Tommy Glenn Carmichael: One of History’s Biggest Casino Cheats

Tommy Glenn Carmichael: One of History's Biggest Casino CheatsImage by on Freepik

Tommy Glenn Carmichael probably spent 40 years using slot machine manipulation to defraud Las Vegas casinos. Having begun out in the tv repair industry, he found it simple to manipulate slot machine mechanics.

Tommy managed to develop a variety of sophisticated cheating tools that would guarantee him immediate victories.

Tommy had to consciously change his methods as time and technology changed to account for those changes. He even worked with other cheats to form a group of fraudsters that cost Las Vegas casinos huge amounts of money in losses.

Naturally, Tommy’s luck ran out, and he received a prison term for his crimes. Carmichael discussed how his stint in jail affected his life in an interview with USA Today.

How It All Began

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was born in the 1950s when technology was developing swiftly. Even as a young child, Tommy was intrigued by the hows and whys of technology, which is possibly why he decided to open a television supply and repair shop in the 1980s.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, he had a store called “Ace TV Sales and Service.” Since Tommy’s company was truly revolutionary in Tulsa, it was an immediate success. However, as more businesses of the same type appeared, Tommy soon realized that he was losing too much money to survive.

His third divorce was about to be finalized since his business was going out of business. In addition, Tommy was doing community service hours for prior narcotics possession violations. He could see his life crumbling in front of him, but he was committed to putting things right.

Ray Ming, a friend from high school, arrived to turn the situation around.

He was 100 percent right. The trunk had a small slot machine and a top-bottom joint, a common cheating device.

To better comprehend how to use the top-bottom joint to his advantage, Carmichael dismantled the slot machine and started learning its mechanics. After several hours of practice, Tommy was finally prepared to put his new strategies to the test in a Las Vegas casino.

Tommy decided to utilize this strategy for the first time on one of the nickel machines and won $35 in a short period. Later, he switched to other devices in several Las Vegas casinos, where he eventually won about $10,000 in a single weekend.

Being caught for the first time

Over the following few years, Tommy Glenn Carmichael amassed thousands of dollars from casinos on the Las Vegas Strip using similar strategies. Casinos started to update their equipment with the most latest technology as they grew more aware of cheaters’ devices like Tommy’s. Now, slot machines used RNGs or random number generators.

Tommy was compelled to spend more time at less upscale casinos since they could not afford to use this advanced technology, but it also made it much simpler for him to be discovered. Unbeknownst to Tommy, the police had been following him for almost a week and were well aware of his cunning.

Tommy attempted to maintain his innocence, but the top-bottom joint was found in his coat pocket.

Because Tommy Glenn Carmichael was still under probation for narcotics possession, he was given a five-year prison term. In prison, Tommy met Michael Balsamo, who was also serving time for the same offenses.

In their spare time, they planned how they could cooperate to overthrow the casinos after they were let go. When that day finally came, the two men, however, discovered that further advancements in slot machine technology had rendered their earlier plans outdated.

Nevada’s Black Book No. 4: Tommy Glenn Carmichael

Nevada's Black Book No. 4: Tommy Glenn Carmichael

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Tommy Glenn Carmichael is a legendary casino cheater who used slot machine hacking to defraud millions of dollars from hundreds of sites around the globe. Carmichael oversaw a gang that created its tools, such as the “light wand” and “monkey paw,” which he employed for two decades to rig slot machines. Carmichael and a companion, Joseph Mike Balsamo, were entered into the Nevada Black Book in 2003 after being found guilty of their crimes.

The Top and Bottom Joints

In 1980, Carmichael first became aware of slot machine fraud when a buddy demonstrated the “top and bottom joint,” a novel but successful method for tripping a slot machine’s payment mechanism. He tried it out right away and succeeded, which completely altered the path of his life for the next 20 years.

