Killing time & winning $1.5 million
If you're the type of person who likes to go to a restaurant, eat, and get out, you know the other kind of people: the folks who stroll in and spend an eternity talking before they even pick up a menu.
There is a student in Uruguay who rests firmly in the former category. He goes by LuisCancelaU, and he's usually a poker player. But on the day in question, he didn't have time to get very involved in a game.
"My mother, cousins, and sisters asked me to go to eat with some relatives of mine in my city," he said. "I replied that they could go ahead and I would join them within minutes, I knew that I had time to play a bit because they always spend sometime chatting before ordering."
There is a certain variety of poker player you find at the casino, the one who kills his time waiting by having a few spins on the slot machines. That's what LuisCancelaU did. He chose the PokerStars Casino Millionaires Island virtual machine.
"I remember changing the spin value to 50 cents and then bringing it back to $1 because I had a feeling. It doesn't always work but sometimes it does," he said.
Here's how it played out for the 26-year-old.
It was just after 9pm in Uruguay, and LuisCancelaU started spinning. Three minutes and seventeen spins later, it happened.
"It was a fast session. This was the only slot game I played. It was crazy as you can imagine," he said. "I remember that in one of the spins there were two logos of Millionaires Island. In another one I won $65. In the one where I won the jackpot, after having four logos and only one was missing I told myself 'It won't appear. These things don't happen.' How wrong I was."
Wrong, indeed. That fifth wheel hit, and LuisCancelaU was instantly worth $1,517,303.
He ran to the only person left in his house: his brother. The poor guy was asleep and due at work at 6am.
"I started shouting and shaking him, and he was simply looking at me completely perplexed," LuisCancelaU said.
His brother looked up and said, "Déjate de bobear."
It's a common phrase in Uruguay that means in short, "Stop fooling around."
LuisCancelaU finally convinced his brother, and it all started to feel real.
"Afterward we hugged and cried, not because of the money but because we now would be able to give something back to our parents who have fought so hard to give us anything we needed," he said.
They went to the restaurant, told their mother, and then called their dad who was at work...wait for it...at the casino where he'd worked for a quarter century.
"I am not a person that likes a luxurious life. I love the simple things of life: a BBQ with friends, my girlfriend and family, a football match. Those are the things that fill me," he said.
Still, with $1.5 million in the bank, life is about to get even more simple for the man in Uruguay. He might buy a car. He's definitely going to finish getting his degree. And finally, he's going to take care of the people who took care of him for so long.
"I will also give something to my parents and siblings for everything they have done for me even if I know that money cannot repay that...only love," he said.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis.