Of all the different types of casino games that exist, slots are both the most exciting and the most unpredictable. Someone who’s playing a card game like poker or blackjack against a human opponent knows that their fate is determined not only by the cards in their hand, but the skill of their opponent. Someone playing roulette does so in the knowledge that there’s nothing more complicated at play than the spin of a wheel, and the place that a tiny ball lands on that wheel. Slots are more complicated than that. The reels may spin and land randomly, but knowing how to turn a feature to your advantage can be the difference between a big win and a big loss. That thrill ride is a big part of the reason that online slots have become so popular in recent years.


The current era of slots allows for greater accessibility than ever before. It’s no longer necessary for anybody to visit a casino or a bar to play slots; there are hundreds of online slots websites to choose from, all of which can be played from the comfort of your own home. The best of those online slots websites also provide access to players using mobile phones, so you don’t even have to open your laptop to play if you don’t want to! With more players discovering the hobby every day, and new websites offering new casino in the UK appearing every month, this is truly a golden age for slots and slots enthusiasts.


Even though slots can be played anywhere, there’s still something to be said for going to Las Vegas – the global Mecca of gambling – to test your luck and chase a big prize. Millions of people do that every year, and when they get there, they find out that the prizes on offer at those slots have come on a long way since the invention of the first-ever slots machine by Charles August Fey in 1894. There’s a good luck story every day in Vegas, but some players have more luck than all of the others. Here are three incredible jackpot stories than stunned Las Vegas.


The Waitress Who Won Big


At the start of January 2000, Cynthia Jay Brennan was a young cocktail waitress living off tips in Vegas and struggling to make ends meet. Her life was changed forever when she finished a shift and decided to visit the Desert Inn Casino to try her hand on the ‘Megabucks’ slots game with some of the cash she’d made over the course of her evening. What happened next has gone down in Las Vegas history – and not for entirely positive reasons. With just a few spins, Cynthia triggered the slot’s progressive jackpot and earned the top prize of $34.9m. In an instant, she’d gone from wondering how she’d make her next rent cheque to wondering which mansion she’d like to purchase with her fabulous wealth.


In an ideal world, Cynthia would still be living a happy and full life with that money, but fate had other ideas. One of her first big purchases with her cash was a fast, expensive car. Just six weeks after she hit the jackpot, she crashed the car with her sister in the passenger seat with her. Her sister didn’t survive the accident, and Cynthia permanently lost the use of her legs. Ever since then, some superstitious gamblers have felt that ‘Megabucks’ is cursed.


The High-Flying Air Stewardess


Part of being a successful gambler is knowing when you’ve reached the peak of your luck, and walking out of the casino with the maximum possible return. It appears that rule doesn’t apply to everybody, though. In the same month that Cynthia Jay Brennan had her big win, and anonymous air stewardess also raked in a huge cash prize at the Palace Station Casino in Vegas – and it wasn’t the first time she’d done it.


A few years earlier, the air stewardess had won almost $700,000 on the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ slot and used the money to take early retirement from her job. She hadn’t invested wisely and was running out of cash by the time she came back to the casino in January 2000. She told herself she was only going to spend $100, but nothing came from her first hundred dollars, and so she broke her own rule and bet a further $200. Most gamblers would advise against that, but fate was smiling on the 67-year-old on this day. The ‘Megabucks’ slot paid out a huge jackpot of $27.5m on her very last spin and ensured she’d never have to worry about money again. This time, there was no sign of the ‘Megabucks curse,’ and no sting in the tail.


The Shy Husband


Some gamblers don’t like to have their big wins publicized because they don’t want to become targets for criminals. Others don’t want to change the way that their friends of families think of them. In some cases, though, people just don’t want to offend their spouses! When a 25-year-old newlywed won $39.8m at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino in Vegas in March 2003, he begged the staff at the casino not to tell his wife what had happened. Apparently, she didn’t approve of him spending his money on gambling, and would have been furious with him for spending $100 on a single spin.


This win was a true ‘once in a lifetime’ moment. The spin was the first and only one that this young husband played, and yet it immediately landed him a life-changing win of the kind that would ensure that he’d never have to gamble again. The casino abided by his wishes and didn’t name him to the press, and so he left the venue with both his money and his anonymity. Still, though, we can’t help but wonder if or how he’s managed to spend all the years since concealing his incredible riches from his wife. We’re sure she’d forgive him eventually after she had the chance to look at his bank balance.


Not all gambling stories end so positively, and nobody should ever rely on gambling as a means of accumulating wealth. As the above stories go to show, though, a big win can happen to anyone at any time – and anyone who tries their hand at an online slots game with a big jackpot might be next!


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