did you know - pokie facts

Pokies and Slot Machines have been around for as long as most of us can remember, and whether you look upon them with contempt or you don’t mind throwing an occasional $50 into the Slots and ‘having a poke’ there’s a few things about them that make for interesting dinner conversation, and so in the interest of a avoiding uncomfortable silences at mealtime let’s take a look at some of the more interesting facts and world records associated with the pokies and slot machines across the world.

10 Interesting Slot Machine Facts

  1. The first Slot Machine was made in 1895 by one Charles Fey, a car mechanic from California. 
    The slot machine – named ‘Liberty Bell’ featured three reels with playing card symbols on the reels and one ‘Liberty Bell’ which when matched triggered the jackpot of 10 nickels or 50cents – a small fortune back in 1895.Learn more about the History of slot machines –> Here
  2. The odds of winning the top jackpot on a Black Rhino pokie are 1 in 9,765,625. You have a better chance of dying from a poisonous bite (1 in 1,000,000) or getting struck by lightning (1 in 1,603,250).
  3. The first Australian pokie was created in 1953 by Aristocrat. It was named “The Clubman,” and Aristocrat remains the leading pokie manufacturer in Australia.
  4. NSW legalised pokies in 1956 but it took over 30 years for Victoria to catch up, with the first pokies being introduced to the Essendon (Footscray) Football Club in 1992. There are now almost 25,000 machines across the state – not including those at Crown Casino and the consequences of the decision to introduce pokies (a decision made after seeing NSW enjoying an additional $400 million a year in Pokie related taxes and gambling revenue) have been enormous – almost $38 billion has been lost on poker machines in Victoria in the past two decades. In 2010-11 alone the
    losses reached $2.65 billion.
  5. There are nearly 200,000 pokie machines in Australia, and 100,308 of these are in NSW. The national figure is five times that of the US and represents around 20 per cent of all gaming machines in the world.
  6. The Biggest Slot Machine ever made was created in the early 1960s and was one of the first machines to feature a motor and electronic hopper which allowed for bigger prizes.
    Big Bertha, as the name suggests was a two-tonne monster that sat in the lobbies of major Las Vegas Casinos. It cost $150,000 to build and featured 160 symbols over 8 reels!  It was so big that people could not pull the actual lever and it had to be powered by a five horsepower engine. The odds of winning on the big machine were incredibly low, estimated at one in 25.6 billion, because the machine had eight reels and twenty symbols per reel!
    *There have since been many novelty Pokies built that are even larger but none can compare to the original Big Bertha
  7. Microgaming launched the first online pokies for real money in the mid-1990s. Based on classic three-reel pokies from Vegas casinos, the game meant that players could enjoy pokies from the comfort of their own front room. The game only had a Spin button and a slider to choose your stake, but it wouldn’t be long before major players like Playtech and Cryptologic were developing their own Internet pokies
  8. Pokies use a RNG (random number generator). This ensures every spin is random and fair. The pokie will randomly choose its reels the very second you press the button or pull the handle. Before this point it does not know what it will show next. Pressing 1 second later would change the outcome to one second before. In fact, the pokie machine continually calculates random number codes regardless of if it is being used.
    This means that if you walk away from the machine and someone else goes on and spins once and gets the jackpot, that jackpot would probably have not been won by you.
    If you had stayed at the machine, there’s no guarantee whatsoever that you would have stopped the RNG at the exact nanosecond to display that same combination of numbers. In the time it takes for you to sip your drink, the RNG has cycled through thousands of combinations.
  9.  The slang term ‘one armed bandit’ was actually originally used to describe the shady characters who had learned to manipulate the early versions of the slot machine to steal some money. Over time the expression came to be used for the slot machines themselves.
  10. The iconic bar symbol found on modern slot machines comes from the Bell Fruit Gum company and represents a ‘stick of gum’  In the early 1900’s, and just a few years after they had been invented, gambling was prohibitied and innovative slot machine owners replaced the coins with gum and changed the card symbols to fruit. The common fruit symbols are still found on modern slot machines and were symbols for the gum flavours available from the Bell Fruit Gum company.


The 10 Biggest Casino Slots Jackpots Ever Won 

They say that in Vegas the house always wins, but sometimes even the house can’t compete with good fortune.

