Robert Santoli’s overwhelming victory on the March 25 episode of “Wheel of Fortune” wasn’t just a fluke.
Santoli guessed the opening round toss-up with only one letter and an ampersand and dominated the rest of the game with similar mastery.
But it wasn’t by accident.
Santoli, 23, has been trying to get on the show for about five years and it took him seven auditions to finally get accepted, according to an extensive interview with tapinto.net.
He knew that the episode was sponsored by a cruise company and that some of the puzzles will be maritime-themed.
“The instant I got my theme, I immediately came up with an ever-growing list of puzzles themed towards cruises, sailing, fish, boats—anything on or in the water,” Santoli told tapinfo.net.
“There are websites that keep track of past ‘Wheel of Fortune’ puzzles, so I did some research on previous weeks themed toward these things and wrote them down. The show does sometimes repeat puzzles, especially themed ones. ‘Port & Starboard’ had been used at least twice before my show, both times as a Toss-Up puzzle.”
Santoli won over $76,000 in cash and prizes. He plans to pay off his student loans and buy or lease a car.