If you won a lot of money, and I mean a lot of money, would you tell your family and friends about it? It’s a situation that we’ve all probably pondered at some point.
But for Sweden’s “festen x”, it’s now a reality.
“I plan to keep it a secret from my family and friends for one year,” he tells me. “I have always thought that if I won big, I would not tell anybody for a whole year. I know something they do not know.”
The ‘it’ he’s keeping schtum about is a pretty big deal. On September 15 2021, after four days of play, festen x took down the $530 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event, beating 7,783 entries.
He won $549,007.
“It still feels unreal,” he says. “I am really, really happy. This happens once in a lifetime. I keep thinking, what can top this? Nothing!”
To honour his secret, we can’t reveal too much about this humble champ. But we can tell you he’s 55 years old and lives in his hometown of Östersund, Sweden. He works in financial services, helping people seek allowances and manage their money.
“I don’t have a big salary so the money will help me in my daily life, of course,” he says. “I don’t have kids but I have siblings who have kids so I will eventually give them some money.”
Festen x began playing online poker frequently around 15 years ago, but these days he only plays on Sundays. “I usually play the Sunday Million, the Sunday Storm, and the $109 and $215 Bounty Builders. My biggest win prior to the WCOOP was $13K.”
He bought into the $530 medium edition of the WCOOP Main Event directly and found himself with a top 10% stack right from the get-go, which he maintained throughout most of the tournament.
“There were really no hard decisions along the way,” he says. “When it came to the final table I loosened up a bit because I discovered that the table was tight overall. Through the whole tournament, I got lucky almost every time it was a coinflip preflop all in.”
He admits he likes to play wild at times, pulling off some big bluffs on the final table. “I play a little crazy sometimes,” he says. “That is my style. It hasn’t always been successful, but it paid off well this time. I am very happy about my timing in many of my plays.”
On the PokerStars Twitch stream, the final table of the $5,200 Main Event was playing out with cards-up coverage in front of an audience of thousands. But festen x had no idea that occasionally the coverage would switch to the medium edition, showing his cards face up.
“I’m glad I didn’t know,” he says. “I might have played differently!”
Despite his enormous windfall, festen x says he’ll continue to only play on Sundays. In 12 month’s time, at WCOOP 2022, he’ll be back to defend his title, and he might even treat himself to a buy-in for the $5K Main Event.
But more important than that is the fact that in a year’s time, he’ll share his incredible victory with all of his nearest and dearest.
“The celebration will be in September 2022, one year after the win,” he says. “I will invite my family and friends and I’m going to show them on YouTube the two-hour clash at the final table, without them knowing the outcome.”
When it’s all over, it’s going to be a heck of a party.