Is it beginner's luck or just someone's good fortune? In an extraordinary turn of events, a man who claimed to have never gambled before hit a massive jackpot shortly after placing his first-ever bet at a casino resort in Atlantic City. The happy event took place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where the novice gambler walked away with nearly $1.6 million from a Wheel of Fortune slot machine.

The winner, who has chosen to remain anonymous, arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on June 26. He informed the casino staff that it was his first visit to a casino, but despite his inexperience, he decided to try his luck by inserting $100 into a Wheel of Fortune slot. After losing most of his money, he made one of his last $10 bets, which triggered the progressive jackpot, resulting in a huge payout of $1,593,457.33.

Taking home the grand prize: luckiest player - and casino - ever?

Hard Rock in Atlantic City, in its social media platforms and in a press release, stated: "We weren't voted the luckiest casino for nothing. Congratulations to the winner of the life-changing $1.5 million jackpot." It added that the guest was playing with just a $10 bet and $1 denomination.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, boasting a total of 2,425 slot machines along with 130 live dealer games, was recently named the luckiest casino in New Jersey by Tripadvisor user reviews. Needless to say, this latest jackpot win only solidifies its reputation.

Despite the excitement of the win, the payout will not be immediate. The game manufacturer, IGT, confirmed that the nearly $1.6 million jackpot would be paid out over a span of 20 years as a stipend. But this particular win ranks among the top five slot wins in Hard Rock Atlantic City's history, adding to the celebrations of the casino's sixth anniversary last June.

IGT, the developer and manufacturer of the Wheel of Fortune slots, claims that these games are the most popular in the US tribal and commercial gaming sectors. Since their introduction in 1996, for instance, Wheel of Fortune slots have created 1,180 millionaires, awarding over $3.5 billion in jackpots. On average, a person wins a jackpot prize worth a minimum of $100,000 for every 72 hours on the machines.

Beginner’s luck in play at slots

The remarkable win by the Hard Rock guest epitomizes the concept of "beginner's luck," a term used to describe an unlikely success experienced by a novice in any sport, activity, or game. While it is often applied to skill-based pursuits, it also finds relevance in chance-based activities such as gambling. Some attribute beginner's luck to psychological factors such as "confirmation bias," where individuals tend to project outcomes based on their personal history. For example, newcomers to casinos who have never known the feeling that comes from repeated losses and lack the knowledge of the low odds of hitting a jackpot might be more likely to achieve a win.

Regardless of the reason behind the win - whether it was beginner's luck, confirmation bias, or another factor altogether - the anonymous winner has undoubtedly experienced a life-changing event. And while the odds of repeating such a success are slim, the pull of another big win might tempt the lucky gambler to try his hand at the Wheel of Fortune slot machine again in the future.

This extraordinary story of a first-time gambler striking it rich serves as a reminder of the unpredictability and excitement that casinos offer. For the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, it's another feather in the cap of what is already a celebrated reputation for luck and fortune.