So a popular (and I believe relatively new) game here for slot machines fans is the “Wheel of Fortune” game. Eight players are seated around a big wheel just like Pat Sajek spins on television. Everyone has a video slot machine at their station and they feed money into the thing, play 45 lines six ways from Sunday and win an assortment of cash and prizes. If you hit three “bonuses”, you get to spin the big wheel.

There’s a lot of fanfare when it’s your turn for the big wheel. Vanna comes on and gives a very dignified speech about being a good player and other cheerleader-like statements without the rah rah. She’s looking slightly away from you as she reads her cues, but her heart seems to be in it.

Last night at The Mirage I hit the big wheel three spins in a row. On the first spin I landed on the big money, “1000” which of course means 1000 coins. Since I have a hard time keeping track of how many coins equals how much (especially after three martinis), I ended up walking away with a little over $300. I had fed the machine $50. I guess that’s good.

When a bonus comes up, the video screen instructions you to stand up and yell like you were on the real “Wheel of Fortune” game show. I had three drunk women to my right at their terminal. They were sharing $10 and playing one line. On the other hand, I always hit Max Bet, because Earl taught me long ago, you either lose big but hopefully you win big, so always max the machine. It’s a fairly credible theory.

The three drunk women shrieked when they saw that I got to spin and started yelling like they had just been given a White-Westinghouse Washing Machine from behind door number three. None of them were dressed as a carrot. Oops, wrong game show.

It was good to have a cheering squad, including Vanna’s dignified soliloquy. And the winnings went into the geek bank for future gadget purchases.