Ever hit the jackpot on a slot machine? I’m referring to the type of machine where the bell rings, the siren sounds, the light on top of it begins to flash, and everyone around you stops what they’re doing to come see how much you’ve won. I used gambling to support my family and myself for three years. I mostly engaged in casino gaming. During those three years, we won numerous jackpots. After losing $3,000 in one week and realizing I didn’t want to swing low before swinging high again, I only stopped gambling when everyone started moving out of the house. Now that I had money in the bank, it was time to proceed. However, particularly with the first jackpot, hitting it was like living in a movie. Sincerity be damned, the surreal feelings start to fade after you win five or six jackpots. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let me describe what occurred when I hit the jackpot for the first time.
Once the shock wears off, boredom sets in.
Everyone stops by to congratulate you, almost like a group of 1960s hippies telling you how awesome it is that you’re defying authority. While they are happy that someone other than the casino is receiving their money, you actually just won all the money they lost. When you hit the jackpot, you experience a casino’s love-hate relationship to its fullest. You can tell how much of that jackpot was someone else’s money by the jealous looks in some people’s eyes and the hurt expressions on their faces. Then you notice the happiness on some people’s faces. Even if the winner is a total stranger, they simply adore a winner! But after a short while, everyone disperses to resume their previous activities, leaving you alone in the room with the bell ringing and the light flashing while you wonder, “Can I get up? What happens if I need to use the restroom? How long does this take? What if they never come? Eventually, a casino employee arrives and silences the bell. For jackpots, they need to bring in two or three people to authenticate you and verify your win. Your identification is taken, you are asked to sign some paperwork, and people are coming and going. Another 30 minutes have passed by the time they return with the cash. One time, handling a jackpot took almost an hour because the casino staff had to finish emptying out their slot machines first. I’ve read accounts of large jackpot winners having to wait almost a full day for approval of their wins.
30 minutes was all it took.
Whether it’s true or not, I completely believe the stories about people entering casinos and winning the jackpot almost immediately. My first few visits to a casino were a complete failure. I completely lost all of my money and gave up gambling after leaving. I stayed away for a two-year period. Then, one evening, I went to the casino to locate a member of my family. After leaving work, she went straight to the casino, and I needed to talk to her about something. In one area where the slot machines were connected for a progressive jackpot, I discovered her playing there. I was instructed to take a seat and begin playing the machine next to her. I was a little upset that we couldn’t talk about the business, but when it comes to your family, what can you do? You engage in slot machine play. After 30 minutes, I immediately in front of me heard this bell ring. I noticed the flashing light when I looked up. People suddenly gathered around me to see how much I had won. It was more than $8000.00, which may seem like a lot of money for a $3 wager, but to be completely honest, if that were the only money I ever won, I would not be able to support myself.
You feel a little lost after receiving the money.
Thousands of dollars are in your pocket, and you are sitting in a casino where everyone can see them. And five rows are between your car and the side entrance. You do wonder if a malicious redneck hillbilly who just lost his rent money on the wrong game isn’t waiting to jump you in the parking lot. You now want to avoid being the center of attention. Fortunately, once you receive payment, you become old news. Everyone is preoccupied with their own aspirations of becoming wealthy. To feel a little bit poorer and less like a target, I found that wandering over to the other side of the casino and spending $100 on a game was the best course of action. In addition, it should take some time, unless you’re a moron, to lose $100 playing slots or at a blackjack table. I gave the staff a sizable tip. Always give the person who pays you a tip. And because you have no idea who is attempting to steal your winnings from you, you try to be as courteous and non-threatening as you can. I began to feel safe again after about an hour. Normally, I’d ask one of the security officers to help me walk to my car. However, I had terrible luck one night. I won another $3,000 shortly after winning the $4,000 jackpot and my anxiety had subsided. In all honesty, I thought I would never leave that casino. While winning money is fantastic, having to wait until you can deposit it all in the bank can be stressful, especially if you have to wait until the following day. There were definitely times when I thought about putting everything back into the games just to avoid the headaches. I finally realized that this was how I lived. Actually, I was wagering my rent money. I then exhaled deeply, bid the guards good night, and headed outside to my car. Furthermore, nobody knew who I was or what I was wearing. Instead of me, they were there to beat the casino.