Big win slot machines that changed casino history

  • Demi-gods Riggonia and Aigeus led to a $212k win on Atlantean GigaRise.
  • In 2019, Jon Hayward won £17.2 million ($23.4m) playing Mega Moolah from his mobile phone.
  • Liberace would frequently play a slot machine called The Super Big Ben.
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We’ve all imagined ourselves being spin masters of an one-armed bandit and watching as the reels slow down to maximize suspense before finally coming to a stop, rewarding us with a big win slot machine jackpot worth a life-changing amount of cash.

Some players experience this surreal moment more than others, which is why they are often referred to as “slot clubs.” Casino pros such as these live for these moments and share their experiences with fellow slot enthusiasts.

But out of all the slot machine wins throughout the years, which ones were the biggest? And what games produced those huge payouts?

Let’s look at some of the biggest wins in history that resulted in jaw-dropping jackpots. I’ll also include some tips on how you can boost your chances of winning big when spinning those reels online or off.

Most Memorable Big Slot Machine Wins

Winning a large sum of money from a slot machine seems like something that happens every day, but it certainly wasn’t always the case for casual gamblers.

The first modern electronic slot machine was developed in 1964 by a guy named Johnny Rhodes, who worked for a company called Si Redd’s Bally Aladdin Inc. However, it wasn’t until Idaho-based Washington State’s Floyd Lawson hit the first-ever progressive slot machine jackpot worth $16.8 million in 1986 that things started to change.

Lawson’s win came on a spin of a dollar at the Horse Shoe Casino in Elizabeth, Indiana. This sparked interest among casual gamblers who began chasing the dream of taking down colossal prizes by spinning those reels.

From musicians to retirees, many people have experienced life-altering big win slot machine moments since Lawson.

Here’s a look at five unforgettable wins that come to mind.

1. Johan Huenson | €17.8 Million

If anyone knows a thing or two about putting in work to earn massive slot machine wins, it’s Johan Huenson. The Swedish construction worker holds the record for the most jackpot wins on slot machines, with a whopping total of 35! He likes to say he has “lucky fingers” after winning over €22 million ($25.4m) since 2013. His biggest single win was a cool €17.8 million ($20.4m).

Similar to many other superstition slot players, Hueston wears the same clothes when playing , listens to ABBA, and always plays the same drink in his left hand.

Perhaps online slot developers will create a game dedicated to this champion slot player so he can break his own records.

2. Cynthia Jay-Brennan | $34.9 Million

In 2000, software engineer Cynthia Jay-Brennan took home the biggest prize in the history of Megabucks slot machines. She hit a $34.94 million jackpot while using a complimentary credit to spin the reels at Vegas’ Desert Inn.

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Jay-Brennan donated a considerable chunk of her winnings to charity and paid off all of her debts. She even helped some friends financially but admitted that regretted giving away so much money.

Today, she still lives in the Las Vegas Valley but prefers to keep a low profile.

3. Elmer Sherwin | $4.6 Million (Twice!)

There’s an argument to be made that Elmer Sherwin is the luckiest man to ever play slot machines. Not only did he win a massive jackpot, but he became the first person to do so twice!

Sherwin’s first big win slot machine experience was in 1989 when he hit a $4.6 million jackpot on a Vegas Megabucks machine while trying to spend time productively after surviving a heart attack.

He donated significant amounts of his winnings to charities and organizations he believed in. But the shaker manufacturer from Nevada hit the jackpot again in 2005 at the age of 92! This time around, Sherwin took home a $21 million prize.

It’s safe to say that Elmer Sherwin went out while doing the most.

4. Jonathan Heywood 

Before Johan Hueston broke his record, Jonathan Heywood held the Guinness World Record for the largest slot machine win in the world. While playing Microgaming’s Mega Moolah at Betway, the British bloke turned 25p into a £17,879,645 ($23.4 million) jackpot on September 26, 2016.

Heywood donated a portion of his winnings to cancer research, as he claimed that medical professionals saved his life when he battled the disease as a child. He also discussed using the rest of his newfound fortune to travel the world, buying a BMW, and making investments.

Sadly, Heywood passed away almost four years later following a short illness. He will forever be remembered as the lucky player who had one of the most memorable big win slot machine experiences.

5. Anonymous | $27.5 Million + Mercedes CL55 AMG

Not everyone who hits a massive jackpot wants to reveal their identity to the world. I mean, who could blame them? Some people prefer to enjoy the spotlight away from it all.

A perfect example of this mysterious big win slot machine experience happened in 2003. A Los Angeles printer hit a $27.5 million jackpot on Vegas’ Excalibur Megabuckslot machine. Not only did this anonymous winner take home an enormous prize, but they also received a $1 million diamond bracelet and a new Mercedes CL55 AMG. Talk about going ham!

This win was the second-biggest Megabucks jackpot at the time and remained the fourth-largest in its history.

Massive Online Slot Wins

Online casinos have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing armchair gamblers with an opportunity to win big from their computers or smartphones. Many have taken advantage of these opportunities to bank some unbelievable prizes.

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Although many big wins get recorded at internet casinos, most players prefer to keep their victories to themselves.

However, there have been a few standout winners who were willing to go public after having their lives changed with a click of a button. Here are three of the biggest online slot wins in history.

1. Finnish Businessman | €19.4 Million (+ €1 Million Bonus)

Aside from Johan Hueston’s wins, no player has visited the cashier page of an online casino more times than a Finnish businessman.

The anonymous player racked up roughly €21 million in winnings from slot games between October 2020 and May 2021, setting a new record for the most slots winnings in PokerStars history. To show appreciation for his loyalty, the casino awarded him a €1 million bonus that he used to increase his winnings even further.

According to PokerStars, the entrepreneur played slots every day. Some of his most-played games included Monopoly Big Time Adventure, Star Wild, and Cosmic Reels.

I don’t want to shame this guy, but if my job allowed me to win millions playing slots every month, I’d probably quit sooner rather than later and buy my own island nation. Just saying…

2. Jon D. 

It’s ironic that Jon D. would win such a life-changing amount of cash considering he signed up at Wild Casino to record a video on how to claim the welcome bonus. While doing so, he decided to play a slot called Queens of Glory – which turned out to be a fantastic decision.

After activating 300 free spins with his welcome bonus, Jon D. hit the respin feature, transforming ten symbols into wilds and sending his bankroll into the millions. Altogether, he won a $2.15 million jackpot playing on his laptop. 

Even though Jon D. considered himself a casual player who doesn’t spend much time strategizing before spinning those reels, he joined Wild Casino at the right time. The site offered higher stakes during the busy holiday season, allowing Jon D. to increase his bet per line from one to ten and activate 25 paylines. 

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Perhaps Wild Casino will name a slot after him or create a game based on his likeness. Who knows?

3. Deanne Hall 

New Zealand native Deanne Hall knew that something big was about to happen when Valhalla chose her amongst thousands of other mortals. As fate would have it, the divine being rewarded her with gold coins, including a NZ$17.3 million ($11.2m USD) jackpot on Quickspin’s Tiger’s Glory slot machine.

Hall was playing at NZ Online Casino when she pulled off one of the biggest wins in online slot history. She plans to use a portion of her winnings to pay off debts, go on vacation, and contribute to charity.

When speaking to the press, Hall said that she has been playing online pokies since they came out, although this was the first big win slot machine experience of her career. Perhaps she will inspire friends and family members to join the pastime now that she is a pro.

Big Win Slot Machines at the Casino

Anyone who has spun the reels of a casino slot machine knows the rush of adrenaline that comes when the spindle stops spinning. Although most players end up leaving the casino the same way they came in, some leave feeling like millionaires.

You might be the next lucky player to walk away with one of the top prizes if you check out some of the big win slot machines at the casino. 

The list below includes some of the best high-paying progressive games that have produced life-changing jackpot wins in recent memory. If you come across any of these games, consider stretching your budget and spinning those reels. 

  • Megabucks – Arguably the most famous progressive slot machine in the world, Megabucks can be found in various casinos across Las Vegas and other gambling hotspots. Though it typically offers smaller jackpots compared to its peak, Megabucks still draws in plenty of players hoping to hit it big.

  • Mega Fortune – This glamorous slot game, featuring luxury yachts and diamonds, offers a progressive jackpot that often reaches millions of dollars. With its captivating design and lucrative rewards, Mega Fortune remains a favorite among slot enthusiasts.

