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Cheating is as old a concept as rules

So it’s no surprise that people try to outsmart systems. In baseball, for instance, many of the game’s most iconic moments, including Bobby Thomson’s famous homerun known as “The Shot Heard Round the World,” which won the then-New York Giants the 1951 National League Pennant, have some questionable background noise behind them. Some say Thomson knew what pitch was coming through an elaborate sign-stealing scheme the Giants were running, others say it’s not true.

Well, even in the 21st Century, with crime in many ways harder than ever, the desire to win still propels many gamers to try to cheat. Slots is a field that sees this type of behavior quite often. Take Tommy Glenn Carmichael, for instance.

A 60-year-old known as legend in the field of slots cheating, Carmichael has helped steal millions from casinos. He boasts of the ability to beat any machine--that’s right, any machine--and just might be right.

"A legend," Jerry Criner, convicted slot cheat, called Carmichael in a USA Today story in 2003. "He's the greatest mind as far as developing cheating tools."

Carmichael has employed various tools in cheating, the first of which made him rich being the “Slider.” A conceptually simple tool that snaked its way into the heart of a slot machine where it would flick a switch, shooting out coins, the Slider worked well for about a year, earning the famous cheat about $1,000 an hour. With advances in technology, the tool stopped working, and that’s a pattern Carmichael and countless other cheats have seen over the years. Once something works, the casinos figure out how to make it stop working, and you’re out of luck.

"You can only ride a horse so far," Carmichael told USA Today.

The same is true today of online slots. Many a clever programmer has tried to beat the system, using codes and other innovative tricks to win a few Shekels before the authorities have caught on. The general truth, however, is that no one gets away unscathed for too long.

While the great cheat Carmichael still thinks he can break any barrier set up to stop him, claiming he could still  “beat them in a heartbeat,” even he has seen the light. The convicted crook has changed sides, now offering a system that he thinks is unbeatable by any cheat, including himself, called simply the “Protector.”

Good luck selling that.

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Test Your Knowledge
• The Scenario:

San Francisco, California’s Charles Fey invented the first slots machine, then known as a “one-armed bandit,” in the late 1800s. The exact date is up for debate, but most believe it to be in 1887. His original design included five symbols that would rotate over a three-reel machine. The purpose of choosing five symbols was to replace poker cards in order to avoid having too many possible options as pay-outs or losses. This design worked well, but soon competitors found other ways to implement more of a poker style into the slot machine, and the “one-armed bandit” was replaced by various competitors.


• The Question:

What were the five original symbols Fey used in the “one-armed bandit?”


  • Heart, lion, spade, diamond, cherry
  • Heart, lion, cherry, tiger, gold nugget
  • Liberty Bell, horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts