Robert Santoli had the best time of his life after winning a little over $76,000 at “Wheel of Fortune” and has been tagged as the greatest contestant the show ever has.
Santoli amazed the members of the audience when he solved one puzzle with just a single letter “D” and an ampersand as clues, CNN reported.
He figured out the puzzle after seeing just the letter D. The answer to the 14-letter, three-word phrase was “Port & Starboard”. Host Pat Sajak was amazed as Santoli got the correct answer while the audience burst into applause.
Watch video of Robert Santoli at “Wheel of Fortune” below
Time magazine cited Santoli interview with TapInto.net where he explained that he and his competition were notified beforehand that the episode was going to focus on nautical theme. Knowing that, he then compiled a list of possible puzzles and key words themed toward sailing, cruising, water and even fishing.
Santoli added that “Wheel of Fortune” does sometimes repeat puzzles, especially themed ones and had seen “Port & Starboard” answer used at least twice before his episode.
“There are websites that keep track of past Wheel of Fortune puzzles, so I did some research on previous weeks themed toward these things and wrote them down,” he said. “The show does sometimes repeat puzzles, especially themed ones. “Port & Starboard” had been used at least twice before my show … as soon as I saw that “Places” was the category, I had a hunch and then I saw four blanks, an ampersand and nine blanks, and my face just lit up.”
Aside from learning the show’s tendencies, Santoli has one more thing that may have helped him. Past show champion, Emilbert de Leon, was present in Robert’s support team.
Santoli’s diligence obviously paid off. He went on to win all but one of the puzzles, E! News.
What’s his plan for his $76,086 earning from “Wheel of Fortune?”
“I plan to pay off my student loans from Fordham and buy or lease my own car,” he told TapInto.
“I know I look like a bit of a dork on the show with my high-pitched ‘Yeahs!’ and my childish jumping up and down after winning the Bonus Round, but I was really, to quote the Round 4 puzzle, ‘Living in the Moment,'” Santoli added.