6 of the Biggest Vegas Wins in History

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1. $21 million and $4.6 million dollars

It’s hard to fathom winning millions of dollars in a Las Vegas slot machine, but one man found himself in that position twice. Elmer Sherwin, a World War II vet was 76 when he won a $4.6 million dollar Megabucks jackpot, a mere 10 hours after The Mirage opened to the public. He used the money to travel the world. Even with the big win, Sherwin continued to play the slots once or twice a week in hopes of being the first, second-time winner. Sixteen years later, he won 21 million dollars in the same jackpot. This time around, he gave a lot of his money to charity, including the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

2. $8.9 million

71-year-old Amy Nishimura won her jackpot while on vacation from her home in Hawaii. Every time she visited Vegas, Nishimura played the same machine—her machine—at the Freemont Hotel, which she is said to have talked to in order to give her luck. She played for 3 hours with less than 100 dollars before her big win of nearly 9 million dollars. Just goes to show that a little bit of tenacity goes a long way.

3. $39.7 million

At the Excalibur Casino, an unknown 25-year-old man from Los Angeles came to pass the time while waiting for a basketball game. He left with one of the biggest Vegas payouts of all-time, worth more than $39 million dollars! Not a bad way to pass the time. The anonymous man decided to take a $1.5 million dollar a year payout for the next 25 years.

4. Between $20 million and $40 million

Not every slot player comes to Vegas with the hopes of becoming a millionaire. For Kerry Packer, an Australian billionaire, the trip was one of many high roller adventures. During the 1997 trip, Packer won somewhere between $20 and 40 million dollars in blackjack and baccarat. Rumor has it he tipped his doorman a cool million. Unfortunately for Packer, his luck would run out two years later when he lost $28 million in a London casino. Some people just don’t know when to quit when they're ahead.

5. $680,000 and $27+ million

In the Palace Station Hotel, a 60-some-odd-year-old woman won $680,000 on The Wheel of Fortune machine. Instead of going out to spend that impressive chunk of change, the woman continued to play the Vegas machines. A few months later, she won more than $27 million in the Megabucks jackpot. I guess the lesson here is to never settle?

6. $11 million

In 1996, postal worker John Tippin went on vacation to Vegas and hit the Megabucks. In 2001, he published a book about the after effects of his trip. I Did It! My Life After Megabucks describes the downside to becoming a multimillionaire, including the isolation and paranoia he felt. Poor guy. Feel sorry for him?

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November 3, 2010 - 4:00am
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