From a Marine who won nearly $3 million to a software engineer who hit for $39.7 million, the lure of riches keeps machines blinking, buzzing and spinning along the Las Vegas Strip. Some winners wish to remain anonymous, making sure what happens in Vegas stays here. Others don’t mind sharing their good fortunes.

Here’s a look at some of the most notable jackpots in Vegas:

Let’s take a look at the who the how and the WHOA – we’ll start with the 8th biggest casino progressive slots win and work our way to the biggest ever progressive slots win ever recorded in a real world casino.

  1. 26 year old Marine wins $2.9 million

    Feb. 19, 2012: Alexander Degenhardt, a 26-year-old U.S. Marine, won nearly $2.9 million on the Money Vault Millionaires Seven slot at the Bellagio. Degnhardt had been in training at Nellis Air Force base and went to the casino with some buddies on their last night in the city. He slipped in $100 and said he’d never won more than $200 before hitting the biggest Las Vegas jackpot from a Bally Technologies game in recent memory. Total: $2,882,808.32.

  2. Megabucks at the Aria

    April 22, 2011: One lucky gambler took home $10.6 million from a Megabucks machine, a product launched by International Game Technology (IGT) in 1986. It took more than eight years and 38 jackpots to hit $10 million for the first time in 1995 at the Gold Coast in Australia

  3. Megabucks on a Mega Roll

    Jan. 21, 2011: A woman on her way to her room at the Aria, decided to plunk $6 into a Megabucks machine and hit a $12.7 million jackpot. She thought the machine had malfunctioned until her niece pointed out that, no, it was really a winner. Only a few months later Megabucks would pay out $10.6million

  4. Do-Gooder Hits Pay Dirt

    Nov. 30, 2014: Late last year a Las Vegas man put $20 in a Megabucks slot machine at the Summerlin-area Rampart Casino. Within five minutes he’d hit a jackpot worth $14.2 million. The man, dubbed the “Rampart Lucky Local,” said he would make a donation to his church. The church, which had been holding services in a high school gym, can now have its own location built.

  5. One Player, Two Mega Jackpots

    Sept 15, 2005: In an improbable display of beating the odds, Elmer Sherwin, 92, of Las Vegas won his second Megabucks jackpot by hitting $21.1 million at the Cannery Casino in North Las Vegas. Sherwin had previously won a $4.6 million in 1989 at the Mirage. He said it had been his “lifelong dream” to win it twice. Total: $21,147,947

  6. He Came, He Saw, He Won Big

    June 1, 1999: An Illinois man won more than $21.3 million on a Megabucks machine at Caesars Palace. The 49-year-old business consultant deposited $10 and won on the first spin. Total: $21,346,952.22.

  7. A Quick Play Before Brekkie

    March 27, 2002: Johanna Huendl, 74, of Covina, Calif., was on her way to breakfast at Bally’s Casino when she decided to play the Megabucks machine. She put in about $170 and won $22.6 million. She said she had initially misread the meter and thought she’d won $2 million. She would have been happy with that. Total: $22,618,156.67

  8. $300 in, $27.5 million out

    Nov. 15, 1998: A 67-year-old retired flight attendant from Las Vegas had only intended to put $100 at the slot machine in Palace Station. She ended up putting in $300, but the Megabucks machine rewarded her with $27.5 million. She’d won big money before: hitting a $680,000 jackpot on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine, also at the Palace Station. It marked the first time Megabucks had surpassed $20 million. Total: $27,580,879.60

  9. A Record and an Urban Legend is Born

    Jan. 26, 2000: Las Vegas cocktail waitress Cynthia Jay-Brennan, 37, won $34.9 million on a Megabucks machine at the Desert Inn. Six weeks later, a habitually drunk driver rear-ended her car, killing her sister and leaving her paralyzed. Her tragedy fueled a myth that bad things happen to those who win the big jackpots, becoming one of Las Vegas’ most notorious urban legends. Total: $34,955,489.56

  10. The Biggest Jackpot Ever Won (so far)

    March 21, 2003: A 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles won $39.7 million after putting in $100 in the Megabucks slot machine at the Excalibur to win the largest jackpot in Las Vegas history. He beat odds at the time of one in 16.7 million. Total: $39,710,826.36

