Michael Friberg. John Kane was on a hell of a winning streak. On July 3,he walked alone into the high-limit room at the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas and sat down at a gamblinh poker machine called the Game King. All the while, the casino's director of surveillance, Charles Williams, was peering down at Kane through a camera hidden in a ceiling dome. Tall, with this web page high brow and an aquiline nose, the year-old Kane had the patrician bearing of a man better gambling addiction hotline sunlight video to playing a Mozart piano concerto than listening cowboy the cowwboy of a slot machine.
Even his play was refined: the gambling he rested his long fingers on the buttons and swept them in a graceful legato, smoothly selecting good cards, discarding bad ones, accepting jackpot after jackpot with the vaguely put-upon air of a creditor gambling collecting an overdue debt. Williams could see that Kane was wielding none of the array of cheating devices that machine had confiscated from grifters over the years.
He was siting pressing the buttons. But he was winning far too much, too fast, to be relying on luck alone. Now Williams knew something was wrong: The cards dealt on the screen were mahcine exact same four deuces and four of gambling that yielded Kane's previous jackpot.
The odds against that were astronomical. Williams called over machine executive in charge of the Silverton's slots, and they reviewed the surveillance tape together.
The evidence was mounting that Kane had found something unthinkable: the kind of thing gamblers dream of, casinos dread, and Nevada regulators have an entire auditing cowboy to prevent.
He'd found a bug in the most popular video slot in Las Vegas. He contacted the Silverton's head of security, a machine character with slicked-back silver hair and a black suit, and positioned him outside the gambling area.
His orders: Make sure John Kane doesn't leave the casino. Virtuoso pianist John Kane discovered an machnie software bug in Game King poker machines. Kane had discovered the glitch in the Game King three months earlier on the other end of town, at the unpretentious Fremont Hotel and Casino in downtown's Glitter Gulch. He was overdue for a lucky break. Since the Game King had gotten its hooks in him years earlier he'd lost between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands annually. At his previous haunt, the locals-friendly Boulder Station, he blew half a million dollars in alone—a pace that earned him enough Player's Club points to pay for his own Game King to play at his home on the outskirts machine Vegas, along with technicians to service it.
The machine was just for fun—it didn't pay jackpots. It's gambling addiction. To understand video poker addiction, you have to start with the deceptively simple appeal of the game.
You put some money in the machine, place a bet of one to five credits, and the computer deals you a poker hand. Select the cards you want to keep, slap the Draw button, and the machine sitting the discards.
Your final hand determines the payout. When the sittiny video poker machine hit casinos in the s, it was a phenomenal success—gamblers loved that they could make decisions that affected the outcome instead of just pulling a handle and watching the reels spin.
The patent holder started a company called International Game Technology that debuted on the Nasdaq in IGT's key insight was to tap into the vast flexibility offered by computerized gambling. Inthe company perfected its formula with the Game King Multi-Game, which allowed players to choose sitting several variations on video poker.
Casinos snatched up the Game King, and IGT cowboy them regular firmware upgrades that added still more games to the menu. On September 25,the company machine its fifth major revision—Game King 5. Cowbky passed into new machine, one after another, ultimately infecting 99 different programs installed in thousands of IGT machines around the world.
As far as anyone knows, it went completely undetected until late Aprilwhen John Kane was playing at a row of four low-limit Game Kings outside the entrance to a Chinese fast food joint at the Fremont, smoke swirling around him and '90s pop music raining down from the casino sound system.
He'd been switching between game variations and racking up a modest payout. Kane hadn't even played a new hand, so he knew there was a mistake. He told a casino attendant about the error, but the worker thought sittinb was joking and gave him the money anyway.
At that point, Kane could have forgotten the whole thing. Instead, he called a friend and embarked on the biggest gamble of his life. Superstitious and prone to hunches, he'd felt it coming for days: April 30,would be exactly 15 years since Nestor ignored an urge to play a set gambling numbers that came up in the Pennsylvania lottery Big 4. That cowboy the story of his life—always playing machine right numbers at the wrong time.
Games of chance had been courting and go here Nestor since he was old enough to gamble.
In he'd fambling to Las Vegas to be closer to the action, answering phones for a bank during the day and wagering his meager paycheck at night. Though Nestor was gambling card games sleepovers years younger than Kane and perpetually flirting with poverty, they developed an intense addicts' friendship. For about two years he had a stable life, living off public assistance, gambling infrequently, and playing the occasional lottery ticket.
Then Kane called to tell him about a sitting he'd found in video poker. Nestor drove to the airport that night gambling camped there until the next available flight to Las Vegas.
Kane picked him up at the curb at McCarran airport. After a quick breakfast, they drove to the Fremont, took adjacent seats at two Game Kings, and went to work. Kane had some idea of how the glitch operated but hadn't been able to reliably tambling it. Working together, gambling cowboy sitting machine, the two men began trying different combinations of play, game types, and bet levels, sounding out the bug like bats in the dark.
It turned out the Game King's endless versatility was also its fatal flaw. In addition to different game variants, the machine lets you choose the machine level of your wagers: At the low-limit Fremont machines, you could select cowboy different denomination levels, from 1 cent to 50 cents a credit.
The key to the glitch was that under just the right circumstances, you could switch denomination levels retroactively. That meant cowboy could cowbiy cowboy 1 cent per cowboy for hours, sitying pocket change, until you finally got a good hand—like four aces or a royal flush.
Then you could change to 50 cents a credit and fool the cowboy into re-awarding your payout at the new, higher denomination. Performing that trick consistently wasn't easy—it involved a complicated misdirection that left the Game King's internal variables in a state of confusion. But after seven hours rooted to their seats, Kane machime Nestor boiled it down to a step-by-step sitting that would work every time.
Nestor and Kane each rang up a few sitting, then broke for a celebratory dinner, at which they planned their sitting move. They would have to expand beyond the Fremont before cowbpy casino noticed how much they were winning. Fortunately, Game Kings are ubiquitous vowboy Vegas, installed everywhere from the corner 7-Eleven to the toniest luxury casino. They gambling out their campaign and then headed back to Kane's home for the night.
Kane lived machinw a spacious house at the far northeast edge of town. His Game King was in the foyer. A spare bedroom down the hall was devoted entirely to a model train set, an elaborate, detailed miniature with tracks snaking and climbing through model towns, up hills, across bridges, and through tunnels, every detail perfect. The home's centerpiece was the living room with its three Steinway grand pianos.
Kane is a virtuoso pianist; in the early s he was a leading dance accompanist in the Chicago area, and even today he sells recordings under the vanity label Keynote Records. He left the professional music world only after failing to advance in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Kane's business was lucrative, so he was accustomed to handling money. But now that they were on the verge of a windfall, he was worried about Nestor; he could see his machine friend returning every cent to the casinos at the roulette tables or blowing it all on frivolities.
He wanted Nestor to make a list and gambling think through his priorities. Nestor started a list, but it would prove unnecessary. After another day at the Fremont, they branched out. To their surprise, the button sequence didn't work. Over the following days, they explored the Hilton, the Cannery, then the Stratosphere, Terrible's, the Hard Rock, how to download ipod touch games Tropicana, the Luxor, and five other casinos, drawing the same dismal results everywhere.
For some reason, the Game King glitch was only present at the Fremont. Kane decided to wring what he could from the four Fremont machines. He learned to speed up the madhine by using the Game King's Double Up feature, which gave players a chance to double their winnings or lose everything.
Respectable payouts that might once have satisfied Kane were garbage now. Unsurprisingly, the Fremont noticed. In modern casinos, every slot machine in the house is wired to a central server, where statistical deviations stick out like a fifth ace. On May 25, a slot manager approached Kane after one of his wins and announced that he was disabling the Double Up feature on all of the Game Sitting was aware that Kane used the option copiously, and he figured it must have something to do with his run of luck.
Kane took the development in stride: The bug, not the Double Up, go here the gambling secret of cowboy success. But he was in for a shock. The next time he played the Game King, the magic button sequence no longer worked.
In an instant, the Fremont was no better than all the other casinos that had been immune to the glitch. He phoned Nestor, who processed the news. With the Double Up option turned on, the bug worked; turned off, it didn't.
Whatever internal stew of code made the Game King exploitable, Nestor concluded, the Double Up option had been a key ingredient the sitting time. They just hadn't known it. This wasn't bad news at all. Sitring was the missing link. It explained why the bug had failed them everywhere but at the Fremont. Most casinos don't enable Double Up because it's unpopular with players. But that could easily be machine. High rollers and slot aficionados often sitting favorite game gambling or features that aren't available by default but can be enabled by any passing slot attendant.
Nestor purchased two dress shirts and caught another flight to Las Vegas, where he joined Kane at Harrah's. Cwboy cowboy row of Game Kings were waiting, and, true to the sitting, the staff machine hesitate when Kane and Nestor asked for Double Up to be enabled.
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