Similar to the above tool, Tommy Glenn Carmichael, a particularly famous casino cheater, created this tool. He tried to cheat casinos at first, but was sentenced to sixty months after he got caught. He knew there needed to be a change. He eventually made a simplistic tool that functioned off of connected metal and hooks to tug on the machine’s coin hopper, which released all the money inside.
  • Light Wand: This is another tool that Carmichael invented. When slot machines started using sensors to detect coins, he made a way to fool the machines into giving him money. He created a tiny light that could blind the sensor and confuse it, which meant that it could not keep track of what was going on or how much money was being released. This just made the machine pay out over and over again.
  • Using a Piano Wire: This method is different because it edits the way the game functions. This makes it a rather strange, but also very special and individual form of fraud. In 1982, mechanical slot operation was still around. You could stick a piano wire into the slot machine’s insides, jamming the clock. This would allow the players to mess with the spin outcome. This was done by a group of people, hitting a jackpot of $50,000. They were filmed during this time and caught and arrested later. They were hardly successful long-term, but they still did manage to cheat $50k out of a slot machine using a piano wire.
  • Replacing Chips: A man by the name of Dennis Nikrasch purchased a machine to mess around with in his domicile. After a long period of exploration and experimentation, he figured out how to reprogram the machine chip. This could be inserted into any similar slot machine with ridiuclous results. He did this for a long while and made himself rich. He was arrested in 2004 and passed later on.

Exploitable Glitches

This is technically not cheating, but it is a form of exploiting an issue that isn’t intended to be part of the system. Slots are made by humans, and humans can of course cause errors. These errors and software glitches can be exploited for profit.

Stories like the following are well-documented and were big news when they happened:

In 2015, there was a woman who won over $40 million from a slot. The casino refused to pay her.
An Austrian man won $43 million jackpot. The casino wouldn’t pay him out the amount, but they gave him $100 and dinner for free.
A person in New York hit a jackpot over $40 million, similar to the above story. The massive victory was a glitch because the max payout for that machine was $6,500. The casino only gave her the $2.25 she spent on the spin.

There’s an obvious common theme here: big wins that come from glitches are never actually paid.

If a casino wanted to be particularly corrupt, they could use these excuses to deny payouts to legitimate wins as well. There’s no way to really know for sure.

Sometimes a software glitch doesn’t always make a massive jackpot: instead, it could enable a series of small victories, or somehow mix up inserted money in a way that can cause unintentional outcomes that favor the player. This stuff is harder to notice and can be taken advantage of by smart gamblers.

You’d need to be very fortunate and smart to find the bug, and know how to abuse it. You can also never be certain you’ll actually get the money.

How Alex’s Algorithim Probably Worked

It only took Alex a little under 25 spins to understand further spins. It was time based, and this was how he supposedly abused this in order to win millons of dollars.

Abusing A Simple PRNG Algorithim

The PRNG algorithim that was probably utilized in Aristocrat Slots looks like this:

RNG = (a* PreviousRNG + c) mod m

This is called Linear Congruential Generator, LCG, and is used in many programming langauges. It’s possible that Aristocrat developers used something this simple and caused it to be easier than it should have been to manipulate their machines.

Alex Trick

How to Crack It

To figure out how to pull off what he did, Alex would have needed to do a few things.

Decompile It: First, he would have needed to understand the exact specifications and parameters to be able to understand how it worked. All he would have had to do was decompile the code. A lot of people would be able to do this if they understood microelectronics and had the necessary tools. You need more than the parameters, however. You need the RNG seed values.
Locating the RNG seed values: These kinds of algorithims are known to be somewhat predictable. If you know three random numbers and easily understand the parameters, predicting the next number is actually not very difficult at all. Alex knew the parameters, but not the RNG value.He could observe the slots to try and figure it out. Remember, the way a slot works only has so many ways it can end up. It has a limited logic. Because of this, there’s a way to solve it and crack it.

A slot machine can have 50 to 100 symbols. Sometimes combinations repeat or reels have different lengths. By observing the primary reel in a spin you could eliminate up to 98% of random potential numbers that the RNG would pick out of all the combinations.

If you can figure out the outcome of a lot of numbers, you’d figure it out pretty fast – but not quite as fast as you may think.

Using 64-bit numbers, simulating them would use ridiculous computer power that would make the process take hundreds of years. Alex needed a bit more help.

Two imoprtant things could have happened at this point:
The developers for Aristocrat used 32-bit numbers, instead.
Alex figured out another trick with the numbers to learn the RNG state.
32 Bit Numbers Theory

The cabinets that Alex manipulated – Aristocraft MK IV – were made on a 32-bit ARM 250 processor. If a 32-bit random number seed was used, there are only about 4 billion possible RNG states, which can be discovered in just a few moments by a modern computer via brute force. A 32-bit random number can’t cover all results in some games, so it most likely was not used.

More likely, however, the random number was exploited in a different way.

Using the Random Number in A Different Way

Instead, let’s guess that there was a 64-bit number in play. There are a lot of different ways that you could do this, but one of the simplest approaches would be to simply use a formula like the following to help the determine the information:

Pos1 = RND modulo 50
Pos2 = (RND / 50) modulo 50
Pos3 = (RND / (50*50)) modulo 50
Pos4 = (RND / (50*50*50)) modulo 50
Pos5 = (RND / (50*50*50*50)) modulo 50

This makes each reel utilize part of the random number. There is no correlation between them. If the numbers are uniform, then it is an even chance to get any kind of game outcome.

Here’s how you break that apart and take advantage of it:

If you know those reel positions, calculating them becomes a breeze by calculating the end of a random number.

This formula is used for that:

RndEnd = pos1 + pos2*50 + pos3*50*50 + pos4*50*50*50 + pos5*50*50*50*50

This all may look really confusing. So, does this actually help you at all? It actually does quite a bit.

This removes so much of the work, because all you need to simulate is those numbers at the end. You can use this by simulating numbers that match this kind of pattern: RndEnd + X * 50^5

That ends up looking like this:

1 * 312500000 + RndEnd

2 * 312500000 + RndEnd

3 * 312500000 + RndEnd

Now, after this, out of the ridiculous possible range of values, 2^64, you’re left with nearly six billion. The latter can be completed in only sixty seconds, compared to the hundreds of years that the first would take.

Now you can predict future spins.

Now, the RNG that Alex exploited, as well as the exact method he used, may have not been identical to this, but this is supposed to give you some general information about how it could be done with a phone app in a crowded casino full of people without them being caught too often.

That’s how you beat the slots!

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