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Best of John Grochowski

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Hitting big jackpots makes lasting memories

10 April 2012

Big jackpots don't come along every day. They're rare treats, and players remember the tiniest details of how they happened.

The largest jackpot I ever won in a casino was a modest $8,000 for a royal flush on a $2 video poker machine. I rarely play the biggest jackpot games, but this was a big enough win to imprint itself on my memory, starting with the head rush that came with the shock of seeing the royal at higher stakes than I usually play.

It was in 1998 in the high-limit room at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, on an 8/5 Bonus Poker machine. While a slot attendant chatted with me and we waited for a supervisor to take care of the paperwork, a woman and her 20-something daughter left their games a few seats away. A few minutes later they reappeared with a package in hand. They'd gone to the gift shop and bought me a lapel pin displaying a royal flush in spades. I still wear the pin when I give seminars -- a nice reminder of my most exciting hand.

Other players sometimes relay to me their own jackpot tales. Here are a few that stick in readers' memories.

Franklin: This goes back a few years. The riverboats were pretty new, and I don't remember there being any video slots yet. They were all three-reel games. I was playing a dollar Red, White and Blue machine while my wife was playing some video keno.

I bet the max, pulled the handle and the red and white 7s landed on the bottom just like that. Bam-bam, real quick. Then the last reel spun and spun. Maybe it was over in two seconds, but it felt more like two minutes, or two hours, to me. My mind was spinning right along with the reels. Then it finally clicked, and there was the blue 7! It was a $10,000 win. Unbelievable!

Rowena: I know you like video poker, so you'll love this. It was on a Fifty Play Poker nickel machine, and I got dealt a royal flush in diamonds. I didn't have to draw or anything, it just dealt me all five cards. That meant I got that royal 50 times.

A nickel royal is only $200, but when you get 50 of them, that's $10,000. I was never so happy to sign a tax form in my life.

Marianne: I've never won a really big one, like Megabucks. Oh, I like to fantasize about the millions like anyone else, but really I don't play those that much.

What I do like to play is Blazing 7s. I've probably been playing the 7s for 30 years, on the three-reel and on the video. One time, I hit the jackpot twice within a few minutes, on different machines. I was playing the dollar progressives, on a bank of six machines. They're not all the same progressive, like on some games. Each machine has its own amount.

I picked the machine with the highest jackpot. It was $1,185 and some cents, and the lowest was about $1,030, so someone must have just hit that one a little bit before. Anyway, after few minutes, I got the three triple 7s for the jackpot. It had moved up a little, to $1,186.53, and they rounded it up to $1,187.

I decided to play the next machine over, and on my first spin I got the triple 7s again! This time it was for $1,088. That wasn't the second-highest jackpot at the bank, but it was the next machine over. I'm not complaining!

Jake: There used to be a video poker game called Multi Pay Poker. I don't know if you remember it, but it used to pay on every winner contained in a hand. The pay table looked low, but if you had a full house you'd get paid for the full house, for three of a kind, and on two pairs, and if you had jacks or higher you'd get paid on the high pair, too.

I used to really enjoy that one. About the third or fourth time I played, I drew a royal flush in clubs. That was really something. I'd bet five quarters, and I got 4,000 for the royal, and then also 500 for a straight flush, 25 for a flush and 20 for a straight. That's 4,575 coins, which comes to $1,143.75.

They had to pay me by hand, and a little while later a manager came out and asked if I was the one who had the royal flush. I said I was, and she asked why the payoff was such an odd amount. Her shift was just starting and she saw this royal pay logged in, and couldn't figure out how a game with no progressive could pay such an odd jackpot.

I explained how the game worked, and she sat down and played a few hands so she could see the multiple pays. So I not only got the money, I got to explain to a casino manager how her own game worked.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski