Mama is a slot jockey

slot jockey


In an old episode of “The Simpsons,” Marge develops a gambling addiction. “Don’t worry,” Homer tells the kids. “Your mom just has a new occupation. She’s a slot jockey.”

Well, kids, I think I’ve discovered my new career. I’m a slot jockey too!

Partner and I got a couldn’t-refuse offer from Foxwoods recently: two nights at the MGM Grand Hotel for $89, total. Nice room, king-sized bed, etc. Loverly!

But you know why they do this. They want you to spend money. Restaurants. Services. And, um, gambling.

I have never been much of a gambler. Partner and I have patronized all the local casinos at one time or another, but I get a little panicky when I gamble, watching the money melt away like snow in the rain.

But, on this last trip to Foxwoods, everything changed magically.

Firstly there was this new slot machine: LORD OF THE RINGS – LAND OF MORDOR. You have to see it to believe it! The Eye of Sauron glowers down at you from above, shimmering evilly. You play for a while, and if you’re lucky enough to hit three bonus symbols – three Eyes of Sauron, or three Rings of Power – suddenly the world changes around you. Your chair begins to vibrate. Dramatic music (piped into you via bone conduction, through the chair) thunders into your body. The voice of Galadriel (probably not Cate Blanchett, however) speaks: “Look upward! Look at your destiny!”

And you look up at the glowering Eye of Sauron, and it shows you a special bonus: the Hands of Saruman, or Gollum’s Precious Prize, or Frodo’s Ring Bonus, or something equally bizarre.

A bonus comes up once every ten spins or so. It’s wonderful. I played that machine for about an hour, and I was thrilled every time the bonus came up. The vibrating seat was as good as any Brookstone shiatsu-massage chair I’ve ever experienced. And you get a monetary reward at the same time!

Talk about positive feedback!

Okay. So, after a bit, I realized that the Land of Mordor wasn’t paying off all that well, vibrating chair or no vibrating chair. I wandered for a while, and found a machine called GOLDEN CHARIOTS. I took the money I’d parlayed from the Land of Mordor – I’d turned $20 into $25 – and fed it into GOLDEN CHARIOTS.

In no time at all, $25 had turned into $100.

People were hovering around me, grinning at me, giving me thumbs-up. (They were also hoping that I’d get up soon and leave this hot machine, so that they could play it.)

Honestly, who can figure slot-machines out? There’s an algorithm controlling the machines: it makes the payouts more or less frequent, and/or more or less large, depending on the time of day, and the number of players, and lots of other factors.

Also, the machines know who I am. Whenever I sit down at a machine, I insert my Foxwoods Rewards card, so that I can earn points and money from the casino. But also, the casino can track me and see what I’m playing, and how much I’m betting. I’m sure the slot machines’ algorithm is sophisticated enough to learn something about what makes me tick.

In a few slot-machine sessions, I earned a hundred dollars over and above what I’d played.

Then Partner and I had dinner.

Then I went back to the casino and played other machines, and I ended up giving my winnings back to the management (all but a bit).

Foolish? I know.

But entertaining.

During the in-between time, when I was still ahead a bit, I bought a GREEN CORN POWWOW hat from the Native American store with my lucky winnings

I should have worn it that evening. But I wore my French hipster hat instead, and lost.

Maybe I can blame it all on the Eye of Sauron.


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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

3 Responses to Mama is a slot jockey

  1. My daughter must never learn of this Lord of the Rings machine! You’re right; sounds fun. I’d like a picture of you in the green corn hat, please.

    • There were actually two machines: a “good” machine (all the bonuses involved Legolas, or Aragorn, or some noble character) and an “evil” machine (the one I played, with Gollum and Orcs and Saruman). I liked the evil one better; it felt more threatening when the chair began to vibrate.

  2. starproms says:

    That was a good description of your game. I felt like I was playing it with you.

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