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What a Bonanza

Big wins bring fond memories to go with the cash

By John Grochowski



When it comes to big wins on the slot, nearly everybody has a story and players love to tell them. The math model on a slot machine’s base game might be the key to keeping players in their seats, and the entertainment of the bonus events keeps us coming back. But it’s the jackpots that really make the heart beat faster.

It doesn’t even have to be a lifestyle-changing jackpot. Even if the most you’ve ever won is $1,000 on a spin of the reels or a turn of the video poker cards, it’s something you’ll long remember, and perhaps a tale you’ll often tell:


Joe: I was having one of those days when nothing goes right. You’ve had those, no doubt. I’d lost a couple of hundred on blackjack, and lost a couple of hundred on video poker. The casino had good games. I just had bad cards.

I decided to just relax at a slot machine. I don’t play the slots that often, but I’ve always kind of liked Blazing 7s. I decided I’d just risk another $50, let my mind relax and not think about drawing cards. Then maybe I’d go back to my usual games.

It took just six spins, and I got the triple Blazing 7s. The jackpot was $1,118.53, and the attendant handed me $1,119. Fantastic! Now I was up around $700 for the day. It felt so good I bought myself a nice lunch and then took the rest home.


Nancy: I play mostly penny slots now. I used to play quarters, and some quarter video poker. I’ve had video poker royal flushes for $1,000, and I had one quarter slot jackpot once for $1,500 where I had to sign a tax form.

But the win that was really memorable for me was in a slot tournament. Do you remember the old Sands casino in Las Vegas? I was there with some girlfriends, taking a break from our husbands—ha, ha.  We were just walking the Strip, collecting silly souvenirs, walking into anyplace that caught our eye. The Sands had a sign up for a daily slot tournament. It only cost $10, so we figured, why not?

I was the one who had the luck. The tournament was on these reel-spinning machines, and I think they had four reels. The big points were on blue 7s, and I got the blue 7s three times. At then end, I was in the lead for the day. The gal who checked me in said, “That looks real good. Come back tonight. If you’re in the top 10, you play for the money.”

We went off and saw some other things, just casino hopping. Circus Circus caught me as really strange, watching the circus acts going on above you while you played the slots. At night, we made our way back to the Sands, and I was in seventh place. So I got to play again, and my luck held up. I hit the blue 7s a few more times, and I won the tournament! They paid me $1,000, all in $100 bills. Not bad for $10, huh?


Matthew: You know Ultimate X Poker, right? If you have winning hands, it gives you a multiplier for the next hand. You get a different multiplier depending on your win.

I was playing quarter Ultimate X Five Play. I was dealt a full house before the draw. That put a “12X” next to all five hands for the next hand.

Usually, when the big multipliers come up, you get losing hands. This time, I was dealt a 10, King and Ace of hearts, and two low cards in other suits.

I kept the Ace-King-10, hit “draw” and hoped for the best. Four of the hands wound up losers, so that 12X didn’t do anything. But on one hand, I got the Queen and Jack of hearts. Royal flush! And it was 12 times, so instead of $1,000, I got $12,000. I’ve never had anything to compare with that.


Cynthia: This is so cool. I was playing a dollar Double Diamond progressive. I’d won some nice slot jackpots, but this was really special.

The three Double Diamonds came up, and the jackpot was $22,358. My heart skipped a beat for sure. While I was waiting to get paid, my husband Jim ran up and said, “Cyn, look at this!”

He’d been playing Blazing 7s and he hit a progressive for $1,429. He was so excited. I hugged him and kissed him and he wanted to high five, and finally I said, “You might want to look at this,” and pointed to my game. It was hug time all over again.


Tyler: I had a huge win on a Fortunes of the Caribbean video slot, and it’s certainly something I’ll never forget. Everyone says you play the video slots for the bonus rounds, and that’s certainly true, but this came in the main game.

You know the game, don’t you? The first two reels are only two symbols deep, and then the other three are each four symbols deep. There are 60 paylines, and you can win a lot, but you better have a match on those short first two reels to connect to the bigger reels.

What you really want to see are palm trees on an island against a sunset background. That’s the wild card symbol. I got the islands stacked on all symbols on the first two reels, so I knew I was going to have something on every payline. Then I got four more islands stacked on the third reel, four more on the fourth, and, would you believe it, four more on the fifth. I had wilds stacked all over the screen.

It was great! I was betting the minimum, one-cent per line, but even so I won 24,000 coins. That’s twenty-four THOUSAND! They were pennies, so it came down to $240, but it was really, really exciting to see.


Belinda: My best was on Super Times Pay. I was playing Ten Play, on nickels, so it wasn’t too expensive. My first three cards were all high hearts, and then the Super Times symbol game up, and it stopped on the 10. If I won anything, it was going to be multiplied by 10.

The deal finished with two more hearts, a 6 and another high one. So I had a flush, but I was one card away from a royal. I was missing the Queen.

I didn’t know what to do. Flushes were worth 25, and if I held them all I was going to get 10 flushes, all multiplied by 10. That’s 2,500 coins. What’s that in dollars? $125? That’s pretty good for one hand. But my husbands said, “Honey, you have to go for it,” even though I could have wound up with nothing.

I got that Queen on three of the hands. Three royal flushes! Multiplied by 10, that was $6,000, and I had a few more winners with a couple of high pairs, a straight and a flush. I doubt I’ll ever have anything to top that.


Kim: I once had wheel spins back-to-back on Wheel of Fortune. Not only that, I had big winners on both of them. It was a dollar machine, and it was a little scary. I was strictly a quarter player, but my boyfriend said we should splurge and try the dollars.

It seemed like every time I went to the wheel I was winning $75, $60—all the low ones. I was just about staying afloat. Finally, I got a wheel spin, and it stopped on the $500 space. That was more like it! My boyfriend kissed me, and said, “Do it again!” Darned if I didn’t. The wheel came up again on my very next spin. This time I won the big one, $1,000! I don’t think I’d ever won $1,000 before, and now I had $1,500 in two spins.

Did it give me the bug? No way. I had the money, and I was ready to go back to quarters. Now I play mostly penny slots. I suppose that will always be my biggest win.



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