Christian Pham accidentally entered a pokertournament featuring a game he had never played before. Incredibly, he triumphed, and beat 219 players to the $81,314 prize.
Pham, a 40-year-old who lives in St Pau in Minnesota, made the mistake when signing up for a tournament in Las Vegas. The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino hosts 68 tournaments over 51 days. He thought he was signing up to play Texas Hold 'em last week. The tournament he accidentally entered was for no-limit deuce-to-seven draw lowball - a very different poker game.
The game requires very different strategies because the goal is to have the lowest possible hand. It's also played with a different number of cards, and players can draw new cards.
Pham told Poker News that he didn't realise he'd entered the wrong game until he was dealt five cards instead of his usual two. He had to ask the other players what the rules were. He said: "I folded the first seven hands until I'd learned the game from the guy who was sitting besides me. He was very nice."
The prizes involved in these major tournaments are enough to make anyone wonder whether it would provide a handy shortcut to a fortune. Back in July last year we reported on professional player Daniel Negreanu, who claimed to have made more than £4 million in the first seven months of 2014.
And while it's hard for us to imagine becoming a professional sportsperson in many fields, a game that involves sitting down and playing cards might not seem beyond our abilities. News that a newby has taken the title may seem like evidence that we could all pick this up easily and win a fortune.
However, it wouldn't pay to rush into something like this. It's worth bearing in mind that while Pham hadn't played this sort of poker before, according to the Daily Mail, he is no beginner. He started playing poker in 2008, and won a World Series title in 2014, where he took home a shade over $200,000.
He also said that while he had no experience of this particular game, his lengthy experience of poker in general and his understanding of tournament strategy were instrumental in his success.
As get-rich-quick schemes go, therefore, this one looks distinctly flawed.
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