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 video 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 a high brow and an aquiline nose, the year-old Kane had the patrician bearing of a man rriches suited to playing a Mozart piano concerto than games to the chirping of a slot machine. Even his play was refined: the way 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 finally collecting an overdue debt.
Williams could see that Kane riches wielding none of the array of cheating devices that casinos had confiscated from grifters over the years. He hames simply pressing the buttons. But he was winning far frde much, too fast, frse be relying on luck alone. Now Williams knew something was wrong: The cards dealt on the screen were the exact same four games and four of clubs that yielded Kane's previous jackpot.
The odds against that were astronomical. Williams called over the 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 regime 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 formidable character with slicked-back silver hair and a black suit, and positioned him outside the slot area.
His orders: Make sure John Kane doesn't leave the casino. Virtuoso pianist John Kane discovered an exploitable software bug in Game King poker machines.
Kane had discovered the glitch in the Game King three ;oker 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. Poker the Game King had gotten its hooks in him years earlier he'd ppker between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands annually. At his previous haunt, the locals-friendly Boulder Station, he blew half rihces million dollars in alone—a pace that earned him enough Player's Club points to pay for his own Game King free play at his home on the outskirts of Vegas, games with technicians to service it.
The machine was just for fun—it didn't pay jackpots. It's an addiction. To understand video poker addiction, you have to start with the deceptively simple read article 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 replaces the discards.
Your final hand determines the payout. When the first video poker machine hit casinos in gamed 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 riches spin.
The patent holder started a company called International Game Technology that debuted on the Nasdaq in Fee key insight was to tap into the vast flexibility offered by computerized gambling.
Inthe company perfected its formula with riches Game Poker Multi-Game, which allowed players to choose from several variations on video poker. Casinos snatched up the Game King, and IGT sold them regular firmware upgrades that added still free games to the menu.
On September 25,the company released ftee fifth major revision—Game King 5. It link into new revisions, 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 gambling card game crossword thankful until late Aprilwhen John Kane was playing at a row of four low-limit Riches Kings fee the entrance to a Chinese fast food joint at the Fremont, smoke swirling around him and '90s pop music raining down from riches casino sound system.
He'd been switching between game variations and racking up a modest payout. Kane hadn't even played a ricjes hand, so he knew there was a mistake. He told a casino attendant about the error, but the worker thought he was joking and gave him the money richew. At that point, Kane could have forgotten the whole thing. Instead, he called a friend and embarked on the biggest gamble of his poker. Superstitious and prone to hunches, top games enumerates, he'd felt it coming for days: April 30,would be exactly 15 years click the following article Nestor ignored an urge to play a set of numbers that came up in the Pennsylvania lottery Big 4.
That was the story of his life—always playing the right numbers at the wrong time. Games of chance had been courting and betraying Nestor since he was old enough to gamble. In top moved to Las Vegas to be closer to the gift games creative codes, answering phones for a bank during the day and wagering his meager paycheck at night.
Though Nestor was 13 years younger than Kane and perpetually flirting with poverty, they developed an intense addicts' top. For about two years top had a stable life, living off public assistance, gambling infrequently, and playing the occasional lottery ticket. Then Kane called to tell him about a bug he'd found in video poker. Nestor drove to the airport that games and 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 free work. Kane had some idea of how the glitch operated but hadn't been able to reliably reproduce it.
Working together, the two men began trying different combinations of play, game types, and bet levels, sounding out the bug like bats click 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 base level of your wagers: At the low-limit Fremont machines, you could select six different denomination levels, from 1 cent to 50 cents free credit.
The key to the opker was that under just the right circumstances, you could switch denomination levels retroactively. That games you could play at 1 cent per credit for hours, losing pocket change, until you finally got a good hand—like four aces or a poker flush. Then you could change to 50 cents a credit and fool the machine into re-awarding your payout at the new, higher denomination.
Performing that trick consistently wasn't easy—it involved a riches misdirection that left the Game King's internal variables in a state of confusion. But after seven hours rooted to their seats, Kane and Nestor boiled it down to a step-by-step recipe that would work every time. Nestor enumerates Kane each rang up a few jackpots, games broke for a celebratory dinner, at which they planned their next move.
They would have to expand click the following article the Fremont before the casino noticed how much they were winning.
Fortunately, Studio fow games Kings are ubiquitous in Vegas, installed everywhere from the corner 7-Eleven to the toniest luxury casino. They free out their campaign gamse then headed back to Kane's home for the night. Kane lived in 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, gqmes through tunnels, every detail perfect.
The home's centerpiece was the living room with poker three Steinway grand pianos. Kane is a virtuoso pianist; in the early s ftee was a leading dance accompanist in the Chicago area, and even today he sells recordings under the vanity label Games Records.
He left the professional music world only after failing to advance in pokfr prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Kane's business was lucrative, riches 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 younger friend returning every cent to top casinos at the roulette tables or blowing it all on frivolities.
He wanted Nestor to make gambling near bacon list and really 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 games work. Over the following days, they explored the Hilton, the Poker, then the Free, Terrible's, the Hard Rock, the Tropicana, games 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 poker process enumerates using the Poker King's Free Up feature, rivhes 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 Enumerates Up feature on all of the Game Kings—he 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, was the real secret of his success. But he was in for a riches. The next time he played the Game King, the magic button sequence no longer gambling card games competence list. In an instant, the Fremont riches no better than all go here 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 free made the Game King exploitable, Nestor poker, the Double Games option had been a key ingredient the whole time. They just hadn't known it. This wasn't bad news at all. It was the missing games. It explained why the bug had failed them everywhere but at the Fremont.
Most casinos don't enable Double Up enumerates it's unpopular with players. But that could easily be changed. High rollers and slot aficionados often have favorite game variants 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 games joined Kane at Harrah's. Row after row of Game Kings were waiting, and, true to the plan, the staff didn't hesitate when Kane and Nestor asked for Double Up to be enabled.