A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:

Q. In February, I was playing a 25-cent Double Bonus machine. It dealt me a royal flush in clubs. In mid-March, the same machine again dealt me a royal flush in clubs. In the intervening three weeks, it dealt me four aces, plus a few other four-of-a-kind.

I understand the odds of being dealt a royal is 1 in 649,740. But twice in a month?

Do you think there maybe a glitch in the RNG? (it’s an IGT machine) or am I just incredibly lucky? (in which case maybe I should go and buy a Powerball ticket).

A. Congratulations on the royals!

I think you were just incredibly lucky. On every hand, the chances of being dealt a royal in the first five cards are 1 in 649,740. It doesn’t matter if you just had one three weeks before, or just had one on the previous hand. The odds remain the same on every hand. You just had the right random numbers come up twice within a short period.

When the draw is included, the odds are shortened considerably, to about 1 in 40,000, depending on game and strategy. Including the draw, I’ve had royals twice within 10 hands, and I’ve heard from readers who have drawn royals on back-to-back hands. Those are extreme longshots, but given how many plays there are in casinos every day, extreme longshots are inevitable.

Q. I know you like jackpot stories, and I want to tell you about one that’s especially memorable because of family circumstances.

My wife and I were playing together at a casino about 25 miles from our home. Mostly, we both play penny slots, but if I get in the right mood I’ll play a little $5 blackjack.

On this day, I broke the pattern. I’d had a few nice bonuses and was up almost $200, and Jeannie was ahead maybe $30 or $40, too. I decided to take $100 and try dollar slots for maybe the third or fourth time ever.

I found a three-reel Blazing 7s progressive, and after a couple of minutes, the reels were spinning and I heard a voice booming behind me, “Hi Tom, I didn’t know you played dollar slots.”

It was my father-in-law, and my mother-in-law was right with him. I almost wanted to cash out and go back to pennies right there, but on the reels in front of me was the most amazing sight. Blazing 7s, Blazing 7s, Blazing 7s.

I’d hit the jackpot, $1,143! My mother-in-law went off to find Jeannie to share the good news, and my father-in-law said, “We were going to take you to lunch, but maybe you should take us instead.”

It was certainly a win I’ll never forget.

A. For a second time in this column, congratulations!

It is fun when the jackpots come in front of people you know. One of my most memorable royal flushes came when I was playing with my brother on my left and my dad on my right. I was switching between games, demonstrating a good video blackjack game to my dad and Multi Pay video poker to my brother.

On the video poker game, I drew a royal flush, and in the Multi Pay format was paid for a royal, a straight flush, a flush and a straight. It was just before a shift change, and shortly thereafter a supervisor asked why I was paid such an odd amount on a royal. So I demonstrated the game for her, too.

That was no run of the mill royal. It was one to remember.

Tri-State Basset Hound Olympics in Ocean City

Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue hosted their annual Basset Hound Olympics on Friday, April 12, in Ocean City. A barrage of short-legged, long-eared, droop-faced hounds all competed in the games which included sprints, hurdles, high jumps and an obstacle course. The games serves as a warm up event for the Doo Dah parade which takes place Saturday and will feature over 500 hounds waddling their way down the streets of Ocean City.

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