By: Sharon Aron Baron
In an unprecedented guess on Wheel of Fortune, one letter was all it took for a contestant to correctly guess a puzzle and go on to win a record high of more than $90,000.
Contestant Matt DeSanto, a father who has watched the show since he was five, went on to become the largest main-game winner in the game’s history.
All he was given was the category “Character” and the letter “E” at the end of the second word.
“The Lone Ranger?” DeSanto correctly guessed within seconds.
DeSanto double fist-pumped the air. “I’m never going to do this again. I’m just going to keep buzzing,” he said. He didn’t get any more one-word guesses but he did go on to win a record high $91,892 in the main game, surpassing the 2011 record of $70,000.
“The wheel definitely worked in my favor,” DeSanto told TODAY.com. “I was extremely fortunate.” Besides being a long-term fan of the show, his preparation didn’t involve much more than “some extra crossword puzzles.” “I tried not to overthink it too much,” he said.
DeSanto also won a trip to Mississippi and Jamaica in rounds two and three.
But his winning streak did not last forever.
His inability to guess “wooden gavel” lost him the chance to win a $1 million prize. “I was pretty exhausted [by the bonus round],” DeSanto said. “I should have picked better letters.”