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hits since 8/12/03

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Question of the Week Archive
The Jai-Limit Slot area….

isn’t for everyone, or is it, perhaps give it a try? About 20-years ago, when I attended the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Symposium at the Rio in Las Vegas, I ventured into the High Limit Slots area for the very first time. I had chosen to stay at the MGM, my favorite casino back then, and happened to be walking by the High Limit Slots room and noticed the place was empty. It was around 12 noon. Staring me in the face was a bank of perhaps five or six $5 Draw Poker machines lined up which was a progressive jackpot showing a bit over $20,000 dangling above the machine. Like a cat aroused by curiosity, I walked in and looked at a machine on the end of the bank, pulled out a $100 bill and slipped it into the money feeder, thinking wtf, give it a try. I knew to get the $20,000 I had to play max coins, which meant $25 for each push of the button and it would probably be over after 4-plays of $25 each. Nobody was around, and I mean nobody, and I had a symposium event to get to at the Rio and what the heck, hurry up and give it a shot, you never know. My first 3-times I got nothing back, then down to the last try spending $25 on that last push of the button. Mind you, I had never before played draw poker for this kind of money, having played 25c video poker at an Indian casino near a Minnesota fishing resort and even a few $1 video poker machines at an Indian casino southwest of Minneapolis and I had hit a couple of Royal Flushes, so I knew they aren’t impossible. On that last push of the button I got 4-spades and all four of them were 4-to a Royal, so I held those four naturally, and pushed button to get my last card…….

Dern if it didn’t come up with that spade that I needed for the Royal. The machine froze, “Call Attendant” flashed on the screen and nobody was around. I stood around for what seemed like another 5-minutes and a high limit slot attendant finally came around, congratulated me, and mentioned how someone had hit a bigger jackpot the previous night which had wiped it out and back down to the $20,000 starting level. I was figuring just like pari-mutuels, since the payoff was that big, that’s an automatic federal tax withholding, but no, they paid it out completely, the whole amount, but of course a W-2g signer. How do you want your $$ they asked. I told them give me $10k in a check and the rest in cash. I tipped the attendant $100, called my Dad at the Rio and said I was going to be running a little late. I explained my delay when I got to the Rio, flashing him my W-2g, then tucked 10 hundred dollar bills in his pocket and said I want you to enjoy your trip (black-jack was his game of choice).

Interesting how the casino treats you after you win something like that. Offers flowed in the mail to get me to come back for free stays plus $300 in chips, slot tourneys and more, including picking me up in a Limo at the airport, free rooms, food, shows, the works. I went back to the same draw poker machine 3-months later on a visit to the MGM and hit the jackpot for $27k on the very first night. Some very lucky times at the MGM and great memories of dining at the Brown Derby, one of my favorite restaurants when it was there.

But moral of the story is if you never try, you can’t win a jackpot.

Now not all bets are for everyone at a pari-mutuel plant. You need to try to satisfy all kinds of players, from small bettors, medium bettors, to those willing to enter “The High Limit Slot” area, just like a casino does. I applaud Magic City Casino and Jai-alai for having the foresight to offer some chances to Jai-alai bettors willing to accept the challenge of betting in “The Jai-Limit Arena.” Just as casinos and horse tracks offer a variety of bets on their wagering menu in attempts to appeal to more customers, Magic City Jai-alai management gets it and has stepped up and done the right thing by offering something for the full spectrum of jai-alai bettors to wager. Anyone is welcome to wager on the Jai-paying jackpots, everyone needs luck and people get lucky all the time. If people didn’t have the chance of winning some decent payoffs at a casino, would they go? I seriously doubt it.


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