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Game King: The story of how two men beat video poker at its own game

Kane and Nestor two ordinary guys managed to create a system in which the house would never win on video poker getting massive jackpots. Vegas though made them pay, as they say “The house always wins”.

John Kane is an impressive man, eloquent, good looking, charming and with elegant long fingers that let people know about his profession before he tells them that he is a pianist. The man loves his gambling and if you go by his defense attorney, the person who is addicted to gambling and has spent more time on gambling than anyone else in the United States. The guy has a penchant for gambling, it nearly cost him half a million dollars in just one year alone. It got him enough points to get a Game King machine installed in the basement, only difference with other machines being the fact that it did not give out money.

Andre Nestor is different from John, a bit brash and definitely not as blessed as Kane, his life revolved around failure and gut feelings. The greatest regret he had in his life being the fact once he had picked up a lottery winning number; only to not buy it and deciding to buy the ticket at a later time. He lived his life on paltry benefit checks, though he could sense that his big break in life was just around the corner. Nestor’s superstitious nature and belief in omens was not a characteristic that Kane shared, in fact other than gambling, there was nothing much common between the two gentlemen. They had met in a chat room, as fate would have it, the friendship blossomed over time, deeply different people, and they managed to stick together.

What made Kane call Nestor was a startling discovery, a lucky break he thought that needed more careful study. For years both men had lost enough money of Video Poker machines and maybe it was fates way of answering there calls back. The idea was simple, yet the odds of the event happening were almost zero. So much so, that the bug had remained in the Game King ROMS for seven years and not a single person had ever found it out. Imagine the number of times in Vegas alone where the machines were used and see how rare the knowledge and combination is. For Nestor, it was a life time opportunity, the moment he got the call from Kane; he rushed to Vegas, waiting overnight at the airport hoping to catch the first plane possible. Nestor knew even before hearing what it was about that this is going to be his break.
What Kane had discovered was a bug that would ensure that the house would never win. He had found it away from the famous Casinos in the big town, the principle was simple, and the flexibility and options provided by the machine had made the machine vulnerable where you least expected it to be. The many modes available in the machine made if easier for a player to keep playing in small denominations until you win a hand, once you did that you could move to a higher denomination, use the double up option and get a quadrupled jackpot. It was not easy to get to the right combination in the start though, they knew that it worked, after all it was an experimental discovery and Kane did tell about it to the cashier when he went for his cash payment. He laughed at him and Kane knew that no one was aware of the bug other than him.

The search was futile in the start, other than one Game King Device at Fremont Hotel; their formula did not work anywhere else. Their constant winnings made the people at the Hotel suspicious; they had been vigilantly monitoring the two guys who won consistently. The key option of “double up” was one day removed from machine that they were using to win continuously. It was a blessing in a way, the final jigsaw piece had been solved, it was not the machines at different places that had a different behavior, it was the option of double up that resulted for some reason in turning on the bug. With a little persuasion, they could now work their formula anywhere in Vegas and elsewhere, all they needed was to ask the casino attendant to enable the option. Most of the attendants would happily oblige making them activate their carefully practiced routine and in-turn having massive winnings.

What followed next was something straight from a Hollywood blockbuster. The access to instant riches did create a rift among the friends. Nestor had not seen such riches in a long time, now he felt that paying out half his winnings to Kane was unjust and after IRS would swoop in, it will leave him with nothing much. That created in a break-up where both men went their separate ways. Casino managers were on the lookout, no one could win so consistently and a specific gambling related task force was hot on their trail. Permutations were being carried out in the lab while Kane and Nestor were making money on their own, one in vengeance, the other in need.

Their routine was finally unlocked by John Lastusky, a young agent from Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Technology Division who had finally cracked the code. The two men were apprehended, lengthy court trial ensued where the prosecutors had to eventually drop the more serious charges ultimate settling on for unlawful cheating. Kane and Nestor have not met in years with each other now, probably the biggest regret that both of them have. Kane has started to work more while Nestor now spends his free time playing Candy Crush, his new addiction. The silver lining is both men are barred from Casino’s

No matter how lucky you get, no matter how smart you are, the house always wins, it always does

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