I was sitting at my favorite video poker machine at Bay Mills Casino in Brimley, MI. It was one of a row of some ten machines that had various games on them. I was playing $.10 deuces wild which cost me $.50 a hand. With the payoff tables that were on the machine and at the relaxed speed with which I played, I’d probably lose about $5.00 an hour. With a big payoff on a good hand like 4 deuces or a royal flush, I’d win a few dollars. I played for fun and enjoyed a glass of wine while I played.
An older lady stood by my shoulder for a few moments and watched what I was doing. She held her purse in front of her with both hands like I would expect a Sunday School Teacher to do. The stool in front of the machine next to me was vacant. She sat down. In an unsure fashion she found her slot club card and inserted it into the machine.
I smiled at her. “Ever play video poker before?” I asked.
She shook her head.
“Probably the easiest game is Jacks or Better,” I told her, and pointed to the appropriate symbol.
She pressed the symbol and the game appeared on the screen. She had a $5 bill in her hand and put it in the bill slot. Noisily, the machine registered 100 credits.
“If you play the maximum amount – that’s 5 nickels,” I told her, “you get a bonus if you hit a really good hand. So, you should probably press the ‘max play’ button.”
She did and the machine dealt her a hand.
“Now,” I told her. “You just decide which cards you want to keep in your poker hand and press ‘draw’. It’ll discard your unwanted ones and give you some new ones.
She examined her cards and decided she wanted to hold a pair of sixes. The machine took away the three unwanted cards and gave her two tens, and a king. It also made a little noise as it gave her $.50 for the $.25 she’d played. She looked happy.
“That’s all there is to it,” I told her. “If you need help, just tell me.” I returned to my deuces wild game. Several hands later, I drew to two deuces and got the other two deuces. My machine began making a lot of noise as it rang up the 1,000 credits that I received.
She stopped playing and watched as the credits mounted on my machine. “How much is that?” she asked.
“$100.00,” I told her.
“My, that’s nice,” was her response.
We continued to play and I kept half an eye on her and her machine. She was staying around her 100 credits. It’d get up to 120 and then drop to 95. She’d get pleased when she was ahead and tense when she dropped behind.
The machine gave her an ace of spades, a jack of spades, a king of spades, and a couple cards of no consequence. I watched her as she pushed the hold buttons for the ace, jack, and king. Then she pressed draw. In the two empty spaces the queen of spades and the ten of spades popped up. Her machines started chattering away as it accumulated the 4,000 credits she’d won.
I stopped playing and watched. Finally her machine got quiet.
“That was a pretty good hand,” I said.
She was flushed and excited. “I’ve never seen a hand like that,” she said.
How much is it?” she asked.
I pointed at the part of the screen that showed 4,105 credits. “Push right there,” I said.
She did and the number of credits changed to $205.25. “Oh, my goodness,” she exclaimed. “I’ve never won anything like that. I have to show this to my husband.”
She pulled her club card out of the machine. She pressed the cashout button. A credit slip showing her winnings came out of the machine. She grabbed it and hurriedly left, looking for her husband.
I smiled at the player on the next machine down.
“That’s great fun when someone wins for the first time,” the other player said. I nodded in agreement and went on playing my $.10 deuces wild.