Ever wondered what winning a million is like? This man knows...
Come on, admit it - you've often found yourself daydreaming about winning a million. How would you react? What would you do with it? Would you ever bother working again? Electrician Pete Dolloway had certainly wondered these things, especially on those days when he had to get up at 4.30am only to find his van had been broken into. Again.
Then, one moment changed his life. Firing up his PokerStars account on a lazy Sunday afternoon last October, he entered a $5 jackpot Spin and Go, and minutes later he really was a millionaire.
"Initially I went through a real emotional rollercoaster," he said. "Disbelief was probably the main emotion for me and my family. I immediately called my best friend who did not comprehend what had happened, but he came to mine to check it was all real. I phoned up the client I was due to work for the next day (who is also a personal friend of mine) and told him the situation. He said, 'That's the best excuse I've ever heard for not coming in on a Monday'."
Pete, from Birmingham in England, was one of several big jackpot winners as we celebrated our Spin and Go first anniversary with a series of special million dollar prizes. This was just one of the major moments in PokerStars history we are now recalling as we reach 100 million customers.
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Pete continued: "After a couple of hours of mayhem and phone calls, we realized we were due to take our daughter to her dancing awards presentation. We still went, however the whole evening I could not register what was being said - and everyone looked like a dollar sign to me!"
Ah, yes. The money. So much of it, in fact, that advice was needed. "I spoke to four separate financial advisers before settling on one," Pete said. "As a result I have invested about a third of the money with the rest going on property and eventually vehicles.
"To be honest, early on it was very difficult for me and Katrina to come to terms with what happened. It almost felt like a grieving process at first; our old lives dying in a way. We have two daughters who were happy just to get their iPhones. But we have all come to terms with it now and are looking forward to the future."
Those close to him took a while to grasp what had happened as well. "It took some explaining to non-poker friends and family, but a lot of them have started playing on the back of my win," he said.
Pete, who was 37 this week and who plays with the screen name prophethicks, now owns the flat in which he lives, and he has also bought a house that he expects to move into later this year. Mortgage and debt free, of course. Then there are life's little luxuries to be enjoyed. "I went on holiday to Lanzarote before Christmas, and I have trips to Amsterdam and Spain planned for this year - and Australia next year once we have settled into our new home."
And what about work? Did he down tools and never look back? "Well I run my own electrical contracting firm, and I was in the middle of several projects at the time, so I did go back to work to complete them. Now, however, I have dropped to a more part-time basis with a view to stepping away completely within two years. If I had walked away instantly it would have caused chaos for a lot of people. I still have my van (it was broken into twice last year), and I'm waiting until I move into my new home before I buy a new vehicle.
"I can honestly this has changed my life. For the first time ever I have genuine options, and in the long term I'm looking at retiring to Spain. Hopefully within the next five to 10 years."
No doubt you've been daydreaming a little while reading this. Would you be as level-headed as Pete has been? If you want to try for yourself, PokerStars has a Free 20 Bonus to get you started.
Other stories from this series:
PokerStars has the need for speed
Meet PokerStars' longest-serving player of all time
The ghosts of WCOOP
The Moneymaker Boom that almost wasn't
Alexander Stevic and the start of a new era in poker
The PokerStars Sunday Million Two-Timer Club
Smile! You're on Kid Poker Camera!
Biggest poker tournament ever? Check!
So who was that first winner on PokerStars mobile?
PokerStars has the need for speed
'How I took my chance in 100 billion'
PCA players before they were famous
Simon Young is Editor-in-Chief at PokerStars.