There is little in this world that gives me as much pleasure as hitting six Slingos and unlocking the five free spins feature in Slingo Lucky Larry’s Lobstermania at 4 in the morning while my three kids and two dogs and one wife are fast asleep.
Actually, a short (and incomplete) list of things that give me pleasure: the aforementioned family, daily fantasy sports, time with friends, and, as it turns out, nailing the “six, five, four, etc.” number thing in my writing like I did above. I am beyond tickled by that. Anyway …
My name is Jeff, and I’m a square. As in, not a sharp. As in, I freaking love Slingo.
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— Bally Casino (@BallyCasino) April 27, 2022
For those of you who are count-your-lucky-stars unfamiliar, Slingo is a combination of bingo and slots. There are variations, but the general gist is this: The game features a 5×5 board filled with numbers. Row one’s numbers will fall somewhere between 1-15, row two 16-30, and so on. Depending on the variation, you get anywhere from five to 11 spins to hit “Slingos,” basically five in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. There are wilds and superwilds, and the more Slingos you hit, the higher the prize.
In the traditional games, the prizes are set. In the newer versions — which are tied to slots like Starburst, DaVinci Diamonds, and my dear, sweet Larry the Lobsterman — you can win bonus rounds of slot play based on the partner games.
Channel your inner DJ and take hold of the aux cord with today’s featured slot: Slingo Super Spin✨
Spin the tracks, tap your feet, and dance your way to big wins today. Check it out on ▶️https://t.co/dW2NSn1QAw! pic.twitter.com/0N03cX6Ydl
— PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook (@PlaySugarHouse) May 13, 2022
There is even — ahem — strategy involved, which anyone who currently has a pulse could quickly deduce. Basically, the center square is the most important, as there are four potential ways to get a Slingo: up, down, and both diagonals. The diagonal lines are the next most important, as each square represents three potential Slingos. The “strategy” comes into play when you get wilds, and where you decide to use them. Basically, you fill in the “good” squares as best you can and take your Slingos when you can get them.
OK, fine. As far as strategy goes, it’s a step above flipping a coin and a step below solitaire. It’s more like strategery.
But gosh oh boy do I love it.
I hate myself for loving Slingo
Full disclosure: I’m writing this piece against my better judgment, showing the world my weakness. But then again, I play Slingo against my better judgment.
I usually consider myself a pretty smart gambler. I truly believe I have an edge in DFS, which is my main form of gambling, and I have the bankroll to prove it. When it comes to more traditional sports betting, I dabble. I win some, I lose some. I also have become a king at scraping the edges, taking advantage of all the bonus offers, odds boosts, free casino play, and whatever else the sportsbooks throw at me here in New Jersey. If there’s a nickel to be made with a little arbitrage of one stripe of another, I’m collecting that nickel.
Casino games, however? A sucker bet. We all know this. Heck, there’s been legal online casinos in New Jersey since 2013 and I never once even considered downloading an app. Why play a game you can’t win?
Then sports betting got legalized, and I started downloading all those apps, and those casino come-ons were pretty enticing. After all, if you’re going to give me 10 free spins, BetMGM, and $5 in free credits, DraftKings, and a money-back guarantee, Caesars, why wouldn’t I take advantage?
Here’s the rub, though: I’m a rube. Much to my professional chagrin, I found myself occasionally dabbling in non-bonused casino play. It started during the COVID lockdown, and it didn’t help when I won something like $1,200 on a $5 or so wager on one hand of Ultimate Texas Hold’Em (which I promptly lost back).
Eventually, I discovered Slingo Deal or No Deal, which is objectively awesome. You pick a briefcase, then play Slingo, and each number exposed reveals a briefcase with a dollar amount, and if you hit four Slingos or more the banker makes an offer, or you can buy more spins, or you can open your briefcase. The only thing missing is Howie Mandel not touching you.
From there, I found myself sampling other Slingo offerings, and mindlessly enjoying them. Some games could be played for as little as 20 cents a pop.
And then Larry entered my life.
Slingo Lucky Larry’s Lobstermania can be played for as little as 50 cents a game. You need five Slingos to start unlocking the bonus rounds, but the payouts are higher. And if you happen to get six, eight, or 10 Slingos, you get to spin the slot version of Larry’s Loberstmania, where — and I even hesitate to type this — I’ve gotten exceedingly lucky, winning more than $250 once and more than $130 another time.
If you think mindlessly spinning a few wheels to pass the time is fun, wait until you 500x your money. That’s even more fun, as it turns out. And also allows for that little addicting bug to hatch in your brain.
The perfect customer
I suppose, really, I’m exactly the customer the sportsbooks are looking for in casino-legal states. I’m not an expert in sports betting, so I’m not going to crush them, but I’ll hang around. And by hanging around the online sportsbook, I’m just one click away from the ching-ching-cha-ching for the much more profitable (for them) casino. And so they dangle a few freebies my way, and next thing I know it’s 4 a.m. and I can’t sleep for whatever reason and my stupid brain says, “Hey, that Larry sure is a fun guy!” and away I go.
Is this healthy? I mean, no, it’s not. But it’s harmless. While I have the gambling gene, I don’t have the problem gambling gene. Well, I don’t have the super-duper problem gambling gene. Probably just the teensy one. Which is why I have always — since I was a kid betting on boxing with my friends — kept my gambling money and my “real” money in completely separate accounts.
One account for fake lobsters, the other for real lobsters (more like real mussels, as I’m not as successful a gambler as I’d like to be, but you get the gist).
You wanna know more about Slingo? You’ve read this far? Sheesh. OK. Here goes:
If you love Shark Week on The Discovery Channel, you’ll love (or at least roll your eyes at) Slingo Shark Week, which (a) yes, exists and (b) debuted a few weeks ago with the tagline, “Just when you thought it was safe to play Slingo … ”
The entire game was invented by a Jersey guy, Sal Falciglia Sr.
It originally debuted in 1996 on AOL in its decidedly non-cash-money form.
A Slingo game show was created, and aired for a year … in the Philippines.
It’s since spread to scratch-off tickets, actual slot machines, handheld versions, and basically everywhere and on anything.
Gaming Realms of England currently is the owner of the game.
It’s stupid fun. Leave me alone.