12 Common Tricks To Cheat Pokie Machines

12 Common Tricks To Cheat Pokies Machines
12 Common Tricks To Cheat Pokies Machines

Poker machines are some of the most lucrative games on the casino floor for both the players and the house – and cheaters. Here are the common tricks to cheat pokie machines.

With such huge payouts available, it’s clear that pokie machines have always been a game of cat and mouse between cheaters and the house ever since they were invented.

Let’s check out some of the tricks used by pokies cheaters over the years. We don’t recommend trying them yourself, though!

12 Common Tricks To Cheat Pokie Machine

1. Shaved Coins

Shaved Coins
Shaved Coins

Using shaved coins scam doesn’t exist today, but it’s still great to know about.

As technology advanced, pokie machines began to use a light sensor to register payment. In many machines, the optic sensor worked separately from the physical comparator.

That meant that if a shaved coin were sent down at the same time as an object that matched the shape and size of the required stake coin, the shaved coin would be returned whilst the other object would land in the machine and start play.

2. Cheat Code

Cheat Code
Cheat Code

Gambling authorities ensure that the gaming industry operates correctly and fairly.

These gaming machines are designed to be monitored and audited while delivering quality gameplay. But what when an engineer decides to rig the codes for their benefit?

The infamous pokies cheat Ronald Dale Harris – an engineer from The Nevada Gaming Commission – did precisely that. He knew how to manipulate a slot machine!

For years, he cheated pokie machines by knowing the source codes. It wasn’t until his partner had a big win in the casino – $100,000 on a keno game in 1995 – that the scam was unearthed.

Editor’s recommended: 12 Pokie Machine Secrets Casinos Would Never Let You Know

3. Fake Coins

Fake Coins
Fake Coins

Yet another method of pokies cheating used throughout history was fake coins. Con artist Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio used these to scam casinos for years until his arrest in 1998.

He was released in 2006 and quickly re-started his cheating. It was a matter of months before he was unsurprisingly discovered again.

4. Magnet


We often wonder how to cheat a pokies with a magnet.

Let’s clarify: it’s impossible to cheat today’s pokie machines with a magnet since they’re all programmed by computer software and aren’t magnetic.

However, people used to be able to cheat with a magnet on the older machines when they were made of metal.

To cheat at pokies using a magnet, you could spin the reels and then use a strong magnet on the outside of the machine to stop them spinning when you saw your winning combination.

Cheaters would then remove the magnet and claim the payout.

This wasn’t the most subtle cheat, but if done well, people could easily win lots of cash!

See also: 10 Popular Features Of Pokie Machines and Their Functioning.

5. Yo-Yo


This pokies cheat was all about the technique.

A string is attached to the coin, and the coin is sent into the machine until it activates the start of the game. Then, the player brings the coin back up using the string.

Nowadays, this technique is all but redundant. Thanks to the evolving technology.

It’s an absolute classic, though, and if it worked, you would have seen a big win.

Suggested read: How To Know When A Pokie Machine Will Pay Out?

6. Light Wand

Light Wand
Light Wand

Tommy Glenn Carmichael is one of the most notorious pokie cheats in gambling history. He is responsible for the light wand.

Magicians such as David Copperfield, Dynamo, and David Blaine might be able to create the illusion of something happening. Still, Carmichael would use his light wand to make jackpot wins magically appear out of thin air.

The light wand would effectively blind the optical sensor on pokie machines, so it couldn’t work out how many coins had been deposited into the machine, meaning it wouldn’t know when to pay out or how much.

Carmichael could manipulate pokies to his advantage by turning small wins into massive payouts.

7. Piano Wire

 Piano Wire
Piano Wire

This is an oldie but a goody in the world of pokie cheats.

A group of men worked together at the Caesars Boardwalk Regency casino in Atlantic City in 1982. One man opened the targeted poker machine and attached 20-inch long piano wires to the whirring guts of the game.

These wires jam the clock that measures the wheel rotations, allowing the group to manipulate the spins.

They hit the $50,000 jackpot, but, unfortunately, their whole scam had been filmed, and the winning player was arrested before he left the premises.

8. Top-Bottom Joint

Top-Bottom Joint
Top-Bottom Joint

This is one of the most cunning methods of cheating at pokie and was popular with scammers in the 1970s and 1980s.

They use a unique tool split into two parts. A top (a metal rod with its end bent in the shape of a “q”) and a bottom (a long wire).

By putting the bottom in through the coin chute and the top through the coin pokie, the cheats could jam the machine and force the game to release all the stored coins.

9. Monkey Paw

Monkey Paw
Monkey Paw

It’s that man Carmichael again. He was a total genius in cheating terms.

He was the creator of the “monkey paw”. He eventually built the correct contraption after testing new methods on a video poker machine. It was amazingly simple.

See also: How to Select the Right Video Poker Game.

He got a guitar string and attached it to a bent metal rod. He would thrust it into the machine’s air vent and wriggle it around until he clicked the trigger switch for the coin hopper.

Cue the avalanche of coins.

10. Bill Validator Device

Bill Validator Device
Bill Validator Device

Simple yet very effective pokies cheat.

This little device is wrapped around a bill to fool the pokie machine into thinking it is accepting a $100 bill when, in reality, it is just accepting a humble $1 bill.

11. Computer Chip Replacement

Computer Chip Replacement
Computer Chip Replacement

Dennis Nikrasch changed the pokies cheating game with this idea.

He bought a pokies and messed with it in his garage to determine its flaws.

He shows how the computer chips inside the machines could be re-programmed to be manipulated to pay out jackpots on tap.

Nikrasch ordered a load of these chips, hired a team of scammers, got hold of slot machine keys and started a reign of scamming that would bleed casinos dry for years.

And he did it all just by switching the independent chips for his manipulated chips.

12. Software Glitch

Software Glitch
Software Glitch

This has been manipulated by cheats for decades.

Players could confuse the machine and trigger a glitch that pays out the jackpot by playing a specific pattern of stakes and games.

Many pokie cheaters benefited from this over the years, but now, many jackpot winners are denied their winnings.

The most famous incident happened in 2015 when 90-year-old grandmother Pauline McKee, from Illinois, won $41 million on a Miss Kitty slot machine at the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo.

She tried to sue the casino initially in 2012, but her final appeal was rejected three years later. Unfortunately, historical instances are the reason for the casino winning this case.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta is a spirited writer hailing from Wellington, bringing a youthful zest to the world of digital content. Merging her love for narrative with an eye for detail, Ella crafts stories that resonate and engage the modern reader.