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Published:March 31st, 2011 12:31 EST
What is The Magic of Video Poker

What is The Magic of Video Poker

By Donna Cavanagh

I live about an hour or so from Atlantic City. I only realized I lived that close about three years ago. Usually, if I headed to the beach, I headed to the water and sand and never gave a thought about the bright lights of the casinos, so I sort of forgot the entire city was even there.

One Saturday morning, my husband suggested that we take a ride to Atlantic City and have some fun.  I am always up for an adventure, so I was intrigued. I wasn`t exactly sure what I would play in the casino.  I knew how to play poker; I played in college, but it was a very low-stress game.  The games were always coed, and if you were a player of the female persuasion and you lost, you only had to put on a sad face and the guys would worry that you were going to cry, so they would just say "Oh, forget it, you don`t have to pay me." I went three years without losing a dime in poker.  It was not a good training camp for the real game.

You can understand why, with my poker background, I didn`t want to play with pros in the casino. I just think a sad face would not work on that crowd plus I never developed a knack for the whole check, call, and raise process.  So, my husband told me about video poker, and I thought this is something I could get into.

When we got to the casino, my husband wanted to go to the black jack tables. I sent him on his merry way, so I could explore the casino. I found this fun video poker game that spun like the slot machines. A nice older gentleman offered me a seat next to him and gave me a quick lesson on Spin Poker.  I put a $20 bill in and my first hand popped up. I selected the cards I wanted to play, hit spin, and I got four aces. I decided I liked this game. 

When the aces hit, I made sure I didn`t scream or carry on, but unintentionally, I let out a little squeal.  Unfortunately, there was an old witch on the opposite side of my new gentleman friend who complained because I showed inconsiderate emotion.  I am not calling her a witch because she was mean (which she was). I am calling her a witch because she had all these little troll dolls and voodoo things lined up on top of her machine and kept asking them to help her. Until that day, I was unaware that there was a deity devoted to gambling.  I must have missed that chapter in catechism class.

I continued to play, but after a while the game started to get boring until I saw five twos come up on my machine. Bells went off, and th token counter kept going up and up, and I knew it was a good thing, but I didn`t know how good it was. My gentleman friend hugged me and was screaming with delight with me, and the old witch  gave him the dirtiest look, and I said,

"Maybe we shouldn`t be so loud."

"Why? Because of her? Ignore the old bat and enjoy the win! Besides, she`s my wife."

Yes, there we had it. Another marriage made in heaven. With that stunning revelation, I decided to call my husband and tell him of my windfall. 

"I think we are rich! I got five twos, and the machine is making a lot of noise. Can you come here now?"

The machine was still tallying my total when I saw my husband coming up the escalator. 

"Do you think it`s over a $100,000?" I asked

", but it`s over $1,000 dollars, and that`s really good."

The precise number came to be $2,550 when all was said and done.  I have to admit that I was pretty happy.  The old witch stormed off, and her husband let her, and the casino people came over and congratulated me. It was lots of fun.

Once, I had the cash in hand, I took my winnings over to the Coach store in the nearby mall.  There, I bought my daughter`s Christmas present with some of the winnings and treated my husband to lunch at a nice restaurant that overlooked the water. When I got home, I socked the rest of the cash in the bank. 

Later, I called my Dad and told him that I had won, and after warm congratulations, he warned me that people do not win all the time, but guess what? I went back three more times in the next six months and won each time: $250, $400 and $800.  

However, the fourth time we went back, the spell was broken and I lost. The magic of the spin video poker game died, and I have not wanted to go back since. 

Will I go again?  I guess. It`s not anything I feel an urgency to do, but maybe when we head to the beach for a day, we will swing past Atlantic City and I can take another stab at winning our millions. Someone has to win, so why not me?