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Struggling Housewife Lands Major Internet Poker Milestone

After 12 years of operation in online gaming, PokerStars dealt its 100 billionth poker hand earlier this month, and one Grecian housewife couldn’t believe her luck after landing the record milestone.

“I am a housewife trying to become a part-time professional poker player,” said Isidora Panagiotopoulou of Greece. “My sister-in-law is also in the same situation as I am and we will try and make it as professional players. I have been playing poker for a long time with friends and my husband, but I only recently decided to take it seriously and try to make some steady profit from it.”

Isidora Panagiotopoulou of Greece poses with her family after collecting her cash windfall. Credit: PokerStars

Isidora Panagiotopoulou of Greece (2nd to the left) poses with her family after collecting her cash windfall. Credit: PokerStars

Panagiotopoulou will begin her journey as a poker professional with a much larger bankroll than the vast majority of “grinders” on the Internet after being dealt into the 100 billionth hand on PokerStars. Her winnings for being at the right place at the right time amounted to more than $100,000, which the Isle of Man-based company awarded as a special bounty prize.

And the cash windfall could not have come at a better time for Panagiotopoulou.

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“The way things are with the financial crisis the money is extremely important,” she added upon claiming her prize. “This money came out of nowhere and it will help us accomplish lots of our goals. We have lots of financial obligations to settle and this money will help a lot. It also gives us time to think about our options. I would like to use some of it to start playing poker professionally.”

The celebration resembled that of a lottery win given that PokerStars has more than 50 million registered members from around the world. On June 13, Panagiotopoulou – who plays under the screen name “microulis69” – was among 400,000 players on the site aiming to be dealt into the 100 billionth hand.

However, the housewife employed some bold strategies to maximize her chances of landing the milestone. She played on 18 No Limit Texas Hold’em tables simultaneously, all of which were micro-stakes games where the amount needed to play is rarely more than a few dollars.

Panagiotopoulou, who started playing on the site a year ago, landed hand #100,000,000,000 after 90 minutes of play on a Thursday evening. When the milestone hand was dealt, PokerStars administrators froze the action for all six players on her $0.02/$0.05 table, and “microulis69” won the six-figure bounty with J♦5♦.

What is a very marginal hand in the game turned out to be worth $103,800, while the remaining five players at her table all shared $65,560 between them. A further $830,740 (from the $1,000,000 jackpot) was spread amongst 9,471 players, who were playing at the same game and $0.02/$0.05 stake the 100 billionth hand was dealt on.

To reach 100 billion hands, the world’s largest online poker site handed out an average of 83.3 million hands since opening for business on September 11, 2001. To put into perspective how big 100 billion is: if PokerStars had used real cards to deal all those poker hands, it would have taken an entire warehouse of cards to distribute 100 billion hands.

Most of those virtual cards were dealt in recent years thanks to the growing popularity of poker and PokerStars in many markets around the world, with No Limit Texas Hold’em the top game choice for millions of poker fans.

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