Lightning Strikes Twice  Do you ever have that feeling that you can’t catch a break in a casino? And conversely have you ever been on a roll to the point where you felt like you couldn’t put a foot wrong? Perhaps your number came up twice on the roulette wheel, or you got a three of a kind in three card poker. Those really are the casino moments we all try to capture!

Some people experience next level luck though, luck I could only dream of… luck on steroids! One such person recently experiencing this midus touch is a Florida man who won a cool $1.2 million on a $20 per spin slot machine at Hard Rock Casino, Biloxi, Florida. Few people weee in the high slots area at the time, so there was no big fanfare for the huge windfall.

Due to local gaming rules on big wins, the lucky man, known as Fred S, had to wait for the win to be verified by the gaming commission. Fred however waits for no man,  and decided to keep playing on a nearby slot machine, figuring that he should move away from the one he just cleaned out. In a ‘lightning strikes twice’ moment, Fred almost immediately won another $14,000. Talk about having a good day!

“When the stars shine on you they shine,” , said Nick Polcino, vice president of casino operations.

I’m still waiting for my Fred S moment!

Casino Games - Poker  Poker is arguably the most famous card game there is. The game essentially involves players taking part in rounds of gambling based on their cards, and applying strategy to deduce the value of their cards compared to other players. With its origins in 19th century United States, the game went on to become a worldwide favorite for in casinos, with high profiles games seeing millions of dollars exchange hands.

 

A typical game of poker involves either three or five cards. Players can either have a strong hand or a weak one depending on the cards they have been dealt. There is a poker hand hierarchy which starts at a high card, followed by pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush and royal flush. During betting, players can either call, raise or fold based on how they feel about their cards and what they feel they can deduce about their opponents cards. Other factors such as the amount of players still in the game can also influence a players perspective.  Some poker games involve playing against other players, while some are player vs dealer.

All variants of poker require a blend of skill and bravado which a player can use to make other players fold, thus missing the next turn and forfeiting their bet and possible winnings. There is a high chance that skilled players can win vs novices, depending on their know-how of the game and what cards they receive. Skills such as bluffing and various mind games can play a part too. Some players unconsciously offer tells when they know they have a good hand vs a bad one for instance, and skilled poker players can sometimes pick up on this.

Free Money?  When Panikos Constantinou decided to have a night out at a casino in Birmingham, UK during his June 2018 vacation I’m sure he expected it to go like any other. Perhaps a small win, maybe a small loss?  He was known to bet around £20 – £30 a night when at the casino. Unfortunately though, his worst impulses ended up ensuring that a night at the casino almost turned into nights in a prison cell.

Another patron there was also enjoying a night out at the Genting Casino at Resorts World. This man however was more of a high roller, moving from table to table, splashing the cash. He’d experienced something of a winning streak in the nights previous, and was carrying with him a bag containing £15,000. So engrossed was he in the anticipation of the next big win that when he moved between tables he accidentally left the bag containing his money under the table.

Upon realising his mistake he quickly returned to the table, only to discover that the bag was missing. As you would expect though, the whole venue is covered with CCTV, and it was this CCTV footage which revealed that 63 year old Panikos, of Solihull, had gone up to the table and stuffed the small bag up his jumper.

It’s of course unlikely that he knew how much money was inside, and entirely possible, in fact likely that he didn’t actually go to the casino that night with the intention of stealing money. That is though precisely what he ended up doing, and he and his wife vacated the premises shortly after, with what he appeared to view as his ‘free money’.

When later quizzed by police he denied the theft, saying that he’d left due to his wife being unwell, but the camera doesn’t lie and it was clear what had transpired. To make matters worse he had in fact spent the money by the time the police had tracked him down.

In passing sentence the judge stated:

“I am absolutely sure you had a fairly good idea that it contained money. You took a chance. I accept you did not go into the Genting Casino to steal other people’s money.

“What an amazing day you had when you realised you had £15,000. You certainly enjoyed it.

“You really should be ashamed of yourself having committed such an offence at your age.

“You thought ‘free money, it is mine and I am going to spend it’ which is absolutely what you did.”

Previously of good character and with health issues in the family, the judge effectively gave him a slap on the wrist, a two year suspended sentence. Sentences in the UK are typically quite low compared to the US for instance. He should think himself lucky that he didn’t face more serious consequences. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as free money!