Casino staff alerted law enforcement after a weekend-long undefeated streak, and Carmichael was caught and sentenced to five years in jail for his escapades, in part because of his drug convictions and other misdemeanors. While both were incarcerated, Carmichael and Balsamo became close, and after their release from custody, the two resolved to continue their war on slot machines.

Prison to Millions Every Day

After being released from prison, Carmichael used his savings to buy a gambling machine. He then spent the following 18 months creating The Monkey Paw, a piece of steel guitar wire that made slot machines affected by it pay out more than $1,000 per hour. But as technology developed swiftly, Carmichael was forced to adapt. He purchased a brand-new slot machine and discovered a fresh way to hack it. This time, The Light Wand—a tiny, potent bulb that blinded the chute’s sensor and made it pay out—took him just a few days to construct. With Balsamo by his side, Carmichael cheated his way across Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and the Caribbean after selling the device to other would-be cheaters. As the gang grew, it made millions of dollars in daily “earnings.”

Detention and Arrest (Again)

After inserting the light wand into a slot machine chute in a Las Vegas casino, Carmichael was captured in 1996. Although these claims were disproved, he was now under surveillance, and thanks to improvements in CCTV, it wasn’t long until he was found. Due to his cooperation, his sentence for his numerous offenses was reduced to less than a year in prison in 2000. Despite his apparent efforts to change his ways, he was included in the Nevada Gaming Commission Black Book in February 2003. Balsamo was put in place four years prior.

Then-Nevada Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Carvalho claimed that Carmichael’s most well-known technology, intended to prevent slot machine cheating, “may be easily transformed into a cheating device.” examples include spots and leopards.

Light Wand Slot Machine, an invention of Tommy Glenn Carmichael

Light Wand Slot Machine, an invention of Tommy Glenn Carmichael

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Sweepstakes slots use cheat codes much like any other casino or betting game. The ‘light wand’ is another invention of Tommy Carmichael. Like many of his inventions, the device had a rudimentary design but was highly effective. This is a tiny flashlight that is wired to a computer. Tommy made use of it to enter slot machines that ran on optical sensor technology. According to casino cheating lore, Tommy Glenn Carmichael invented the light wand slot machine and video poker cheat.

Similar to a monkey wire, a light wand supposedly operated on apparatus created to thwart the monkey wire scam. Tiny cables with a battery-operated bulb at one end are called light wands.

It was created by Tommy Glenn Carmichael, among the most talented slot machine cheaters. Up until this point, many players have looked for this equipment to get their hands on lucrative slot machine games like Latest Poker Bonuses.

Usage objectives

Typically, a light wand is used in slot machines. In general, players use all tangible winning objects to fool the slot machine’s mechanics and get it to stop recording the necessary payouts. All winning strategies and techniques are known to be incredibly challenging to execute, whether players turn to keeping the slots open or merely blinding them to prevent them from sensing the required number of coins being inserted. Most of these devices, including sabotage, light wands, and money frauds, need teamwork rather than individual participation.

The Construct

The light wand was designed by Tommy Glenn Carmichael. The essential working principle is comparable to the monkey wires. The light wand’s intended use as a backup for the monkey wire’s failure is the only distinction. The primary characteristics of the device were it’s compact and lightweight, as well as its little light, wire, and battery.

The operation of a light wand

The slot device is known to use a specific optical system created for accurately counting the coins once they are entered into the slot machine if the winning combo is matched. The light wand must be placed such that it only temporarily blinds the reader with the specific optical slots. With such a tool, the slots seem to be more likely to be cleared when a winning combo is struck, enabling the Gamer to move on to the following victim mechanic.

Repairing a Light Wand slot machine

Notably, Tommy Glenn won the jackpot while utilizing the light wand device. Without Tommy’s girl’s help, he could have been apprehended. The removal of the monkey wire tool is equally hazardous as its insertion. Any of these techniques can be utilized when gaming at online casinos, where only skillful play matters. You can certainly follow some sage advice, but it’s quite legal and possible for other players to use them at the very same time.


One of the most well-known slot machine cheats in history, Tommy Glenn Carmichael, was renowned across the gambling industry for creating a light wand that made it simple for him to win big winnings when playing slots. His plan succeeded by blocking the slot machine’s optical sensor, which kept track of the number of coins put into the slots. As a result, the machine was unable to payout out the right amount, which allowed Tommy to turn small winnings into significant jackpots with the use of his allegedly magical light wand.

Legendary Casino Slot Machine Hacker In History — Tommy Glenn Carmichael

Legendary Casino Slot Machine Hacker In History — Tommy Glenn Carmichael Image by macrovector on Freepik

Tommy was able to develop some advanced con tools that secured an immediate victory.

To keep up with the adjustments made to slot machines as time goes on and technology develops, Tommy should purposefully adapt his con technique. Along with working together, he formed a group of con artists that cost the Las Vegas casinos millions of dollars.

How it All Began

Exactly when technology started to advance, Tommy Glenn Carmichael was born in the 1950s.

Tommy’s interest in technology’s workings dates back to his early years, which may have led him to create a business selling goods and fixing TVs in the 1980s.

Oklahoma’s Tulsa was home to “Ace TV Sales and Service.” Tommy’s business expanded fast and profitably since it was Tulsa’s first.

But as more businesses are established in the area, Tommy is struggling to make ends meet and is losing money. The fact that his divorce is still pending is hurting his business.

Before that, Tommy had been charged with narcotics possession and was additionally required to complete community service. Despite the unpleasantness of his life, he was intent on making a difference.

Ray Ming, a friend from high school that Tommy had, then showed up and seemed to save the day.

Tommy was shown how to use a top-down joint, a miniature slot machine used to trick casinos, by Ray.

To learn how to utilize the top-down joint tool, Tommy “objected to” the slot machine and started to comprehend its mechanical system. After much practice, Tommy is finally prepared to use his new strategy for gaming machine fraud in Las Vegas.

Tommy decided to try out his strategy on a simple machine first as it was his debut time, and he quickly won about $35.

He continued playing other machines across many casinos in Las Vegas, where he eventually won tens of thousands of dollars in a couple of weekends.

For the First Time, Arrested

Tommy employed this strategy for several years, collecting millions of dollars from casinos in significant Las Vegas locations. The equipment Tommy used to hack slots eventually caused the casinos to become more and more sensitive.

The casinos decided to upgrade their equipment with the most latest technology available as a result. Then, slot machines are run by the Random Number Generator or RNG.

Tommy was consequently compelled to frequent smaller casinos that could not manage to use this state-of-the-art technology. However, Tommy was more exposed because the casinos he went to were smaller.

The police had been keeping an eye on him for nearly a week except for his knowledge and were well conscious of his cunning tendencies. When Tommy was arrested, he made an effort to appear innocent, but police found a top-bottom joint tool in his pocket.

On account of drug possession, Tommy was given a five-year prison term while also being placed on probation. Inside the facility, Tommy met Michael Balsamo, who was incarcerated for the same crime.

As soon as they were freed, they started looking for ways to work together and con casinos. But as the day drew near, they both realized that the increasingly sophisticated slot machine technology had rendered their previous technique ineffective.

Getting Caught at Last

Before Tommy and his other members of the group went to the Circus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas at the end of 1996, the group had been at the height of their frauds for more than four years.

Tommy’s new unnamed surveillance cameras can see beyond criminals who hide from other cameras.

After Tommy used a Light Wand gadget to operate the machine, security personnel sprinted towards him and grabbed him.

How to Act Properly at Casinos and Other Gambling Locations

How to Act Properly at Casinos and Other Gambling LocationsImage by prostooleh on Freepik

Gambling Etiquette

One essential aspect of being a responsible gambler is having good gambling manners. It may be possible to ensure that everyone has a pleasant and safe experience when gambling by knowing how to behave, whether you are playing at a casino, at a racetrack, or even online. Understanding right from wrong may make or destroy you and others around you.

