Something about that Slot Machine Horse Racing Game – Discovering Sigma Derby While in Downtown Las Vegas

Something about that Slot Machine Horse Racing Game – Stumbling Upon Sigma Derby While in Downtown Las Vegas

A recent post-midnight jaunt to Downtown Las Vegas led me to the vintage gaming area on the second floor of The D Hotel and Casino. The first thing I heard as I approached the myriad of old-school coin operated slot machines was a voice yelling “c’mon two-three, c’mon two-three!” Surely I had heard this type of exclamation many a time at the race and sports book or perhaps walking by a craps table, but at a quarter past midnight on the second floor of The D? The reason for heading to The D in the first place was to check out the Long Bar on the main floor. I headed upstairs to simply snap a couple of photos of the sports book for a future review. I had no idea that I was going to spend the next two hours having a heck of a good time.

Turns out I wasn’t hearing things, and the sports book at The D (operated by William Hill) certainly wasn’t simulcasting Australian horse races into the wee hours. The “c’mon two-three!” as well as a lot of other noise and laughter was coming from the crowd seated around the Sigma Derby machine. Sigma Derby is a throwback coin operated horse racing game that was pretty much facing extinction until The D placed one in their second floor vintage game area. It is only one of two Sigma Derby machines in town – the other can be found at the MGM Grand.

Sigma Derby at The D









An occasional video poker or video blackjack session while watching a sporting event at one of the casino bars is the extent of my slot play. However, being a horse racing fan combined with the fact that there is no sports book action happening at “12-something” in the morning, the thought of joining this Sigma-Derby party was intriguing. Little did I realize how much fun I would have not only playing the game, but interacting with several of the folks sitting in on the fun – I made friends and enjoyed libations with folks from California, Minnesota, and Maryland. And as it turns out, this Sigma Derby thing has a bit of a cult following – a Sigma Derby Facebook group has been created for fans of the game to interact.

The concept is simple – you choose an exacta (a two horse combination that you hope will come in first and second) and then drop anywhere from 1 to 200 quarters on each exacta bet you make. Some combinations pay as high as 200-1, although during the time I spent at the Sigma Derby machine, the usual winning payoffs were in the 4-1 to 12-1 range with the highest being a 40-1 hit. Races (think of a miniature horse and jockey on a popsicle stick racing towards the finish line around an oval track) go off approximately every minute, so you can bet on every race – I was betting on every other race to make sure the fun lasted for awhile.

It should also be noted that the floor staff as well as the cocktail servers at The D were friendly and attentive. I thought we’d be forgotten on the second floor but servers came around often and were very quick with drink service, which certainly added to the fun. If you find yourself strolling through the much improved, yet still funky spots along Fremont Street, heading to the second floor of The D and spending some time making friends while enjoying Sigma Derby is surely something to try out.

T. Lorenzo

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