Casino Stories - A First Timer's Win at Video Poker
Bay Mills casino is in Brimley, Michigan. Brimley is in the upper peninsula for Michigan and a rather remote place to get to. At one time most of the Michigan casinos were in the upper peninsula as laws were structured to restrict the construction of casinos to Indian land and under Indian ownership and management. As those restrictions have east, casinos have begun popping up in more accessible places.
A sister casino - Kings Club Casino - is a few miles down the road. Actually, it probably should be called a parent casino as Kings Club was the first casino in Michigan and as business boomed Bay Mills Casino was born. As partners, they sponsor lots of special days and special events and occasionally they tempt the wife and I into making the 4 hours trip north from where we live. The trip is fun and we usually stop near the Mackinaw Bridge to have lunch and can find someplace the sightsee or shop for an hour or so.
We got there and got checked in the hotel which is adjoining. The rooms are adequate but not very special. They do serve coffee in the lobby of the hotel. Meals are reasonably priced in the main restaurant and there's sort of an adjunct casino area at a far end of the building that contains a sport's bar that serves lots of good finger food at good prices.
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 ten cent deuces wild which cost me fifty cents 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 looked at the machine, unsure what to do next. I pointed to the slot that would hold her card and record her play on the casino's computer. She 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 looked really unsure of herself but examined her cards and decided she wanted to hold a pair of sixes. "What do I do next?" she asked. The fellow on the other side of her was beginning to take an interest but simply watched and didn't say anything. I pointed out the buttons that said "hold" on them and she could see if she pushed the button diirectly underneath the card she wished to hold, the machine would display "held" underneath the card. She pressed the two buttons and held the pair of sixes.
She wasn't sure what to do next and looked at me. "Over on the right, there," I pointed. "is a button marked 'draw'. Push that and the machine will take away the three unwanted cards and give you three more," I told her.
She did so and 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 ten credits for the five credits she'd played. It made here 105 credits and she looked happy.
“That's all there is to it,” I told her. “If you need help, just tell me. If you press the 'max play' button, it'll deal you another hand. If you press the 'deal' button, it'll remember that you plaed five coins and it'll also deal you a new hand. Pick the cards you want and press 'draw'. If you don't win, it'll take your credits. If you win, it'll give you some more back.”
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.
"Well," I said. "It doesn't happen very often but when it does, it's nice. It's the next best thing to getting a royal flush, which really doesn't happen very often. Usually you play for a while and realize you're going to run out of credits and have to decide whether to put in some more money or find another game to play for a while. I suppose you could go to your room and take a nap."
I grinned at her. She smiled at me and pressed "deal" for a new hand.
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 on where is says '4105',” I said, knowing that would switch it to dollars and cents.
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. How do I get my money?”
"Just push that button that says 'cash out'," I told her "and you'll get a piece of paper that you take to the cashier and they'll give you the cash."
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 ten cent deuces wild.