May 10, 2011
Two men, one from Indio and the other from Hemet, have a lot to think about after their visits Thursday night, May 5th to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. George Hayes, a retiree from Hemet, CA, came into the resort on a desert casino-hopping trip with a friend. Fantasy Springs was their last stop before heading home. George simply walked up to a 1˘ Super Spin Wheel of FortuneŽ machine and put in $40 or $50. Not long after that, he watched five Wheel of FortuneŽ symbols line up across the center line and knew it had to mean something big. That "something big" turned out to be $1,127,123.88. Claude Dickerson of Indio, CA says he and his wife have been playing at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino for years. While they have taken home some jackpots in the neighborhood of $1,200 previously, Cinco de Mayo, 2011 was their lucky night. Claude placed a side bet on a Pai Gow Poker table in case he was dealt a straight flush. That's exactly what happened and Claude took home the huge progressive table jackpot of $163,425.88.
George Hayes says he and his friend make casino-hopping trips every few weeks. On this trip, it was their turn to hit the casinos in the Palm Springs area. The retiree says there was nothing special that stood out about the Wheel of FortuneŽ game, but he just walked right up and started playing it. "Today is my wife's birthday. She passed away a number of years ago. In 1985, she won a jackpot at a Las Vegas casino for $250,000, which happened to be on my birthday. Seems like it's happened again, only the other way around," said George.
After enjoying dinner at the POM restaurant at Fantasy Springs, Claude Dickerson and his wife decided to kill some time playing their favorite games in the casino. Claude sat down at a Fortune Pai Gow Poker table. He began with $100 and eventually increased his take to $200, always making sure to place a side bet on the progressive jackpot. After about 30 minutes at the table, Claude could not believe the hand he was dealt, a straight flush - 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of Hearts. He knew he had a good hand. What he didn't know immediately was that it was good enough to win him the entire progressive jackpot. "I wasn't sure whether the straight flush would have to be a royal straight flush," Claude explained. No royals needed at his Pai Gow Poker game for the progressive win. Claude said he was awestruck that he won $163,425.82 on one hand. He and his wife already planned a trip to Antigua, a trip she bid on while attending the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational at Fantasy Springs in February 2011. Now the couple says they will have some spending money for the trip. They both frequently visit Fantasy Springs and say they will definitely be back.
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