In 2009 John Kane found a vulnerability in video poker machines that would allow him to cash out winning hands at a much higher bet amount than he actually wagered. Since it was determined that he was simply pressing buttons that he was allowed to press, he was able to keep the money.

United States v. Kane

United States v. Kane, No 11-mj-00001 (D. Nev. filed Jan. 19, 2011), is a court case where a software bug in a video poker machine was exploited to win several hundred thousand dollars. Central to the case was whether a video poker machine constituted a protected computer and whether the exploitation of a software bug constituted exceeding authorized access under Title 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Ultimately, the Court ruled that the government’s argument failed to sufficiently meet the “exceeding authorized access” requirement of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4) moving to approve the Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss.

This case is noteworthy because it followed the precedent established by the Ninth Circu… Continue Reading (6 minute read)

5 thoughts on “In 2009 John Kane found a vulnerability in video poker machines that would allow him to cash out winning hands at a much higher bet amount than he actually wagered. Since it was determined that he was simply pressing buttons that he was allowed to press, he was able to keep the money.”

  1. david-saint-hubbins

    In case anyone, like me, is interested in how the vulnerability worked, this story was covered by [the podcast Darknet Diaries, episode 18: Jackpot](https://darknetdiaries.com/transcript/18/):

    >The exploit worked like this; step one, find a Game King video poker machine that allowed different betting levels. Step two, ask the slot attendant to enable the Double Up option and be polite and courteous as they make the changes. Step three, add money to the machine and select the lowest bet level you can. Step four, play with the lowest bet level until you win a big hand, say four of a kind or a royal flush. Step five, when the royal flush is showing on the screen, don’t cash out. Instead, hit the More Games button and select a different game variant. Play it until you win there, any win. This sets up the Double Up option.

    >Now your next win will be double than normal. Step six, add more money to the machine. Step seven, touch the More Games button again. Now select Maximum Bet Level and go back to the game variant you hit the royal flush on. Step eight, hit he Cash Out button and bingo. Jackpot. You win up to ten times more than what your original royal flush had awarded you.

  2. Habanero_Eyeball

    You know what – good for these guys cuz fuck casinos. The odds are always in their favor unless someone figures out a glitch and then they get pissed. Fuck that.

    > Suspicions were raised on July 3, 2009, when Kane won five jackpots, each with 820-1 odds, in under an hour at the Silverton Casino Lodge.

    Ok – haha fuck man come on. You could have milked the shit out of this vulnerability for years but no, you had to go and get greedy.

  3. mailslot

    Every time I see something like this, I’m reminded of a guy that won big at keno. He noticed that the numbers on the TV were the same each day. The cleaning lady would unplug the keno sever to plug in the vacuum cleaner, resetting the game. Bad “random” number generator.

  4. bjb406

    I’m really upset a prosecutor even took the case! It is not illegal to gamble when the odds favor you. That’s the only time you should gamble. If the casino mistakenly gives you favorable odds, its their own damn fault! In an industry where literally the only risk to their profits is their own incompetence, they don’t need any coddling.

  5. _PukyLover_

    Dude got stupid greedy, he was found out when kept hitting big jackpots on the same session. He could have spent the next two years hitting one jackpot a week.

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