Since arriving on the scene in October of 2014, the lottery-style three-handed hyper-turbo Spin & Go tournament format on PokerStars has been a lightning rod within the industry.
But for a history teacher living in the island nation of Bermuda, a $100 buy-in Spin & Go turned into a lightning strike of its own. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, sat down to a table which triggered the top Spin & Go jackpot on December 15 – creating a prize pool of $1.2 million for him and two opponents to fight over.
In doing so, he overcame 1 in 1 million odds against, or a slightly worse probability than a person has of being struck by lightning in a given year.
When it was all said and done, the 30-year old player using the screenname “jrww86” collected every last chip on the table, along with the $1 million top prize. His two opponents, “netspider_by” and “REVELKOF,” were left to lick their wounds with $100,000 consolation prizes.
The concept behind Spin & Go tournaments is simple enough. Players buy into three-handed single-table tournaments for various amounts ($0.25, $1, $3, $7, $15, $30, $60, and $100), before a random number generator cycles through various prize pool multipliers (2x, 4x, 6x, 10x, 25x, 120x, 240x, and 12,000x).
Per the PokerStars page on Spin & Go rules, every $100 table offers a 689,388 in 1 million shot of simply doubling to a $200 total prize pool. The odds for each of the escalating multipliers shorten considerably from there, but even so, 995,000 out of every 1 million tables will offer a prize pool of $600 or less.
Competing for the game’s top prize pool of $1.2 million is such a rare feat that only two other players (“Rainman731” and “guiemie01”) had ever won the $1 million jackpot before Bermuda’s new golden boy joined the club.
Players start with only 500 chips in their stack, at 15/30 blinds, with three minute levels pressing the pace. As is typical for the hyper-turbo format, one player quickly lost a couple pots to find themselves short-stacked, and on this day that was Belarusian “netspider_by.” With little option left, “netspider_by” shoved all in holding K-6 offsuit, which was actually ahead of the Russian “REVELKOF” and their Q-6 offsuit before the flop.
Unfortunately for “netspider_by,” however, the board ran out with a four-flush in clubs, and “REVELKOF” claimed the pot holding the only club with their queen.
A series of 14 hands saw “jrww86” chip away to build a slight lead, at 778 to 722. On the next hand, he and “REVELKOF” saw an action flop of Q-J-9 rainbow. All the money was soon moved into the middle, but the Russian’s Q-3 offsuit was drawing dead to a runner-runner chop. An ace on the turn ended the hand, and the Spin & Go, sending $1 million directly to the account balance of Bermuda’s newest millionaire.
Speaking with legendary poker writer Brad Willis, of the PokerStars Blog, the anonymous winner gushed that he was “too excited to talk.” Eventually, the man revealed that he’s played poker recreationally for the last 10 years, so the bankroll boost “will come in handy.”
The history-making history teacher concluded his brief interview by expressing his thanks for the unlikely windfall, telling Willis “I am currently still in shock, but it is definitely a timely blessing.”