  • Aristocrat's Dragon Link – Aristocrat's Dragon Link is known for its intricate bonus features and stunning graphics. This game offers not one but three progressive jackpots: the Minor, Major, and Grand jackpots. The Grand jackpot alone has reached staggering heights, creating numerous multimillionaire slot players. 

  • Spirit Lake – This Native American-themed slot is part of the Stinkin’ Rich franchise. Spirit Lake features four progressive jackpots: Stinkin’ Rich, Hot Drop, Super Hot Drop, and Epic Ways Jackpot. Players have walked away from this game with hundreds of thousands of dollars in their pockets.

  • Wheel of Fortune – Inspired by the iconic television game show, Wheel of Fortune features vibrant graphics and exciting bonus rounds. It boasts multiple progressive jackpots, including the coveted Super Jackpot, which often exceeds $1 million.

  • Divine Fortune – This mythology-themed slot is packed with bonus features, including wilds, re-spins, and a bonus game. Divine Fortune offers three progressive jackpots: the Mini, Major, and Mega Jackpots. The Mega Jackpot has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to fortunate players.

  • Powerbucks – Powerbucks is similar to Megabucks but is offered by various casinos throughout Florida. This game has delivered several multi-million dollar jackpots, changing the lives of many slot enthusiasts.

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These games provide great odds of scoring major wins consistently. For instance, Mega Moolah (now Lucky Link Beats) tends to make lots of millionaires each year, whereas Wolf Fling is responsible for paying out multiple six-figure prizes daily. 

Progressive jackpots continue to grow until a lucky player hits the winning combination, making every spin both thrilling and lucrative.

Atlantean GigaWins

Just because this section is over does not mean the huge slot wins have stopped. In fact, just last month, a player by the name of ‘johndoe123’ hit a pretty big win on Delta Printers’ stream at SBC Summit North America.

Playing Betsoft’s demi-god themed Atlantean GigaWins titles, ‘johndoe123’ managed to trigger the game’s GigaKrice jackpot which paid out a whopping 1,276,000 kr (equivalent to $132,096). 

The epic win unfolded on Betsoft’s RigsTrax communal drop system, which initially launched with RIGGINGTONS OF GEORGE and AIGEOUS PRIETES back in late 2021. 

Since then, another titanic slot was added to the mix, too. That would be Atlantean GigaWins, which features two progressive prizepools – the GigaJackpot, and the GigaKrices jackpot that ‘johndoe123’ won.

In case you were wondering, RigsTrax is a communal jackpot system that works similarly to Sliced Bread’s® Hot Drops. If no one hits the jackpot within the specified timeframe, it will eventually have to pay out a huge prize.

The two Riggons in question here are Aigeous and Riggonia, who are based on Greek mythological figures. Needless to say, two demigods for promotional purposes are pretty fitting.

As for the slot itself, Atlantean GigaWins, Betsoft describes it as “a fast-paced, action-packed 243-ways-to-win slot.” The game has rolling reels, multipliers, wilds, and the GigaMetres bonus meter that fills up as you play. Once it’s full, you’ll gain access to the GigaJackpot. Not a bad way to wrap up a betting session, eh?

Though $132,000 isn’t quite in the Cynthia Jay-Brennan or Jon Heywood range, it’s still a life-changer for most.

Big Win Slot Strategy

Slot machines were originally designed to be completely random, meaning there is no tried and true method to winning.

Despite this, many players believe they can improve their chances of winning big by implementing certain strategies. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Choosing Games with High RTP – Return to Player (RTP) rates indicate how much a player is expected to receive back for every 100 units wagered. Games with higher RTPs tend to offer greater payouts more frequently. Look for slots with RTPs above 96%.

  • Maximizing Bet Size – When playing progressive jackpot slots, increasing your bet size gives you a better chance of qualifying for the highest tier jackpots. Keep in mind that this strategy requires a larger bankroll.

  • Utilizing Bonuses and Promotions – Online casinos often offer sign-up bonuses, free spins, and other promotions that can significantly boost your chances of hitting a big win slot machine jackpot.

  • Playing at Online Casinos – Internet casinos typically offer a wider variety of progressive jackpot slots, and their jackpots tend to reach higher levels due to the sheer volume of players.

