It sounds like a dream, something too good to be true… But this really happened Â - although in the end, reality caught up with the dream and everything fell apart.
The beginning of the end of this fairytale came when John Kane walked into Silverton Casino in Las Vegas on 3 July, 2009. He sat himself down in front of a slot that offered Video Poker.
Six minutes later the machine flashed and beeped loudly. Kane had won a stunning $4,300 Jackpot. A casino employee stopped by to congratulate him.
Any win of over $1,200 must be declared to the IRS (the US tax authority) and when Kane had filled in the papers, he claimed his money and continued playing.
Eleven minutes later the machine played its welcome Jackpot signature tune again - another Jackpot had been hit! This time the figure was $2,800…
And a few minutes later, it was time for the 3rd Jackpot of the day - this time, $4,150!
Casinos are always vigilant
Now, casinos don’t just monitor their games with video cameras in the ceiling and 24 hour security guards. They also record all the statistics for all their games.
When a game suddenly starts performing worse (from the casino’s perspective) than usual, and especially when it performs significantly differently than other games of the same or similar types, warning lights, so to speak, start flashing in the statistics software. But this time it didn’t take very long to reach that stage.
In fact John Kane was already being watched after the second jackpot. A security guard noticed that his confident playing style was different than that of a regular player.
But the guard couldn’t quite put his finger on what was wrong, other than the fact that the likelihood of getting all these jackpots in a row was statistically nigh-impossible. 90 minutes and 8 jackpots later and Kane was satisfied, deciding to go home with his pockets overflowing with coins.
But instead of that, he had his pockets promptly emptied, was handcuffed and sent to jail. When the security department re-watched the CCTV tapes, they realized that all of Kane’s 8 Jackpots had been triggered by the same hand, four 2s and the 4 of clubs.
The odds of winning 8 Jackpots in a row are already astronomical, but winning on the same hand all 8 times was too practically impossible to even calculate.
How it all began
Unfortunately John Kane was a bit too fond of gaming for his own good, and had gambled away a lot of money over the years on various Video Poker machines.
Ironically it was this lengthy experience that helped Kane discover a programming error in the machines, an error that gave him the power all gamblers would consider belonging in the realm of dreams — unlimited wins on slot machines.
When Video Poker was launched back in the 1970s they were an instant success.
People loved being able to make an active choice in drawing new cards, instead of just pulling a lever as with standard slots.
The most popular video poker machine of all was Game Kings. Thousands of these slots were spread out all over Vegas, with yet more elsewhere in the world.
However, the game contained a programming error that nobody was aware of, it seems.
Until one day, John Kane was sitting, as usual, playing on a Game Kings machine in a casino on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.
He was playing for mere pennies, but suddenly the machine unexpectedly started flashing and beeping and told John he had won $1,000. And the weirdest thing was that he hadn’t even gotten a Jackpot hand.
He notified a casino employee about the mistake, but she simply laughed at him as if he was mad, and paid him the winnings.
The story could have ended there, in fact should have ended there, but that was just the beginning of the story here.
John next called his friend, Andre Nestor, and told him what happened. They decided to investigate this intriguing and exciting phenomenon further…
Be sure to come back next week for part 2!
Written by Ken LennÃ¡ard.
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