Everyone dreams of striking it rich. Even people who don’t play games of chance often ponder “what if…?” as they consider the ups and downs of their finances. That dream draws people to the casinos where the shimmering lights, the ringing of the slot machine bells and the allure of the high-stakes tables makes the improbable into possible.
All casino gamers choose their slots for cash games with the hope, somewhere in their minds, that they will be able to strike it rich. It’s true that only a fortunate few experience the thrill of walking away with a 7+ figure big payout prize but truth is stranger than fiction and in actuality, some of the people who have scored the biggest casino wins are actually some of the least likely folks that you would consider as future winners.
Statisticians estimate that, based on the number of jackpot symbols on each reel and based on the number of stops that the machine makes, winning a progressive jackpot is 1 in 49.8 million spins. It’s a good thing that no one told that to Elmer Sherwin.
Sherwin was a WWII vet who played the Vegas slots for casual fun. Sherwin beat the trillions-to-one odds to win a Mega Jackpot TWICE along the Vegas Strip, once in 1989 and again 16 years later in 2005.
Sherwin was a regular at Vegas Strip casinos. As a retiree, he liked to play the slot machines but it wasn’t until he retired that he experienced his greatest successes.
In November 1989 he was playing at the brand-new Mirage Casino when, after playing for about an hour and a half, he bet $3, spun the reels and lined up Megabucks symbols to win himself $4.65 million. At the time that was the largest jackpot even in Vegas on a slot machine.
Sherwin’s taste for the slots didn’t abate. He continued to play on a regular basis and 16 years later, won a second jackpot at the Downtown Cannery Casino to collect an additional $21.1 million. Sherwin donated much of his winnings to charitable causes.
John Heywood of Cheshire, England won £13.2 million on a 25p stake when he played the Mega Moolah slot machine in 2015. The online gaming event gave Internet casino enthusiasts the confidence that they might achieve the same kind of multi-million dollar jackpot prizes that land-based casino gamers could anticipate. With his win, Heywood set the world record for the largest online jackpot payout to date for a slot machine win.
Heywood, a former soldier who served in Afghanistan, kept the win to himself for 3 days after scoring the jackpot but once the news became public, he announced his decision to use his winning payout to splurge on a yellow Bentley Continental GT and a trip for his family.
The Mega Moolah game is a popular online jackpot slot machine. It has paid out dozens of times since it was launched in 2007.
Johanna Heundl, a retired printer, was celebrating her 74th birthday in 2002 at Bally’s Casino. Her experience is a lesson in the importance that casino promotions can have in helping players achieve winning payouts.
Heundl used her $100 birthday offer from the casino for a two night stay where she budgeted herself for $100 of casino entertainment. After that $100 was lost, she headed to breakfast, stopping to play the Megabucks jackpot machine with a second $100. $70 later, she discovered that her detour netted her a $22.6 million Megabucks jackpot win, the third-largest slot jackpot in history.
Heundl originally was thrilled with what she thought was a $2 million win and was astounded to discover that she had left off $20 million from that sum. Her jackpot was Bally’s first for the Megabucks machine and the 57th Megabucks progressive jackpot payout since the game was introduced in 1986.
Kerry Packer was known for his casino wins and losses but he was a bold player who ultimately benefitted from his willingness to put his money where his mouth was. Packer’s game was baccarat where he was known for playing eight hands at a time for $250,000 a pop but he could also be found at the poker and blackjack tables, scoring as much as $13 million in a single session.
Casinos around the world both coveted Packer’s business and feared his wins – when he lost, it could be in the millions, but when he won, he won! Packer was legendary for more than his wins however – he made sure that the casino staff that served him were well rewarded with massive tips and gifts.
Reading stories about big casino winners reminds us that casino gambling, both at brick-and-mortar casino sites and at online venues, is popular because, not only does it offer excitement and fun but it also presents the potential for winning life-changing fortunes.
Regardless of whether you prefer games of chance, of skill or a combination of both, you can expect a fulfilling entertainment adventure when you enter the casino.