Big jackpots are rare, special events that live forever in players’ memories.
Most of readers’ jackpot tales I’ve relayed have been of back-to-back bonanzas, those incredible close encounters of the winning kind.
What about jackpot size? I reached out to slot and video poker players who have contacted me in the past to ask about their biggest payday.
CHUCK: Mine was a dollar Double Diamonds progressive for$20,000. It shocked the hell out of me.
I’m strictly a low roller but found myself taking a couple of big-money clients to a casino. They went straight to a craps table. I don’t know how to play craps and the thought of betting even the minimums makes me blanch, so I went to play quarter slots and bide my time.
This was on a riverboat when they still had cruises with time limits, so I knew it would be only a couple of hours. The slots were still all spinning reels, not video. I did pretty well and found myself ahead $45 with 15 minutes before we’d dock. I decided to take a risk and play $20 on a dollar slot, they check in on the clients.
Third spin, I got double diamond, double diamond, double diamond. The machine locked up, the jackpot music blared and security and a slot manager came over to take my info and pay me. The clients wound up finding me instead of the other way around. This is 25 years ago and telling the story still puts me in shock.
CARLY: You know Multi Strike Poker? You bet 20 coins instead of five and you get a chance at four hands. You have to win or get a pass on the first hand or you don’t get second, and so on. You risk getting only one hand, but if you get a second it pays double, a third pays 4x and a fourth pays 8x.
One day I was having really good luck on single games. I’d hit four Aces with the kicker twice at Double Double Bonus and had some other quads. So I had some extra money to play with.
I took $400 and bought it Multi Strike, and I picked $2 Double Double Bonus. That’s way more money than usual for me, but I’d already put away a nice profit.
It took a few minutes, but I started one play with a pair of Jacks. My 2x hand wasn’t a winner, but I got a free pass to the 4x hand and got two pairs.
That brought me to the 8x hand. I was dealt four high diamonds and paired up with a Jack of clubs. I threw away the Jack, hit the button and closed my eyes. The jackpot noises told me I’d won big! My draw gave me a royal, and at 8x on $2 game, that was $64,000. I’ve never come anywhere close to that before or since.
TOM: I’ve written to you about slots, but I used to play Caribbean Stud at the tables. You don’t see it that much anymore, but I used to have fun.
My highlight hand came near the end of a pretty long session. My wife on the slots was almost ready to leave. I’d had an OK day, maybe down $50 or so.
I anted $5 and made the $1 side bet on the jackpot. It used an automatic shuffler and I got all five cards at once. I couldn’t believe it. The order was Jack, King, 10, Ace and Queen, and they were all clubs. Royal flush, and it was worth $42,831. That will always be my casino highlight.