From being a small railway service center in the desert at the start of the twentieth century to a rapidly growing metropolis towards the end of it, Las Vegas has undergone huge changes. With casinos being a major part of Vegas for nearly a century, there have been some big wins for a fortunate few – and of them all, these are definitely the luckiest worthy of casino-goers’ envy.
The Software Engineer
The largest amount anyone has ever won at a Vegas casino is an astonishing $39 million, which was bagged at the famous Excalibur. A 25-year-old Los Angeles software engineer wagered $100 on Megabucks in 2003 and won precisely $39.7 million!
This grand total is the largest amount ever won to date, and the victorious young software engineer – who wanted to remain anonymous – requested to receive his winnings in yearly installments of $1.5 million, which the Excalibur casino is honoring.
Sherwin beat the odds of lightning never striking twice in the same place after he won two major jackpots at the same casino on the slots. The World War II vet was 76 years of age when he won $4.6 million at The Mirage – and only 10 hours after it opened, at that.
Using his winnings to travel the world, Sherwin continued to play the slots once or twice a week. Incredibly, he won $21 million in the same jackpot again in 2005 and kindly donated a significant portion of his winnings toward helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Archie Karas – ‘The Greek’
Another person in the Las Vegas Casino Hall of Fame is Archie Karas – also known as ‘The Greek.’ Karas won and lost millions playing various games in different casinos, but for now, let’s look at his craps record; he was so good at playing this game that at one time, he had every Binion Casino’s Horseshoe $5,000 dollar chip. Added to that, he had run over the World Series of Poker and Las Vegas downtown dice tables.
Ultimately, it’s said all of this got his winnings to $40 million in only 30 months. In 1994, Karas stated in Cigar Aficionado magazine, ‘What most gamblers make in their whole life I gamble in one roll of the dice… Unless the casinos decide to raise their limits after I’m gone, I don’t think anyone will ever gamble more than I have – I’m the biggest ever.’
Overall as pointed out on this website craps games are popular casino classics and continue to be for many players who love the thrill of the game and enjoy the endless possibility of winning (or losing), just like ‘The Greek’ – whether playing them online or actually in a physical casino.
It’s thought billionaire Packer won anything between $30 to $40 million during his time at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. However, he both won and lost so much money that it was often hard to keep track of.
Amazingly, Packer was generous with his winnings at times; one New Year’s Eve in the mid-1990s, he won $9 million at the Las Vegas Hilton and proceeded to tip the dealers $1.3 million – he even gave $100,000 to the lounge singer.
Cynthia Jay Brennan
At the age of 37, Brennan was at the Desert Inn, Las Vegas, when she decided to play on the Megabucks slots. She won a jackpot of just under $37 million in 2000 and thus swiftly decided to marry her boyfriend two weeks after winning. They made plans to honeymoon on a beach somewhere and eventually travel around the world.
Unfortunately, her luck didn’t last; tragically, Brennan was involved in a car accident only weeks after her win in which she was hit by a drunk driver – an incident that left her paralyzed from her upper chest down and resulted in her sister’s death. She said her husband is ‘the main reason I made it’ and completes daily physio to remain in peak shape in case a medical breakthrough will help her walk again – of which she’s hopeful.
In 1996, Honolulu postal worker, Tippin, visited what was once known as the Las Vegas Hilton. He had been doing this for the last 15 years without really winning anything to call home about – until he spent $9 on three spins on a Megabucks slot machine.
Just before his last spin, Tippin decided he would have a go on another machine when he hit the jackpot and won $11.97 million. At the time, this was a world record-breaking amount to win on the slots.
Winning big in a Las Vegas casino is the stuff of dreams, but for a lucky few, it becomes a reality. There’s no way of knowing if or when this will ever happen, which is why when playing any game in a casino – whether in person or online – the main aim should be to play for fun, not for dollars.
Accept your losses, celebrate your wins, and know when to stop, and you’ll have a good time – which is what casino games are all about!