Ever dreamt of beating the casinos at their own game? Forget card counting: the secret to winning big in the gambling business is – like so many of today’s crimes and misdemeanors – best done digitally.
This feature in Wired details the story of how a classical pianist and his accomplice managed to win hundreds of thousands of dollars by exploiting a bug in video poker machines.
Unlike prior attempts at taking home the jackpot via surreptitious means, this heist didn’t involve the use of electronic gimcracks like electro-magnetic pulses or light wands; just a lot of patience: the duo spent years working out how to recreate an extremely specific set of circumstances which would make the machine pay out jackpots at will, like finding a glitch in a videogame. But unlike using a code to beat your friends on GTA IV, when Vegas finds out something’s amiss, somebody has to pay.
The humble poker machine – a mainstay of the silver-haired and listless – isn’t usually associated with the high figures or high drama of a high-stakes blackjack table, but you’ve got to find an edge wherever you can.