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Video poker is the best-kept secret in the casino, and many patrons are happy to pass it by once they realize that it's not a slot machine. However, veteran.


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But the vast majority sit at the slot machines. Slots and video poker have become the lifeblood of the American casino. They generate nearly 70 percent of casino.


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Today, more than 30, video slot and poker machines operate outside casinos here, more than any other state in the country. The machines.


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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.


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Video Poker Machine and How They Differ From Online Casinos. Video poker machines provide an excellent opportunity for casino visitors to play a game that​.


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Video Poker Machine and How They Differ From Online Casinos. Video poker machines provide an excellent opportunity for casino visitors to play a game that​.


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When the first 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. 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. 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.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}Michael Friberg. With the Double Up option turned on, the bug worked; turned off, it didn't. It passed into new revisions, one after another, ultimately infecting 99 different programs installed in thousands of IGT machines around the world. After another day at the Fremont, they branched out. Select the cards you want to keep, slap the Draw button, and the machine replaces the discards. Nestor purchased two dress shirts and caught another flight to Las Vegas, where he joined Kane at Harrah's. Respectable payouts that might once have satisfied Kane were garbage now. 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. Nestor drove to the airport that night and camped there until the next available flight to Las Vegas. Unsurprisingly, the Fremont noticed. His orders: Make sure John Kane doesn't leave the casino. But that could easily be changed. Since the Game King had gotten its hooks in him years earlier he'd lost between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands annually. But he was in for a shock. Your final hand determines the payout. As far as anyone knows, it went completely undetected until late April , when 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. It explained why the bug had failed them everywhere but at the Fremont. 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. This wasn't bad news at all. They would have to expand beyond the Fremont before the casino noticed how much they were winning. He told a casino attendant about the error, but the worker thought he was joking and gave him the money anyway. Williams called over the executive in charge of the Silverton's slots, and they reviewed the surveillance tape together. They mapped out their campaign and then headed back to Kane's home for the night. Over the following days, they explored the Hilton, the Cannery, then the Stratosphere, Terrible's, the Hard Rock, the Tropicana, the Luxor, and five other casinos, drawing the same dismal results everywhere. It's an addiction. His Game King was in the foyer. Nestor and Kane each rang up a few jackpots, then broke for a celebratory dinner, at which they planned their next move. He phoned Nestor, who processed the news. Then you could change to 50 cents a credit and fool the machine into re-awarding your payout at the new, higher denomination. The next time he played the Game King, the magic button sequence no longer worked. He left the professional music world only after failing to advance in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. In he'd moved to Las Vegas to be closer to the action, answering phones for a bank during the day and wagering his meager paycheck at night. Tall, with a high brow and an aquiline nose, the year-old Kane had the patrician bearing of a man better suited to playing a Mozart piano concerto than listening to the chirping of a slot machine. 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. The machine was just for fun—it didn't pay jackpots. 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. On September 25, , the company released its fifth major revision—Game King 5. Williams could see that Kane was wielding none of the array of cheating devices that casinos had confiscated from grifters over the years. Then Kane called to tell him about a bug he'd found in video poker. In an instant, the Fremont was no better than all the other casinos that had been immune to the glitch. 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 a credit. He'd found a bug in the most popular video slot in Las Vegas. Games of chance had been courting and betraying Nestor since he was old enough to gamble. Kane lived in a spacious house at the far northeast edge of town. To understand video poker addiction, you have to start with the deceptively simple appeal of the game. For about two years he had a stable life, living off public assistance, gambling infrequently, and playing the occasional lottery ticket. They just hadn't known it. Nestor started a list, but it would prove unnecessary. 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. Instead, he called a friend and embarked on the biggest gamble of his life. Now Williams knew something was wrong: The cards dealt on the screen were the exact same four deuces and four of clubs that yielded Kane's previous jackpot. Most casinos don't enable Double Up because it's unpopular with players. He wanted Nestor to make a list and really think through his priorities. To their surprise, the button sequence didn't work. Virtuoso pianist John Kane discovered an exploitable software bug in Game King poker machines. In , the company perfected its formula with the Game King Multi-Game, which allowed players to choose from several variations on video poker. He'd been switching between game variations and racking up a modest payout. In modern casinos, every slot machine in the house is wired to a central server, where statistical deviations stick out like a fifth ace. 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 of Vegas, along with technicians to service it. 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 Kings—he was aware that Kane used the option copiously, and he figured it must have something to do with his run of luck. The key to the glitch was that under just the right circumstances, you could switch denomination levels retroactively. 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. All the while, the casino's director of surveillance, Charles Williams, was peering down at Kane through a camera hidden in a ceiling dome. At that point, Kane could have forgotten the whole thing. John Kane was on a hell of a winning streak. That was the story of his life—always playing the right numbers at the wrong time. Kane hadn't even played a new hand, so he knew there was a mistake. Whatever internal stew of code made the Game King exploitable, Nestor concluded, the Double Up option had been a key ingredient the whole time. You put some money in the machine, place a bet of one to five credits, and the computer deals you a poker hand. He was overdue for a lucky break. Fortunately, Game Kings are ubiquitous in Vegas, installed everywhere from the corner 7-Eleven to the toniest luxury casino. 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 in the dark. 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. But he was winning far too much, too fast, to be relying on luck alone. Though Nestor was 13 years younger than Kane and perpetually flirting with poverty, they developed an intense addicts' friendship. Kane decided to wring what he could from the four Fremont machines. 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 the casinos at the roulette tables or blowing it all on frivolities. 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. He was simply pressing the buttons. 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 of numbers that came up in the Pennsylvania lottery Big 4. It turned out the Game King's endless versatility was also its fatal flaw. 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. 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. It was the missing link. The odds against that were astronomical. Kane's business was lucrative, so he was accustomed to handling money. 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. For some reason, the Game King glitch was only present at the Fremont. Kane took the development in stride: The bug, not the Double Up, was the real secret of his success. Casinos snatched up the Game King, and IGT sold them regular firmware upgrades that added still more games to the menu. That meant 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 royal flush. He learned to speed up the process by using the Game King's Double Up feature, which gave players a chance to double their winnings or lose everything.