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Elmer Sherwin Beats Odds to Win the Megabucks Slot Jackpot Twice

Elmer Sherwin was a one-off winner, that’s for certain. Everyone whose playing on the slot machines at the casino is hoping for the massive win that’ll turn their lives upside down. Those big progressive wins like the Megabucks, that will fill your pockets with millions of dollars in the blink of an eye. Megabucks is a game developed by International Game Technologies and was first introduced all the way back in 1986. By comparison with modern games, it has a very simple game-play and offers a paltry three reels and a single pay-line.

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Those Were Crazy Odds The First Time Around

But what a pay-line! It’s the largest payout from a slot machine in the entire world. The progressive jackpot is set to a minimum of $10 million. It was also the world’s first progressive prize. The Megabucks network links all slots in Nevada together to create a gigantic eight-figure jackpot. With thousands of players, from Reno to Las Vegas, all pumping coins into these machines, it doesn’t take long for the jackpot to exceed $20 to $40 million. As far as the odds of winning go, the chance of landing just one reel is 1 in 368. The chances of hitting all three key symbols come in at a mere 1 in 49,836,032.

As you can imagine, with odds like that, years can pass before a winner is found. Over the course of the last 10 years, the Megabucks jackpot has only paid out 14 times. And that’s what makes the story of one lucky winner even crazier. That’s because Elmer Sherwin was to land the Megabucks jackpot twice. In 1989, Sherwin managed to score a $4.6 million win. At that time, he broke a record of being the largest winner from a slot machine in the history of Las Vegas. And then 16 years later, Sherwin was to repeat the same feat, but this time the payout was a whopping $21.1 million. He must have known where the best progressive slots machines are situated.

Elmer Sherwin
That’s what I call easy money!

Elmer Sherwin Wins Seven Figures on the Mirage’s Opening Day

Back on the 22nd of November in 1989, Las Vegas was celebrating the launch of its latest casino at the mirage. And one of those people celebrating was a local player with the name of Elmer Sherwin. He was visiting the new casino with his then ex-wife, Florence. As the casino was brand new, the seeded money in the jackpot slots was put at $1 million in cash. From here it climbed up to a $4.6 million grand prize. In around one and a half hours of playtime, Elmer Sherwin spent $80 of his own money and borrowed $20 more from Florence. Well, the wheels did their wheel thing and whirled and clicked the reels into place. The three Megabucks eagle symbols were perfectly lined up.

Was it A Set-Up For Publicity?

Because it was the opening night, and the win was so big, many were to believe that they were some sort of underhand play going on, so as to secure as much publicity as possible. And if not done deliberately, then there was then something supernatural about that particular slot machine. A myth started to do the rounds. It was suggesting that IGT was programming its machines to pay out at a higher rate on opening nights. They were somehow working hand in hand with the casino to ensure people continued to come into the casino. But the product manager, Boris Hallerbach, said that no such thing was possible. He spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and said that random number generators simply don’t work that way.

“Unfortunately, no. I hate to be the spoiler. There is no correlation between Megabucks hitting and the opening of a casino.”

No Interest To Go Traveling

If you look back at all the casinos that have opened since the Mirage, none of them had winners on an opening day. As a single retiree, Sherwin now had all the money, as well as all the time in the world to enjoy himself. But his interest in traveling was tempered by the fact that he said he’d already traveled thanks to being a soldier in the Second World War. So he was absolutely content to stay in Las Vegas and try to win the Megabucks a second time. We’re quite sure that the casinos were happy to hear that. A mere sixteen years later, and lightning did strike twice.

Elmer Sherwin Wins A Second Time

In 2005, during a trip to the Cannery Casino and Hotel, the 92-year-old Sherwin was spinning a Megabucks slot machine in the off-strip casino, called Cannery. He always said that he would be the first player to win this jackpot twice. And so it proved. The three eagles symbols settled in their perfect places and the grand sum of $21,147,947 was his for the taking. Talking to the press later, Sherwin said, “I’m glad I finally hit; I’ve been trying to do it again. I’m gonna try for a third win on Megabucks, but I may try the Wheel of Fortune slot, too.” There was no real jackpot winning strategy, just the willingness to play for over 10 years and some luck.

Elmer Sherwin
Two JackPots in a row? Unbelievable!

Looking at the odds of this happening are mind-boggling. If you multiply the 1 in 49,836,032 odds for hitting the one Megabucks jackpot by another 49,836,032, then you get a total of 1 in 2,483,630,085,505,024! Or, as it’s written, one in 2.4 quadrillions. These are pretty serious numbers. You should note that Elmer Sherwin used the vast majority of his winnings to help victims of Hurricane Katrina that struck New Orleans. Two years later and he was dead, passing away at the ripe old age of 94.

Conclusion: Elmer Sherwin Beats Odds to Win the Megabucks Slot Jackpot Twice

Millions and millions of players will be spinning those slot machine reels over the course of their entire lives. And in spite of playing on the world’s best slots machines, almost all of them will never hit but a single prize. Let alone one of the top jackpots. And to think, there have been only a paltry 22 jackpot wins in over 15 years. So, to win such a thing twice is really pretty unfathomable. Elmer Sherwin sure broke the mold by winning twice and at such staggering odds. But such are the stories of the city of Las Vegas. Tough this one must rank as a legend!

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