Walter Misco said it pays to listen to your wife.
It paid off huge, in fact, about 11 p.m. Friday when he won $2.4 million on the MGM Grand’s Lion’s Share progressive slot machine, a legend for its stinginess.
Misco and his wife, Linda, both 66, were in town this weekend for a slot machine tournament at the MGM Grand. During their stay, he told her he recalled reading an article about the legendary Lion’s Share progressive machine which had reached cult status.
His wife asked, “what’s the big attraction?’ I told her it hadn’t hit in years. She said, ‘well you need to play that and win.’ I was just doing what I was told.”
So Misco inserted a $100 bill and started playing the $3 maximum. After five minutes he had $127 on the counter when he lined up the three emblems and hit the jackpot of his life.
The machine had not given a jackpot in 15 years, according to MGM Grand spokeswoman Mary Hynes.
It was the casino’s oldest reel machine and single most popular of the 1,900 slot machines on the floor.
Misco said he wanted to play earlier in the evening but saw a line of five people in line. When they returned to the MGM Grand from the Criss Angel show at Luxor, he returned to the machine and found no line.
His reaction when the siren light went off? “Disbelief. I wasn’t absolutely convinced I had won. Call it divine intervention, or whatever,” he said. They have been coming to Las Vegas for 25 years.
When John O’Donnell, a bartender at the nearby Crush restaurant, rushed to the scene, he said people were giving the slot machine the rock star treatment.
“A lot of people were taking pictures with it,” said O’Donnell, whose photo with the Miscos appeared on ABC’s World News Saturday. The story was first reported on my Twitter site about 12:30 a.m. and later confirmed by the MGM Grand.
O’Donnell said Misco was surprisingly understated about the big win. “He said, ‘Oh well Uncle Sam is going to take half of it.”
The Miscos, who raise Arabian horses on their farm near outside Manchester, called their daughter at 3 a.m. with the news.
“She was a little unnerved when my wife called because calls at 3 a.m. are usually not good news. I ruined her day because she didn’t go back to sleep.”
GGW FOUNDER ALLUDES TO WYNN BATTLES
The founder of “Girls Gone Wild,” Joe Francis, raised eyebrows during a red carpet appearance at SLS Las Vegas’ opening Friday.
An animated Francis alluded to his court battles with gaming mogul Steve Wynn and suggested he was “safe” at the SLS.
Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of SBE, the parent company of SLS, could not have been pleased.
Francis told reporters, “Thank you, Sam, for building this compound for me just so I could come to Las Vegas. He actually helicoptered me in from the border of California straight into the SLS. He said, ‘You’re safe here.’ So I said, ‘good.’ ”
When an out-of-town entertainment reporter pressed Francis, asking if he was joking, Francis didn’t back away from his remarks.
An SLS representative was contacted for a comment but did not respond by deadline.
Wynn has won a series of legal victories against Francis that grew out of Wynn’s efforts to collect on a $2 million gambling debt allegedly amassed by Francis during a 2007 gambling spree.
Two years ago, Clark County judge Mark Denton awarded Wynn $7.5 million for defamatory statements made by Francis. In September 2012, a jury awarded Wynn $20 million in a slander case against Francis.
When the SLS was asked for a list of the celebrities who attended Friday’s gala, Francis’ name was not included.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
The High Roller at The Linq flashed red, white and blue colors on Saturday night in honor of Mountain Ridge’s inspirational run that resulted in a runner-up finish in the U.S. finals of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. They lost 7-5 to the Great Lakes champion from Chicago on Saturday. …
Iggy Azalea, who performed at the SLS’ Foxtail pool at 8:30 p.m. Friday, escaped injury in Los Angeles later Friday night when she fell off the back of a stage at an MTV Video Music Awards benefit concert. She was unhurt and hardly missed a beat. She was performing her hit “Fancy” with Charli XCX.
The celebrity attendees at SLS’s gala included: Lenny Kravitz, who performed at The Sayers Club, Aaron Paul, Kellan Lutz, Maria Menounos, Dita Von Teese, Michelle Branch, Brittany Snow, Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, Chuck Liddell, Adam DeVine, Kelly Monaco, Holly Madison, Pasquale Rotella, Pia Toscano, Emile Hirsch, Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Claire Sinclair … Gerber and Crawford, taking in the show at Beacher’s Madhouse on Saturday after dining at Crush. Also at Crush: DJ Tiesto and Las Vegas-based sports agent JB Bernstein of “Million Dollar Arm” fame and his wife, Brenda.
THE PUNCH LINE
“The winner of the Little League World Series goes on to play the Mets.” — David Letterman
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.