In a few weeks I will be headed to Vegas for another vacation filled with booze, ladies, and all types of sin. Ok, let’s face it, none of that will happen. If all goes well, I will spend the entire time by the pool, maybe see a show, and stuff my face with an irrational amount of food from the endless buffets. Most importantly, the plan is to not spend any money in the casino. Last time I was there I lost hundreds in less than an hour. Maybe I really do have bad luck, but doesn’t everyone? Isn’t it impossible to win in Vegas? The House has it rigged so they always win.
Or so I thought. Apparently there’s been some people in the past who have won in Vegas, and won big. Surprisingly, the largest payouts have come from slot machines, which I thought were for sure the biggest scam every created. Now I’m sure the largest payouts ever to come from gambling occur in during illegal poker games like we see in the James Bond movie, Casino Royale. Out of all the people who have been recorded winning in Vegas, these rank among the top.

$21 Million – The Mirage

Some people dream of winning the jackpot at least once in their life, but Elmer Sherwin had the lifetime goal of winning the jackpot twice. In 2005, he accomplished that goal. The first time occurred in 1989 when he won $4.6 Million at the Mirage, just 10 hours after it was opened to the public. 15 years later, Elmer won the same jackpot again, but this time the payout was $21 Million. If he can win twice that means I can win at least once, right?
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$22 Million – Bally’s Hotel

In 2002, 74 year old, Johanna Huendl stopped to play the slots on on her way to breakfast will only $170 cash. Turns out that was all she needed because she won $22,618,156.67 on the Megabucks slot machine. She claimed that she first thought she only won $2 Million, little did she realize that at that moment she had won the fourth largest slot machine jackpot ever.

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$27.5 Million – Palace Station Casino

It turns out that if you play long enough, you may actually win the jackpot more than once. Yeah that’s right, more than one person has won the jackpot on the slot machines multiple times. In 1998, a 67 year old retired flight attendant won the jackpot for the second time. The first time she won $680,000 and was so excited that she kept playing. Years later she won a much larger jackpot of $27.5 Million. The airlines may not have given her a huge pension, but Vegas did.

$34.9 Million – Dessert Inn

In 2000, Cynthia Jay Brennan, a cocktail waitress, won just under $35 Million on a Megabucks slot machine at the Dessert Inn. At the time it was the record for the highest slot machine jackpot in history and a hell of a lot more than she’d ever make as a cocktail waitress. Sad to say, this story doesn’t have a fairy tale ending. Just weeks after hitting the jackpot, she became paralyzed and her sister was killed after they were in a car accident with a drunk driver. This created the urban myth that bad things happen to those who win big in Vegas. If that’s true, do I even want to win? Yeah of course I do.

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$39.7 Million – The Excalibur

In 2003, a 25 year old Software engineer won the largest payout in Vegas history. Waging $100 on the Megabucks slot machine in the Excalibur Hotel & Casino, he ended up winning 3.9 million times his initial bet. While some consider winning millions a right to brag, this man did not and instead chose to remain anonymous. I don’t blame him, gotta keep those gold diggers away.


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