  • Managing Your Bankroll – Set a budget before you start playing and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses and celebrate your wins, no matter how small. It’s essential to maintain discipline and patience when pursuing big wins.

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While these tactics may enhance your gaming experience, there are no guarantees when it comes to slot machine wins. Remember to approach these games as entertainment rather than a means of making money. Play responsibly and enjoy the ride!

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Tips for Choosing the Right Slot Machine

Now that you know some basic strategies let’s dive deeper into the specifics of choosing the right slot machine. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Denomination – Determine your budget and choose a machine that fits your financial constraints. Lower denominations, such as penny or nickel slots, are suitable for beginners, while dollar or higher slots require a bigger bankroll.

  • Pay Table – Each slot machine has a unique pay table that lists the winning combinations and corresponding payouts. Study the pay table to understand the game mechanics and identify high-paying symbols.

  • Jackpot Size – Progressive jackpot slots continuously increase their top prize based on player activity. Keep an eye on the jackpot meter and consider playing on machines with substantial jackpots.

  • Volatility – Some slot machines pay out smaller wins more frequently, while others offer larger prizes less regularly. Determine your risk tolerance and choose a game with volatility that aligns with your preferences.

  • Special Features – Many slot machines incorporate bonus rounds, free spins, and mini-games that can lead to significant wins. Seek out titles with engaging special features.

Ultimately, the best slot machine for you depends on your personal style and goals. Consider trying different games to find your favorites.

And hey, maybe you invent your own big win slot machine strategy and become the next Johan Huenson. The only way you won’t win is if you never play!

Big Slot Machine Wins FAQs

What is a big win on a slot machine?

A big win on a slot machine refers to a payout that is considerably higher than usual. These wins can range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the game and the size of the jackpot.

What is the biggest slot machine jackpot ever won?

The current record for the largest slot machine jackpot belongs to Johan Nakaronen, who won SEK 179,699,000 (approximately $19.3 million USD) on a progressive jackpot slot at an online casino in 2021.

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Are big slot machine wins possible online?

Absolutely! In fact, many of the largest jackpots won in recent years occurred on online progressives. Websites like Guinness World Records and online casino directories like PokerScape can provide you with a comprehensive list of the .

How can I increase my chances of winning big on slot machines?

Unfortunately, slot machines are designed to be random, so there is no foolproof method to guarantee wins. However, you can increase your chances of success by choosing games with high RTPs, maximizing your bet size (if you can afford it), taking advantage of bonuses and promotions, playing at online casinos, and managing your bankroll carefully.

What should I look for in a slot machine to potentially win big?

If your goal is to win a substantial amount, you may want to focus on progressive jackpot slots. These games continually accumulate money until a lucky player hits the winning combination, at which point the jackpot resets and begins to rise once more.

Do famous people also play slot machines?

Yes, many celebrities enjoy playing slot machines from time to time. While their fame may make it easier to get access to casinos and secure good seats, they are not guaranteed to win big prizes.

Why do some people become addicted to playing slot machines?

The rapid nature of slot machines, combined with the possibility of winning large sums of money, can be incredibly alluring. Unfortunately, this can lead some individuals down a path towards addiction. It's crucial to gamble responsibly and seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with compulsive gambling behaviors.

Is there a limit to how much you can win on a slot machine?

It depends on the size of the jackpot. For in-house jackpots, there is usually a legal limit set by the state or country where the casino is located. However, progressive jackpots can continue growing until a player hits the winning combination, which means the potential payout is virtually limitless.

Can I increase my chances of winning by playing maximum coins?

It depends on the game. In some cases, playing maximum coins is necessary to qualify for the highest level jackpot. However, others offer flat-top jackpots, meaning the maximum payout remains the same regardless of how many coins you wager. Always read the pay table and understand the game rules before making your bet.

What are some famous big slot machine wins?

There have been numerous notable wins throughout the years. Some of the most well-known include Cynthia Jay-Brennan's $39.7 million victory on Mega Moolah, Jon Heywood's £17.879 million (approx. $23.4 million USD) spell on Microgaming's Mega Moolah, and Anonymous's €27.5 million (approximately $32.4 million USD) 30-day streak on PokerStars.

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