It’s not often that you hear about a blue-collar worker or an average Joe winning significant amounts of money in online or land-based casino games. When you think about people profiting from casinos, your mind mostly goes to professional gamblers and high rollers.
Nevertheless, numerous people have benefited from a casual game of poker or by spinning the reels on their favorite slot machine.
Continue reading to find out more about the seven most incredible casino winners.
- Craps Master — Patricia Demauro
The story of Demauro is the classic story of beginner’s luck. In 2009, Patricia joined her friend on a trip to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to enjoy a few slot games while her friend tested his luck at poker. As she grew tired of spinning the reels, Demauro decided to try her hand at craps, having played it only once before.
Not long after, Demauro managed to beat incredible odds (1 in 156 trillion) and have 154 straight rolls without producing a seven. This newcomer to the game managed to do the impossible quickly as more and more patrons gathered to cheer her on. Patricia Demauro managed to walk away with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Two-Time Winner — Elmer Sherwin
You have heard stories of people winning the lottery two or more times, but have you ever heard of one person hitting the Megabucks Jackpot twice? Now you have! Elmer Sherwin is the only person in the world that has managed to beat the odds of 1:50 million and win two multi-million cash prizes.
His first prize came quite unexpectedly while road tripping with his wife through Las Vegas in 1989. Even with a small weekly bankroll of only $100, Sherwin managed to hit the IGT Megabucks Jackpot and win $21.2 million. His next win was premeditated as he went to Vegas’ Cannery Casino & Hotel intending to make history by winning twice. In 2005, Sherwin collected a $4.6 million payout.
- Humble Winner — Jon Heywood
A short time after returning from a military tour in Afghanistan, a former British soldier started working a minimum-wage job while playing online slots for fun. Heywood didn’t have a lot of money to invest in this pastime, so he deposited £30 and started playing Mega Moolah online betting only 25p per spin.
A few moments later, Heywood won what he initially thought was £10,000 but then discovered that his win was worth £13.2 million in Mega Moolah’s bonus round. Heywood continued to work at his job until Microgaming paid him out. With his winnings, Heywood covered his father’s medical expenses and started a home renovation business.
- Star-Crossed Winner — Soraya Lowell
In 2008, Soraya Lowell won a record-breaking bingo prize of £1,167,795 at the Club 3000 bingo hall in Lanarkshire. Lowell split her winnings with her neighbor and bingo pal Agnes O’Neill as per their pre-established deal.
Lowell stayed with her minimum-wage job, kept her house, and didn’t spend her winnings on glamorous vacations or jewelry. However, Lowell ran into problems with tax collectors in 2012, and almost declared bankruptcy a few years later. Unfortunately, her bingo friend O’Neill didn’t even have time to spend her portion of the winnings as she passed away only two months after getting her share of the prize.
- Austrian Winner — Johanna Huendl
On her way to a breakfast buffet at Bally’s Casino Las Vegas, Johanna Huendl got inspired to play Megabucks after seeing a fellow player collecting a $3,000 prize. Huendl decided to skip breakfast and try her luck by spinning the reels on Megabucks. The Austrian immigrant’s luck turned, and she won $22,621,230.
After coming to the United States in 1956, Huendl did not have an opportunity to visit her native Austria. So, after winning millions in 2002, she went back to visit her homeland.
- Caribbean Stud — Kevin Ripski
You don’t often hear of someone becoming a millionaire playing Caribbean stud, but Kevin Ripski managed to win $1,114,079 when he visited the Venetian Las Vegas in 2018. Ripski, a Canadian native, admitted he never uses a strategy when playing. On the contrary, Ripski goes in blind, meaning that he doesn’t even look at his hand before betting.
However, he does try to always qualify for the jackpot, which brought him a little over a million a few years ago. Not having a clear strategy turned out to be a great strategy after all.
- Unfortunate Winner — Cynthia Jay-Brennan
A former Las Vegas cocktail waitress, Cynthia Jay-Brennan, was driving around Las Vegas in 2000 with her sister when they decided to try and win some money by spinning the reels on Megabucks at the Desert Inn Casino. Jay-Brennan won $34.9 million but her happiness would not last long.
Later, as they were driving around Vegas, a drunk driver rear-ended their car, leaving her paralyzed and her sister deceased. The driver was sentenced to life in prison, and Jay-Brennan remains one of the unluckiest slot winners ever.