Biggest Online Jackpot Ever Won

The largest jackpot payout in an online slot machine game is €17,879,645 EUROS ($20,062,600USD, £13,209,300 Sterling), won by Jon Heywood, a British citizen, playing Microgaming’s Mega Moolah on Betway’s website, on 6 October 2015.

megamoolah biggest online progressive slots win

26 years old corporal Jon Heywood from Cheshire become an instant multimillionaire playing in Betway’s Online casino late evening on October 6th, 2015.  The young veteran who recently returned from Afghanistan said that he deposited £30 into his account and proceeded to begin a game of Mega Moolah. Betting a total of 25p per spin brought him £13,213,838.68 win in just 7 minutes (more than €17 million).

  • Mega Moolah is a five reel, twenty-five payline online progressive slots pokie game

Official Guiness World Record Entry 

Biggest Mobile Casino Jackpot Ever Won

Once again it is Mega Moolah – the worlds most popular and (clearly) highest paying progressive online slots game that has created the record! – I don’t know about you but I think I might just go and throw a cheeky 50 through Mega Moolah – you know, just in case 😉 Want to Join Me?

Microgaming confirms its Mega Moolah progressive slot has been hit at a mountainous €5,375,695.08!

The life-changing jackpot was won on 9th April 2015 by Royal Vegas player, Mark A, spinning on his mobile phone. The player will take home a total of €5,375,695.08, receiving a single cash payout in full rather than an annuity, so Mark A has become an instant millionaire.

“We’ve been watching the progressive ticker grow substantially over the last few weeks; anticipation was building as to when it was going to strike! Once again the jackpot was hit via a mobile device; it really is a sign of today’s industry and how prevalent mobile is! Congratulations to Mark A on becoming one of the biggest jackpot winners in Microgaming’s history” – John Quinn, Head of Casino at Microgaming

Mega Moolah - worlds best progressive slots online


7 of the Biggest Thefts in Casino History

Move over Daniel Ocean because today we’re going to take a look at 7 of the most daring (and more often than not stupid) attempts at robbing casinos and ripping off gambling establishments around the world – with the majority being focused on Las Vegas.

oceans 11 top robberies in las vegas

7. The Ultimate Severance Package

The Stardust casino isn’t around any more (imploded and razed in 2007) but the famous story of a sportsbook cashier who got a little greedy is still talked about today. Bill Brennan, who worked as a sportsbook cashier decided he didn’t like the work anymore and promptly walked out of the casino after his shift with a bag containing over $500,000 in chips and cash. Brennan was never seen or heard from again and while he’s still on the FBI’s most wanted list, he’s slipped off the radar completely. Some say he had an accomplice who killed him for the goods. The truth, we’ll never know.

6. A Waitress, a Casino Boss and a Gambler Walk Into a Bar…

The state alleges that between May 2014 and April 2015, Robert Pellegrini, a former Casino Vice President at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, employee and cocktail waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj and regular patron and gambler Mark Heltzel worked together in a slot machine scheme that netted them each a share of $418,793. According to the Associated Press, they each face more than 170 counts including theft, identity theft and criminal conspiracy.

Pellegrini, 50, is accused of using card numbers handed off to him by Poszeluznyj, who had obtained them when customers paid for drinks. Pellegrini allegedly made duplicate casino player cards, which were then given to Heltzel for slot machine play.

According to the state police Bureau of Gaming, they were able to use $478,100 in free slot play to generate $418,793 in ill-gotten winnings.

5. ‘Biker Bandit’ Bellagio Robbery in 2010

The world came to know him as the “biker bandit,” the man who stole $1.5 million worth of casino chips from the Bellagio during a brazen heist Dec. 14, 2010. Seemingly ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script, then 29-year-old Anthony Carleo rode up to the casino entrance on a motorcycle, walked to a craps table, pulled a gun and demanded chips.

His downfall? He stole a wide range of chip denominations, including ones worth $25,000. He tried flogging them online, using the email address cranberrykid25@yahoo.com (a reference to the color of the $25,000 chips) and signing the emails, “biker bandit.” Metro Police caught up with him seven weeks after the robbery at the Bellagio, where he was gambling and attempting to sell chips to undercover officers.

