Tommy Carmichael is probably the most notorious slot machine cheat. Allegedly he stole millions of dollars from worldwide casinos.
Tommy Carmichael – Slot Machine Cheat
Technically we could call Tommy a thief but he was only playing the slot machines in a novel way. So, we call him a slot machine cheat, read on and see what you think.
His career spanned several decades. He was a genius at working out how to beat the slot machines with mechanical and electronic devices. In total, he only spent six years in prison. After his initial 5 year stretch in the early 80’s he returned to the casinos with a vengeance. He then did another one year term in 2000, after he was caught cheating on CCTV.
No one really knows how much money Tommy made during his career. However he did admit to earning 1000 dollars an hour. That gave him the opportunity to earn a massive amount of money. It would have been many millions of dollars.
As a result of his successful career he is now banned from most casinos on the planet.
How it all began for Tommy Carmichael
Tommy was baby boomer and grew up in the mid 50’s, a time when technology began blazing a trail. He was always interested in how things worked. When he found his feet he opened a TV sales and repair shop in Oklahoma where he lived. His repair shop being the first of its kind in Tulsa, soon became successful but it was not long before rival outlets sprang up all over the place. He was forced to close his business, partly due to his personal circumstances.
By that time Tommy was going through a third divorce. He was also forced into community service after his earlier convictions for drug possession. He got lucky when his old high school friend. Ray Ming turned up and showed something which was about to change his life.
Ray Ming had bought a slot machine with him together with something which became known as the top and bottom joint. It was a piece of coiled wire which could be used to simulate a coin dropping into the slot of the gaming machine. After studying the mechanics of the slot machine and some practice, Tommy had mastered the art of cheating the slot machine with the top-bottom joint. He then ventured out into a Las Vegas casino to start his new career.
Round one as slot machine cheat
Since it was his first time as Tommy decided to try out the top-bottom joint on some nickel machines. He won 35$ in just a few minutes. As his confidence grew he worked over other casinos in Las Vegas and won ten thousand dollars in one weekend.
Not surprisingly the suspicions of the casinos was aroused, after all by this time he was winning ten thousand dollars a day. His solution was to withdraw himself from live cheating and sell his device to gamblers who had the guts to use them. He was selling them for ten thousand dollars but of course the punters would get their money back in a day. Tommy continued to make money, his device only cost him a few cents and several minutes of his time. His device was in big demand.
One day Tommy stopped at a coffee shop and was arrested with a top-bottom hook in his pocket. Despite claiming the device was for starting his car he was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years. Remember he already had a criminal record for drugs offences so, they were hard on him.
While he was in prison Tommy met Mike Balsamo and they spoke about building up a group of slot machine cheaters in the form of a syndicate. That did not happen because by the time they were released new technology had prevented Tommy using his old tools of the trade. The new machines were electronic with video screens and random number generators. It was back to scratch again as a video slot machine cheat.
Round two as a slot machine cheat
Tommy Carmichael went straight and got a couple of jobs, after a while he returned to Las Vegas and bought a modern slot machine. After six months he had invented a device which was later called the monkey paw. The purpose was to insert through the payout chute to trigger a micro switch. The micro switch when triggered enabled a large payout, with quarters it could earn 1000 dollars and hour.
Technology of slot machines was always moving on and using the monkey paw was no longer possible. So, Tommy bought a new machine and set about trying to defeat it. He was successful, his next device, known as the light wand was able to trick a light sensor and trigger a large payout.
Again, Tommy started selling the devices to other would be casino cheat (s). He still cheated slot machine in live casino all over the US. By this time he had teamed with his old pal Balsamo and they ventured on seven cruises earning thousands of dollars a day cheating the on board casino slots.
After that spree they masterminded their earlier plan and recruited other cheats to expand the scam. This lead to them earning millions more dollars.
Tommy was not able to let go of his passion for cheating. He was scamming a slot machine in Las Vegas, blissfully unaware that he was being watched on CCTV. He was arrested but the charges were later dropped. In 2000 he was arrested and charged again. This time he was prosecuted and ended up serving a further year in prison, additionally with 3 years of probation. During his subsequent probation he was ordered not to visit any casinos.
Tommy Carmichael is no longer a casino cheat. He is now a reformed character, he set up a new business working at beating cheating devices.
Read more about casino scams.
Other Gambling Scams which involved criminal activity
The Roselli Brothers who conned the banks and casinos out of 37 million dollars during the 1990’s.
Louis Colavecchio who became an expert forger of casino tokens. He went to prison for seven years and then tried again.
Bill Brennan a casino employee who apparently walked out of a casino at the end of his shift with half a million dollars in casino chips and cash.
Dennis Nikrasch a slot machine cheat who reportedly won more than 15 million dollars over time.
Monique Laurent a Roulette cheat who worked with her brother to electronically control the outcome of the spin.
Ida Summers a casino worker who learned to re-arrange the cards so that the punters won.
Richard Marcus who won hundreds of thousands of dollars by manipulating casino chips.
Ronald Dale Harris and Reid NcNeil who learned to cheat the the gaming machine software.
A Blackjack card counting scam which enabled a group of students to win millions of dollars from US casinos.
A card cheating mobile phone which can scan and read a deck of cards, discovered by Google.