Slot Hogs

It’s one thing when someone holds onto a slot machine and digs in with their greedy hands, it’s another when they vocalize their intentions.  It’s best when you reap what they’ve sown.

A few weeks back we entertained and hosted my father on a trip up from Michigan.  After family commitments and group meals, the inevitable “Trip to the Casino” was next on the schedule.  Every visit from Dad has at least one trip to the place government cheques go to die, and sometimes they end up better than they started.  Sometimes that has nothing to do with the games themselves.

If you’ve ever been to the casino, you probably have a favourite way to lose your shirt.  Some like blackjack (I’m even if I’m lucky), others like roulette (always bet on black, except when you don’t and lose either way), and others enjoy poker (if I wanted to lose my money to a table of people I didn’t know, I’d go see my accountants.)  Slots, on the other hand, allow for a plethora of different sounds, colours and styles to empty your account.

You can go penny or dollar, video or mechanical, touch or arm pull, and the number of styles seem endless.  For a while, the Michael Jackson slots at Casino Niagara were a favourite to sink $40 into.  The ones at the Fallsview Casino seemed to just eat the money, but the old casino let you play a little longer, sometimes even winning! What a tease…then someone won the $1.8 million jackpot at the Fallsview Casino, so the luck had to go somewhere else!

For my fiancee, after time with Goldfish and Bridesmaids, the new favourite to keep an eye out for was the Willy Wonka machines.  Unfortunately, there were only two at the Fallsview, which meant timing was of the essence.  And if you’ve ever loitered around a popular slot machine before, you know you’re never the only person who wants in.

A couple of times during our latest visit, we wandered past the two machines to see if they were open.  The first time they were both taken, with hundreds of dollars left to play for their victims.  The second time, I wasn’t with my fiancee, but I heard about what transpired.

She informed me the first machine was being played by an older woman, who had her handbag nearby and seemed content to pour it upside down into the machine.  But the second didn’t have anyone in front of it.  Of course, that didn’t mean someone wasn’t playing it.  A man, sitting at the machine next to it, was playing TWO machines at once.

For the uninitiated, this is a common practice.  Most casinos will allow players to work two, even THREE machines at a time, given that they are all next to each other.  Honestly, why would the casino care?  They’re getting the money three times as fast from one person, and so long as all the machines are in play, why not?  Is it frustrating for the novice player who’s just there to use $40 and have some fun?  Sure.  But it’s understandable.

It’s ANOTHER thing to be rude when someone asks if you’re playing that machine.  Which is what happened when she asked him if he was using the Willy Wonka machine.  After hearing the story, I took a quick walk over, and sure enough, there he was, leaned back in his seat, tapping away on Max Bet on that machine and the one next to it.  My fiancee wasn’t having the best day betting wise, and not getting to play one her favourites didn’t sit very well either.  She resigned herself to her fate, and headed over the bar.  At least the $10 dropped there would result in SOME kind of malted victory.

The only arms you're guaranteed to pull and win...

About 20 minutes later, as she headed to the washroom, I told her I’d pass by that area again, just to see.  If they were full, we were going to meet up with my dad, lick our wounds and head out for the day.  As I wandered over, I noticed not one, but BOTH machines were open.  I sat down at the one on the left, put in my money and tapped away.  A few minutes in, it became apparent it wasn’t going to part with it’s treasures while I was there.  So I did the thing I HATED doing when it comes to slots…

…I moved over one seat and started playing the other one.

One of my rules: When you leave a slot machine, LEAVE it, and go somewhere where you can’t see someone else playing it.  How would you feel if you looked over and saw someone hit it big RIGHT after you’d left the cold seat?  But here I was, moving over one spot to try my luck on the one next door.  Of course, there WAS a reason I was doing that…

…that was the machine the slot hog had been sitting at.  I assumed he hadn’t done well there, and decided I’d try the rest of my luck using karma as my guide.

Three pulls in, $300 win.

Cash out, walk away.  Thanks for the money slot hog.

(I give it two months until I’ve given it back to the casino gods.  They must be appeased.)

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