In an expected turn of events, Las Vegas prosecutors dropped all hacking charges against a pair of gamblers who took advantage of a software glitch in a video slot machine to win up to $400,000. The glitch allowed the defendants, who still face a charge of wire fraud, to play back a previous winning hand and earn ten times the earnings (for example, a pair of jacks that won $.50 could automatically be played in the following hand for $5.00). While the defendants may have knowingly taken advantage of the software glitch, they in no know engineered or programmed it, and were only playing by the machine’s own (albeit flawed) rules.
Video poker machines were introduced to casinos in the late 1970s and heave increasingly grown in popularity ever since. While an easy $400,000 jackpot may not be in the future for all video poker players, these machines rank among the most popular and highest paying machines in casinos across the country. Opposed to slot machines, which only require the player to pull a lever and hope for the best, video poker machines encourage players to use odds and statistics to predict when to fold, when to stay and when to draw new cards. A smart player employing optimal strategy will often see a return near, at or even beyond 100%.
Such profitable machines are always a risk for casinos, but research shows that very few players employ optimal strategy, and those who do rarely stick around long enough to profit. Most surprisingly, many players do not even register a difference between video poker and video slot games. While the defective machines have been removed and reviewed by manufacturers, video poker continues to offer a diverse catalogue of games that will appeal to any casino patron.