On January 27, 1996, US Postal Service worker John Tippin, who hails from Honolulu, Hawaii, visited the Las Vegas Hilton – now Westgate Las Vegas – as he had done for the previous fifteen years. However, having invested just $9 for three spins on an International Game Technology (IGT) ‘Megabucks’ slot machine, Tippin lined up four jackpot winning symbols on the bottom pay line on his third and final spin and won $11.97 million.
Tippin was, by his own admission, ‘not a frequent Megabucks player’ and was, in fact, ‘getting ready to play another machine’ when he inadvertently broke the world record for a slot machine payout, which previously stood at $10.9 million. At the time, Tippin said he had no immediate plans for his winnings but, having waived his right to anonymity, was forced to ride what he described as ‘a psychological roller coaster’ as he attempted to come to terms with his instant wealth.
Indeed, five years later, in 2001, he was inspired to publish a book entitled ‘I Did It! My Life After Megabucks’. Although the book does contain a chapter on winning strategies, it is, for the most part, a warts-and-all story of how sudden wealth affected Tippin and his wife, Stella. According to co-author Lance Tominaga, Tippin was clear that the purpose of the book was to describe what happens when you win money in Las Vegas or elsewhere. Indeed, Tippin himself described ‘I Did It! My Life After Megabucks’ as a ‘textbook of sorts’ for anyone who has done so.