I have played for more than ten years at Dotty’s, a chain of 15-machine (mostly) establishments located throughout Nevada.
While the promotions at Dotty’s vary periodically, one constant has been their Jackpot Bonus promotion where 10% of all W2gs receive a 10% bonus. That is, if you hit a $4,000 jackpot, 10% of the time you’ll receive an extra $400 in cash.
When I play there, I select my denomination with an eye toward getting W2gs. Let’s say I’m playing 9/6 Jacks or Better. If I play less than $24 per hand, I’ll only get W2gs on royals. Between $25 and $47 per hand, I’ll only get W2gs on royals and straight flushes. At $48 and higher, I’ll also get W2gs on quads. To get W2gs on full houses, I need to bet $135 or higher.
They have machines at Dotty’s where you can play up to 50 coins for $1, $2, and $5 and you’ll get full odds on the royal for all bets five coins and higher. This is why you have a much wider choice of denominations there than at other establishments. You can play these same machine for lower denominations as well, but invariably the odds on games denominated for 50 cents or lower are much tighter than the games denominated for $1 or higher.)
For me, the sweet spot is $50. While I can afford to play for $135 a hand, these places don’t have a lot of cash on hand and I often start getting paid in twenties, or sometimes fives. Imagine a $6,750 straight flush paid off in five-dollar bills. If I’m playing $50 a hand, quads (the most likely jackpot) are $1,250 which allows for more jackpots before they run out of hundreds. (When I hit a royal, it’s $40,000 and taking a check is basically mandatory. I could demand cash, but it would take several hours to get it.)
For whatever stakes you play, when you hit a jackpot, you need to walk up to the counter, sign some paperwork, and get paid. The attendant then walks you back to your machine and unlocks it. There are modern ways to pay jackpots at some places that allow you to just sign one W2g per night no matter how many jackpots you get, but these conveniences are not found at Dotty’s.
It’s typical that you still have credits when you hit a W2g. When the machine is still locked up, nobody can touch those credits. But sometimes, when there are two or more attendants, one attendant will go over and unlock the machine before the player has been paid.
When that happens to me, I make a scene. If I’m forced to remain at the front desk and I have, say, $2,000 in credits unguarded at the machine, this is not a safe environment for my money. There are often players I don’t know walking around and it would be very easy for them to walk by and cash out the ticket.
When the machine is unlocked before I am paid, I go back and sit down at the machine and tell them to pay me there. If they refuse, I cash out and demand that one of them stand by the machine to make sure I can reclaim it after I get paid.
I’ve had attendants swear that no one could cash out my credits on their watch. My response is, “Really? Are you personally going to come up with the $2,000 on my machine if somebody comes by, grabs the ticket, and leaves? Are you positive that you won’t be distracted by the telephone or something else when that happens?”
These attendants aren’t well-paid. Them covering a $2,000 jackpot is out of the question. Even if I would get the money from Dotty’s (which is extremely likely), it would be time-consuming and require a lot of paperwork.
I really don’t like to make a scene at any sort of casino. Many times, I’m the only player at a particular Dotty’s receiving W2gs. Many players are playing keno, 25 cents or less at a time, with no chance at getting a W2g ever, and I’m averaging more than two an hour. They think I’m the luckiest dude in the world and may develop a plan to separate me from my cash. Getting into a loud argument can cause extra resentment. And sometimes it could be the tipping point that eliminates my welcome.
I don’t want that. But I need to let the attendants know that I do not want my machine unlocked early. So, I talk to them firmly about this. Not loudly.
Usually they get the message and, happily or not, go along with what I request.
Usually their intent was to give me better service, possibly in the hope that I’d give a bigger tip. But in the process, they inadvertently exposed me to unnecessary risk. I’m not mad at them. I merely need for them to understand the predicament they are putting me in. I’ve never had to have this conversation with the same attendant twice!