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Best of Gayle Mitchell

Gaming Guru

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Behind the jackpots

21 January 2008

By Gayle Mitchell

"I Won the Jackpot" is the sound of dreams coming true. With the ever-increasing progressive jackpots offered by casinos, the Big Hits are what we seek. This series of reports details some of these winning stories from the lucky winners.

Twice as Nice

A 92-year-old man has accomplished the near impossible -- winning a Megabucks jackpot twice. It's the first time someone has won the well-known jackpot more than once.

Local Vegas resident, Elmer Sherwin won the top Megabucks slot machine jackpot worth $21.1 million.

In 1989, Sherwin won $4.6 million from a Megabucks machine at the Mirage.

After he won the first jackpot, Sherwin said it became his "life's dream" to win it a second time, Cannery representative Aimee Worth said.

In a statement issued by IGT, Sherwin said he wanted to win the award for a second time.

"I'm glad I finally hit; I've been trying to do it again," he said. He plans to surprise his family with the news.

"I want to see the looks on their faces when they hear," Sherwin said, noting that he soon plans to try for his third jackpot.

The Megabucks machine, made by International Game Technology, is a dollar slot machine with a building jackpot that requires a $3 bet to hit the top prize. The jackpot resets at $7 million after a jackpot is won and begins to build again until someone lines up the Megabucks symbols on the machine again.

The chance of winning the Megabucks grand prize is less than one in 10 million. Awards are paid in annual installments or a lump sum.

A Tale of Two Casinos

A day in the life of Taj Mahal and Aladdin casinos involves the Quarter Million$ progressive and two tales.

First up in this amazing day of two wins for a combined total of $674, 820. is the Taj where Frances Perkoski of Olyphant, PA. chose a new version of Pamela Anderson Lucky Wheel slots. Her first playing venture with this new machine grabbed a big win of $374,094.

Then we zoom over to Vegas, 3000 miles away, to find Thomas Kosik of Niles, IL who was contemplating a food break when he stopped to put $20 in a Quarter Million$: In the Money slot.. After just a few spins, up popped the winning symbols for a $300,726. progressive jackpot win.

These two wins are 32nd and 33rd times that a Quarter Million$ jackpot has been won nationally. Quarter Million$ slots have paid out a total of $10,180.440 in jackpots.

Twice Lucky Lady's Story

Jo Ann Argyris, a 58-year-old resident of Boulder City, NV has been a frequent visitor to the locals' casino scene in Vegas for the past 8 years.

This self-employed single mother of two and grandmother of three became an instant millionaire while playing the Millioniser Hyperlink penny slot game at the Sunset Station Casino in Henderson.

Within a year, her millionaire status was reinstated with another $1 million jackpot at the Railroad Pass Casino playing the same slot game.

After her initial payday, Argyris paid off her mortgage, did some home remodeling and whisked here family off to a Mexican Riviera cruise.

Jo Ann was ready to cash out while playing at the Railroad Pass when the symbols lined up just right. "I didn't even realize I'd won the million until my daughter told me. I said "No, then I looked up at the slot. Oh my goodness", and put my head into my lap and cried. "I did not expect it. I knew it would happen, but I did not know it would happen again this fast. It was only 10 months."

What to do with her second windfall? This twice-lucky lady says, "My car is only four years old and has just 45,000 miles on it. Why would I want to go out and spend $60,000 on a car that I really don't need? So, what I did was pay off the loans on my children's cars, gave them some money and put some away for my grandchildren. Then, I gave some money to my sister."

"When my mother, who lives in California found out, she called me up and said, "You know you're taking me to Italy this time. I want to go for a cruise in the Mediterranean, so we'll go there to visit and then on to Rome for a few days."

Is three times the charm for this slot player? Time will tell.

Gayle Mitchell
Gayle Mitchell, one of the first women to break through the “felt ceiling” of the previously male-dominated world of casino gambling gurus, is now regarded as one of North America’s leading experts on casino gambling.

Gayle’s commitment to educating the gambling public began almost 20 years ago, when she walked into a Las Vegas casino and experienced for the first time the thrill that comes with winning even a small bet. She made up her mind then and there to learn every game in the casino, and a short time later resolved to make a career out of sharing her insights with other gamblers. She had always considered herself to be a good teacher – she believes in keeping things simple – and decided that she would commit herself to showing newbies how to become knowledgeable, intelligent gamblers.

Gayle started her own publishing company, and her first book came out in 1997. Today she is the author of seven books, seven EBooks, and a set of five Tips booklets, and has presented many seminars on casino gambling. Currently she teaches Learn to Win Programs with other leading experts at The site is a player-friendly Free Gambling Learning Center offering 300+ online lessons for popular casino games plus Gambling Teachers Blog. Gayle also operates, which is a games glossary site for sport, casino, skill and video game players.

“It’s a fact that less than 2 percent of casino players know the profitable, correct strategies and/or rules for most casino games,” Gayle says. “Our group of career teachers and writers are working to improve that statistic.”

Gayle Mitchell Websites: