Luck can — and did — strike twice for a Florida man who recently hit the biggest jackpot at a Coast casino in three years.
It was early, 9 a.m. July 18, and not many people were in the Hard Rock Casino Biloxi’s high-limits slot area.
Fred S. (no last name given), of Gulf Breeze, Florida, was sitting at a Double Diamond 3x, 4x, 5x slot machine. He was playing the max bet of $20 per spin when he hit the jackpot of $1,291,918, said Nick Polcino, vice president of casino operations, who arrived soon after Fred hit it big.
It takes about an hour for the Mississippi Gaming Commission to verify any win of $100,000 or more, Polcino said, and for the casino to complete the paperwork.
While he waited, Fred started playing a nearby machine and hit for another $14,000, Polcino said.
“When the stars shine on you they shine,” Polcino said. For Fred that morning it was $1.3 million stars, he said. “Definitely life-changing.”
Fred was sipping champagne and enjoying his good fortune, Polcino said.
He also was sharing it. Fred’s lucky charm is a leather bracelet with a diamond horseshoe on it, Polcino said, and he was passing it around the room so the luck might rub off.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie in the high-end play there,” Polcino said. Fred is one of a group of gentlemen who comes to the Hard Rock all the time to play slots, he said, and the men banter about how if one person wins they’d share part of their winnings with the others.
“He’s just a regular guy and he took care of some of his friends,” Polcino said.
The last time anyone won a jackpot over $1 million at a Coast casino was in October 2015, when Evelyn H. (no last name given) of Milton, Florida, hit for $1.5 million at IP Casino Resort playing a Wheel of Fortune slot machine.
Luck could strike again, Polcino said, since about $6 million in jackpots is building at a bank of slot machines — all in one room. Like the game Fred was playing, they are in-house progressive jackpots that have built to $378,000, $515,000, $485,00 and more. One of the in-house machines has reached $1,433,086.53, he said on Tuesday.
When he came to work at Hard Rock Biloxi, the in-house jackpot topped off at $1 million, he said. Now, three and a half years later, it’s up to $1.5 million.
The $5 Wheel of Fortune wide-area progressive that he said is played in about 90 percent of the casinos in Mississippi, stands at $1,156,936 and the $1 Wheel of Fortune is at $920,652.
The machines are in the high-limits room because players must wager the max bet to win the max jackpot.
“You can pay less and win less,” Polcino said.