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Casino Luck Reconsidered

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My firm conviction that there is no such thing as "luck" occasionally wavers when I read stories like that of Steve and Peggy Hailes of Michigan, who motored to Onida, Wisconsin to celebrate a relative's birthday. On their way to the birthday party they stopped off at Onida One-Stop for gas. While waiting for service, Peggy wandered over to the slot machines in the back. "I just put a few quarters in that I had in my pocketbook and then it happened." "It" was a $1,252,594.92 jackpot.

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"It" can happen at Keno, too. When I see hoards of people laboriously marking up Keno tickets with their "lucky" numbers, 1 have to remember Shirley Corbin of Altamont, Illinois, who hit for $10,968.40 at Sam's Town Casino in Las Vegas. What was "Lucky" Shirley's secret numbers-picking method? She simply marked off the whole top row, the first ten numbers on the ticket, and voilal Eight of her ten numbers were called for the eleven-grand payout.

Friday the 13th means diddly to me, but for some timid souls it's a harbinger of bad luck. One hardy casino player at Atlantic City's Tropicana on a dreaded Friday the 1 3th went along with the gag and played slot machine No. 1313. You guessed it—he hit a million-dollar-plus jackpot on the No. 1313 machine. I would guess that from that day on, he looked forward to Friday the 1 3th even more than his birthday.

Everyone has read about someone who had a sudden stroke of luck, when lightning strikes and "it" happened. Maybe the next time it can happen to you.

Did it ever happen that some oddball circumstance, not planned, and not of my making, turned into a "lucky" twist of fate at the tables for me? Occasionally, yes. One instance I vividly recall was an episode at the Frontier in Las Vegas in the 1970s. I was back-to-back at blackjack tables with my weekend date. I was at a $25-minimum table, backed up to her at a $5 table. The lady shied away from sitting with me, as my comparatively high-stake playing made her too nervous. Frankly I was glad she was at another table, as her being nervous would only have made me nervous.

My dealer was a speed demon. Man, was he fast! After betting $250 and winning, I turned my head for what seemed to me to be a split-second, just to ask my gal a question before picking up my chips and making another bet. When I turned back to the table, my $250 bet, along with my $250 winnings, were in play, and Speedy was in the midst of dealing the hand. Before I had a chance to cry foul, my eyes popped out of my head as I gazed down upon.

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