When visiting casinos and other gambling venues, it’s important to stay alert to your surroundings. As it can be disruptive or distracting to those who are attempting to focus on their own games, talking on your phone while gambling is generally discouraged. Additionally, keep in mind that rudeness and the use of profanity are never appropriate in a public place.

Dress Code: Smart, Respectable Clothing

The dress code is one of the most important things to think about when visiting a casino. Whether you’re playing at a local casino, going to a formal gaming event, or accessing an internet casino from home, it’s imperative that you appear respectable and appealing. A great gambling experience or being asked to leave for bad manners could depend on how well-dressed you are.

When selecting your attire for any gaming business, consider how you want to present yourself to other players and personnel. Wear collared shirts and blouses, pressed pants or skirts no lower than the knee, dress shoes with socks (no open-toed sandals), and modest jewelry.

Alcohol Consumption: Moderation and Responsibility

Drinking too much alcohol is a serious issue that might ruin any trip to the casino. Moderation and responsibility are crucial for enjoying yourself at the casinos. It will be easier to ensure that you have a good night without any unsafe or negative effects if you know how to drink responsibly and keep within your limits.

Keep in mind when gambling that drinking too much might cause hasty decisions and poor judgment. This could push you to gamble beyond your means or behave irresponsibly in other ways, putting you in financial difficulty or increasing your chances of engaging in criminal conduct. To avoid this, decide in advance how much alcohol you will consume, and try not to go over that limit while you are there.

Table Etiquette: Follow the Rules

Anyone who frequents casinos or other forms of gambling should be aware of this component. Even if knowing the foundations of etiquette, such as being nice to people at the table and avoiding confrontations, is not difficult, there are a few extra principles that everyone should follow when visiting a casino or other gambling establishment. Responsible gambling entails things like utilizing a low voice tone, learning how to appropriately handle chips, and tipping dealers.

It’s also crucial to remember that every casino game has its own set of guidelines and strategies. Before settling down at a table, players should be aware of these guidelines and strategies to prevent costly mistakes. You can learn more complex games like poker or blackjack faster by watching what other players do.

Slots Etiquette: Keep it Polite

No matter where you play slots, keep in mind that polite behavior is essential for a positive experience. Remembering that their actions affect those around them, slot players should make an effort to behave politely and respectfully at all times. Here are some guidelines for good slot machine behavior:

Be aware of your surroundings and other players at all times, to start. If the slot machine room is quiet or someone appears to be concentrating on their game, avoid disturbing others with loud conversations or singing. Additionally, give other slot players plenty of room to play by respecting their personal space. In addition to making a player uncomfortable, hovering or standing over their shoulder to watch what they’re doing could be seen as cheating.

Cash Out Strategy: When to Leave and Take Your Winnings

Knowing when to take your profits and leave when gambling is essential. You may maximize your earnings and make the most of your time spent at casinos or other gaming businesses by learning the proper cash-out procedure. This article will discuss what makes up an efficient cash-out strategy, as well as when you should depart, how much money to bring, and other practical advice.

Successful cash-out techniques depend on knowing the house advantage in each game and when to quit while you’re up. Before your luck turns against you, it is important to know when to quit playing. If your luck has been good thus far, don’t push it any farther.


Having fun while gambling wisely is the most important component of the game. When entering casinos or other gambling institutions, customers must adhere to certain rules. Everyone will have a good day with no unpleasant shocks if these rules are followed.

When gambling, it’s important to stay within your means and be conscious of the dangers of going overboard. Additionally, it’s essential to take regular breaks and have realistic expectations of success. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that, even while casino gambling might be thrilling, it should never take precedence over obligations to one’s family or job. Last but not least, play by the house rules and treat everyone on staff with respect if you want to have the finest gaming experience.