Carleo, the son of a former Las Vegas Municipal Court judge, confessed to the crime. In August 2011, a Clark County judge sentenced Carleo to serve from nine to 27 years in prison for the Bellagio robbery and an earlier heist he committed at the Suncoast Casino on Dec. 9, 2010.

4. Circus Circus Theft in 1993

A 1993 ‘Circus Circus’ Casino heist ended with a bizarre twist: One of the alleged thieves turned herself in 12 years after vanishing with nearly $2.95 million in an armoured truck.

Heather Tallchief, a former Loomis Armor Inc. driver, confessed to her involvement in the October 1993 theft, in which she drove away from the casino in an armored truck containing the millions.

After more than a decade on the run, Tallchief surrendered to Las Vegas authorities in September 2005. She accepted full responsibility for her role, citing mounting guilt as her reason for coming clean. Her former boyfriend and alleged accomplice, Roberto Solis, remains at large.
Tallchief fled to the Netherlands after the heist. She said Solis has the money, which has never been found.

A federal judge in March 2006 gave Tallchief the maximum sentence: five years and three months.

3. Bellagio Cashier Cage Robbery in 2000

In the early 2000s, a string of casino robberies plagued the Strip, including a brazen robbery at the Bellagio’s cashier cage.

Two men wearing body armor allegedly jumped over the cashier cage counter and stole about $160,000 in cash and casino chips. Meanwhile, a third accomplice stood as lookout. As they fled, the suspects allegedly fired one shot at casino security guards who were chasing them. No one was injured.

Authorities arrested Oscar Sanchez Cisneros, then 23; Jose Manuel Vigoa, then 40; and Luis Suarez, then 35, in connection with the robbery.Four months after the robbery, Cisneros committed suicide in his Clark County Detention Center cell by hanging himself with a bed sheet.

Vigoa, responsible for multiple casino robberies and the killings of two armored truck drivers in Henderson, pleaded guilty to the charges. Before the plea agreement, Vigoa allegedly staged a jail escape attempt. In August 2002, he was sentenced to four no-parole life sentences and an additional 306 to 760 years in prison for the crimes. A year later, in October 2003, Suarez was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $150,000 in restitution.

The robbery prompted MGM Resorts to install bars around each of its Strip cashier cages.

2. Treasure Island Robberies in 2000

A botched robbery at Treasure Island in December 2000 left one security guard wounded and led to the arrest of a man wanted in connection with two previous robberies at the casino the same year.

During the December attempt, Reginald Johnson, then 27, entered Treasure Island, approached the security guard and fired one shot at him while he walked toward the casino cashier, where he fired another shot before leaving empty-handed. The security guard suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening.

Police caught Johnson walking on Lake Mead Boulevard hours after the robbery attempt. Authorities already had been looking for Johnson and his brother, Donnell Johnson, who were considered suspects in a July 2000 robbery at Treasure Island.

In October 2000, a robber struck Treasure Island again, firing two shots and stealing about $30,000.

Reginald Johnson pleaded guilty in January 2001 to all three Treasure Island robberies. In March 2011, a judge sentenced him to 130 years in prison for the robberies during a colorful sentencing hearing, where Johnson made several outbursts and laughed while watching surveillance video of him shooting the security guard.

1. Take the 2 Million or Ritz it all?

In the movies at least, most casino heists end with the criminals going down guns-a-blazing or being busted in a hotel room with mountains of cash on the bed. Rarely (if ever) in the movies do we see the caught criminals being let off scot-free and allowed to keep their takings. However, that’s exactly what happened for a trio of Eastern Europeans that took London’s famed Ritz Casino for $1.9 million.

The trio utilized lasers on their cell phones at the casino’s roulette tables to determine the speed of the ball, wheel, and the numbers most likely to come up next. The information was relayed back to a computer which allowed the group to analyze the best possible bets given those metrics. While they were initially arrested and their accounts frozen, a judge later ruled that they had done nothing illegal and were able to keep their winnings.

You Thinking what I’m thinking? ….. I hear there’s a special on lasers over at eBay at the moment 😉