Forget about the biggest loser. Eric Hamlin of Bridgewater is the biggest winner. The 28-year-old satellite cable technician took home $89,350 in cash as a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” last Thursday, making him the biggest winner of the season so far, according to Wheel of Fortune publicity coordinator Ani Amirkhanian.
Forget about the biggest loser. Eric Hamlin of Bridgewater is the biggest winner.
The 28-year-old satellite cable technician took home $89,350 in cash as a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” last Thursday, making him the biggest winner of the season so far, according to Wheel of Fortune publicity coordinator Ani Amirkhanian.
Hamlin said he never imagined he would do so well.
“I would have been really happy if I’d gone home with $5,000 and just solved one puzzle,” Hamlin said.
Hamlin was a contestant on an episode of the show taped in Culver City, Calif., on Sept 25 and broadcast on Oct. 30.
Host Pat Sajak was obviously impressed with Hamlin’s puzzle-solving skills.
After Hamlin solved the puzzle “Enter at your own risk” without giving anyone else a chance to spin the wheel, Sajak quipped, “You zipped right through that. Are you in a hurry?”
Hamlin was on his way to solving six of the eight puzzles that came his way and dominating the night.
A single spin earned him a cool $20,000 when he landed on a $5,000 wedge and selected the letter “h” while solving the puzzle “halftime highlights.”
The other puzzles he solved: “pillow fight,” “down for the count Dracula” (a so-called before and after puzzle) and “death valley.”
He finished up the main portion of the competition with more then $54,000 in cash.
“You know how to remove the pressure from the bonus round. Be sure they have $54,000 before they even get here,” Sajak said.
“It’s been an awfully good night,” Sajak said.
Then the camera panned to the audience to show Hamlin’s wife, Christina, his mother, Denise Hamlin and his grandmother Gloria Raymond, who traveled to Culver City with him for the taping.
Eric Hamlin, who just celebrated his first wedding anniversary, referred to his wife as his “best friend.”
“They’re all just grinning, and who can blame them,” Sajak said.
The bonus puzzle was a two-word phrase. Hamlin asked for a “g,” a good choice, but he still had a long way to go. Here’s what he had to work with: G_/_ _ G_RE.
“Go figure,” Hamlin said before the time clock had barely gotten a chance to start its countdown.
Hamlin had added another $35,000 to his tally.
His family rushed to the stage for a jubilant group hug.
Hamlin said he hasn’t decided what he’ll do with the money yet.
But he knows what he’s not going to do.
“I’m not going to go to Las Vegas and put it all on black,” he said.
“I’m not going to go out and buy an expensive car.”
Hamlin said he and his wife already own a home, so it won’t go toward a down payment.
They will use a portion of it to pay off debt, take a vacation and buy things for the house.
But as for the rest, he doesn’t know yet. It will be nice to have a cushion, he said.
“It’s just going to make life a little more comfortable,” he said.
Hamlin, who has been a “Wheel of Fortune” fan since he was a little boy and watches the show every night with his wife, said he was nervous at first but relaxed after he solved his first puzzle.
It was one of those experiences that went by in a blur but that he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
“It all came together,” he said.