Casino games are popular for a few reasons. They are a lot of fun, easy to learn for the most part, and the buzz of winning is a great feeling. The most appealing aspect, though, is almost certainly the fact that it is possible for anyone to win big. You don't necessarily need to be a skilled player; you just need a bit of luck on your side at the right time.
Most players are patient enough to keep playing in the hope that they will eventually get their share of good fortune. Some, however, are not. For as long as casinos have existed, there have been people trying to find ways to cheat them. Over the years there have been many reported cases of casino cheats, and there are almost certainly plenty more cheats who have never been caught.
In this new series of articles on GamblingSitesOnline we are going to write about some of the most famous casino cheats throughout history. We're starting with a guy called Dennis Nikrasch, who found a way to cheat slot machines.
Dennis Nikrasch was born in 1941. Also known as Dennis McAndrew, he has been labeled as the greatest slot machine cheater of all time. He was behind several cheating rings that operated mainly in Nevada and Atlantic City, and was so prolific that the Nevada Gaming Control Board stated he was a threat to the whole slot machine industry.
Although there has been a lot written about Nikrasch, there aren't too many solid facts. There has been plenty of speculation, but very little is known for sure. What is known is that he began his working life as a locksmith in Chicago. After mastering his trade, he realized he could break into any lock he wanted to. This ultimately set him on a path that saw him sent to prison on more than one occasion.
It's believed that Nikrasch's skills as a locksmith attracted the attention of a notorious crime family in Chicago, and that he was recruited to help them in various criminal activities. It is not known for sure exactly what activities he engaged in, but he was arrested in 1961 and sentenced to several years in prison.
When he got out, Nikrasch decided to turn his skills to cheating slot machines in Las Vegas. The machines of that time were mechanical devices, and he was able to use his expertise to break into them and manipulate them into paying out jackpots. After several years of doing this, during which time he made millions of dollars, he was caught. In 1968, he was sentenced to another five years in prison.
After his second release from prison, Nikrasch found that slot machines were very different. The mechanical machines had mostly been replaced by electronic devices, and they were largely considered to be tamper proof. Nikrasch was not deterred though, and he set about finding new ways to cheat the modern machines.
Sure enough, he devised a new plan. His exact methods are not known, but they involved using high-tech tools to break into the machines without leaving any trace. He would then once again manipulate them into paying out jackpots. Of course, by this time surveillance was everywhere in most casinos. Nikrasch managed to avoid being spotted though, probably by using members of his team to somehow hide his actions from the cameras and security personnel.
In 1998, Nikrasch was once again arrested. It is not known for exactly how long he had been getting away with his latest cheating activities, or how profitable he was, but it would be no surprise if he had made many millions. The rumors are that his demise came about because he was set up by one of his team members, possibly due to a grievance of some kind. It has also been said that the team member who set him up did so in return for reduced punishment on an unrelated crime.
Whatever the exact details, Nikrasch was to spend several more years in jail. It is believed that he gave up details of his methods in exchange for a lesser sentence. He was released in 2004, but there was to be no return to his cheating ways as he had been banned from casinos for life. He passed away in 2010.