I am living proof that you can win jackpots. I am also living proof that you can lose while trying to win. I’m also living proof that you can survive, make a little money and have fun.
It all started 46 years or so ago at the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno, Nevada. I was working on a job there (I produce video meetings) and I had a night free. I decided to try my luck at slot machines, and was playing a very typical 3 reel slot with lots of fruit, some sevens, and MGM lions. I was playing pretty mindlessly, when I noticed that 3 MGM Lions had popped up. In the days of mechanical slot machines, I don’t remember any bells, theme songs, or other things going off. I just noticed the coin counter saying I had won an ungodly amount of quarters.
Somebody noticed (actually, they were probably watching, this was before the machine automaticaly signaled someone to come check the situation out), and they canme ovwer and said “Congratulations.”
I said, “Oh?”
$1200 later, I was temporarily King of the World. (By the way, that’s about $5000 in today’s money.)
So, I did okay, and decided, since this was my first time gambling, that it was bound to happen again. It didn’t.
But I did go home with some $900 plus in my pocket, anf after getting home I told my wife I had been gambling.
She, the very practical kind, didn’t react positively, until…
I pulled out a wad of $100 dollar bills and peeled them off.
We were newlyweds who had finally purchased a house. This extra money was a big deal. The bigger deal was that by winning so early in ‘the game”, I was unknowingly hooking myself on the thrill of winning. I won;t bother talking about the agony of defeat just yet.
It was 20 years or so before I got back to Nevada. Another client was beginning to have meetings in Las Vegas. Coins were still in use, and the big paper cups you carried them around in. There were stations to get change, and floating attendants making change. There were some newfangled electronic video type games beginning to appear, but frankly, they looked scary. I stuck to the 3 reel bandits, playing quarters, which meant, I discovered, 75 cents a throw, if you wanted to make any real money.
A client friend I I were standng and playing, stars in our eyes because these were “progressive” machines, hooked into a state-wide network so that the “Jackpot” was large– $20,000 plus. Next us was a very drunk guy. He was spinning and cursing, spinning and cursing, talking to himself (or to us, but we were trying to ignore him).
Suddenly he was quiet. “Damn machine won’t work!,” he slurred. Instantly, like clockwork, two attendants in suits (which meant something big was up) were by his side.
“Congratulation! You’ve won $20,000!”
He said, “Oh?”
In slot machines, winning is always a surprise. Even when you’re sober.
Herein, I’ll tell stories, share my secrets, my wins and losses. I’ll let you in on more– my feelings, my regrets, my smug sense of self-satisfaction, and my damaged sense of self-worth. Ups and Downs. That’s gambling. That’s slots.