A 19-year old Canadian woman, trying to get through her first year at Dalhousie University, won the 10-billionth hand dealt at PokerStars, earning $100,000 in a $.01/$.02 No-Limit Texas Hold'em cash-game.
Justine Hall had $12 in her PokerStars account when she won the big hand. She's been playing poker for two years, sticking to recreational limits, and only playing micro-limits on Stars when her class work load allowed.
Hall decided to join more than 100,000 players vying for the milestone prize because a friend had told her about the promotion. She'd seen the advertisements while playing on Stars and joked with her friends about what she'd do with the money, but admits she never really thought she had a chance.
One lucky 8-3 suited made the dreams real.
"With 8c-3c I didn't think I was going to win the $100,000," Hall said. "But when the commentator told the table that everyone was guaranteed at least $10,000, I knew I had to go all-in not matter what."
Amazingly, two players folded pre-flop, leaving Hall with only four competitors for the $100,000. The flop came Ac-Kc-10d. The 9c on the turn proved to be her money card, completing her flush and sending a ton of bonus money her way.
See the hand here.
Hall's largest previous cash was $45 in a small Stars tournament. Hall said she knows cash like this doesn't come along too often, prompting her to plan on investing the money in her education, although there might be a little shopping in her future.
"I want this amazing amount of money to benefit me in the next couple of years and in the future as well," Hall said. "I'm going to pay for the rest of my university and either invest the rest of it or buy a house….and of course do a little shopping."
It's been a record-breaking year for PokerStars. Twice in the last three months, the world's largest poker room has hosted the largest poker tournament in history, drawing more than 10,000 players for two different Sunday Million tournaments.
Stars already had a Guinness Book of World Record's entry for having 100,000 players competing at one time, a feat they've matched several times in the last 12-months, including Saturday night during the 10-billionth hand celebration.
The site becomes the first online poker room to deal 10-billion hands, an astonishing feat considering they became the first to break the five-billion-hand plateau last summer.
"It shows the longevity of this company," PokerStars spokesperson Greg "Fossilman" Raymer said. "To deal 10-billion hands without any significant problems is quite an accomplishment. I think it shows everyone that online poker is a lot of fun and is a completely safe environment. There shouldn't be anyone left who isn't willing to put their trust in these major online sites."
Raymer is a little jealous of Hall, wishing "it had been him." He laughed when asked whether people would believe it wasn't fixed if he won, saying if he had, it would have been completely random, "albeit tough to believe." Given Hall's reasonable outlook on her windfall, Raymer believes she will handle the money well.
"From what I've read, she seems to have a good head on her shoulders," Raymer. "It's good to see that she wants to pay for her education. But as long as you budget properly, a little shopping never hurt anyone."