MaraJade: PokerStars 5 Billionth Hand Winner

When PokerStars hit its Five Billionth Hand on a .05/.10 table and awarded $57,500 to the winner of the hand, MaraJade, everyone wanted to know who this player was. We can now introduce you to MaraJade, aka Manuela, a 30-year-old woman from Germany who now has no small amount of money in her bankroll.

MaraJade - PokerStars 5 Billionth Hand winner

At 30 years old, MaraJade was not at all unhappy with her life. Unmarried, but desperately in love with her boyfriend (who introduced her to poker), MaraJade spent her time managing a Aldi grocery store in Germany.

"It is a hard, exhausting, great job. I really like the contact with our customers," she said.

If there was anything in her life that needed changing, it was the need for money to pay for a desperately needed eye surgery. Born with a disease that forms cataracts on her eyes, MaraJade faced a tough problem. She needed to find the money for the expensive surgery or she would go blind.

Having played on PokerStars for several years, MaraJade was happy to hear of the Five Billionth Hand Celebration.

"I just had to join in and play. Such an event only comes once and I wanted to be part of it," she said. "I had not calculated on actually winning the prize money. I just wanted to be part of the fun around the event and the milestone. I just took a seat at some of the tables. Some of the players chatted about playing eight tables simultaneously to increase their chances of winning, but that is nothing I would do."

Rather than eight-table and fold until the five billionth hand, MaraJade sat down to play a little micro-limit hold'em. Nowhere in her heart did she think she would have a chance to win a milestone hand.

"Here in Germany, it was already two in the morning," she explained. She was on the verge of going to bed. And then, something happened.

"My table got stuck," she said. "I got the cards, but the game did not go on. Internet problems? No, the chat worked. A lot of chatting went on. Why? A couple of times I recognized my name in the chaos in the chat. Then I suddenly realized. I leaned in an looked closer, and above it stood: 5,000,000,000."

Anyone who saw the five billionth hand play out saw the chat chaos ensue. No one, not even Lee Jones, could get in a word edgewise. Railbirds from around the world crippled the chat bar (one even typed the words "USELESS CHAT" over and over). It's not hard to imagine how somebody could be confused. Finally, the reality sunk in for MaraJade.

"I just screamed out loud," she said. "My boyfriend entered the room and asked me if I was alright. I could not say a word. I just pointed out the number on the screen. He could not believe it either."

When the hand resumed, MaraJade realized she had a very marginal holding. She held king-ten offsuit. She knew the flop, turn, and river would make the difference between a $10,000 win and a $50,000 win.

MaraJade sat with her hands over her mouth as the board came out. A ten on the flop seemed good. A king on the river seemed even better.

"With two pair, my chances were, at least, decent," MaraJade said. "But how many times have I lost with such a hand against three of a kind, against a straight? I did not dare thinking about it."

The first competing hand to appear was a pair of nines. MaraJade waited, knowing her two pair was still good. She watched the other players as they acted.

"One after the other, they folded their hands," she remembered. "They could not beat the pair of nines. Now it was just one more player. Oh my god...and then it came... MUCK. I must have screamed down the house. I was so happy. Just unbelievable. I almost went crazy."

As a SilverStar VIP Club member, MaraJade won a bonus $7,500 to make her total winnings $57,500. The first chunk of the money will go to make sure MaraJade keeps her sight.

"Thanks to PokerStars I can now have that surgery without worrying about the cost," she said.

She also plans to play more on PokerStars and experiment with some higher limits.

As for the rest of the money?

"Hey, I'm a girl," she said. "I'll go shopping!"

Congratulations to MaraJade and all the milestone hand winners.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in PokerStars news