Twelve months ago almost to the day, Lucindale's Sam Graetz walked in to the Adelaide Casino at the tail end of a bucks show, and walked out with more than $370,000. True story.
In the early hours of September 25, 2016, Sam sat down at a poker table and was somehow dealt the dream hand - a royal flush. To those not familiar with poker, the chances of being dealt a royal flush are 649,739 to 1.
The win delivered him a payout of exactly $374,256.38, triggering wild celebrations and representing a life-changing moment for the affable Lucindale lad.
So how did it happen, and what impact did it have on the last 12 months of Sam's life? Sam sat down with Herald editor Lee Curnow to tell us...
Sam, many people know this story but there would be plenty who don't. Can you tell us exactly what happened that night?
The amazing part of this story is probably not the actual win but more the build-up to it. It all started on the Friday night with our footy best and fairest count followed by two bucks shows on the Saturday. Anyone that knows me can vouch that I’m not a big stayer when it comes to drinking as I get very socially excited and normally fall in a heap early, ha ha. So after all this and to everyone’s amazement I was still at the casino at 6am Sunday morning and that’s when it all happened. Playing a version of Caribbean Stud Poker. Out came the Royal Flush. I was with two mates from the second bucks show, they were sitting either side of me and it was a game we had never played before. It was certainly my shout after that.
When the last card was turned over, what was your immediate response? What did you do next?
To be honest I was actually ordering a drink when the flop came out so I didn’t see it initially. All I heard from the table was cheers of ‘Who has K J of hearts?’. I thought to myself ‘I’m pretty sure I do’. When I realised I did I got pretty excited but I still didn’t understand what I had won until the pit boss came over to tell me to settle down and explained that if I did in fact have what I said I had, I would win what was displayed on the screen. That did not settle me down at all as I then proceeded to do some victory laps around the casino. I would love to see the video footage ha ha.
You no doubt did some celebrating over the next few weeks and months - how did you treat yourself?
The timing of the weekend was perfect as the Sunday was the SANFL grand final so we frantically got a mate to organise a corporate box and took all the boys from the bucks show and we celebrated quite hard that day. Other than that had a trip overseas but nothing else.
Be honest, have you got any of the winnings left?
Ha ha yes luckily I’m 30 now and not 20, otherwise I probably wouldn’t.
You had set up a rural merchandising business in Lucindale with your sister Melissa shortly before your win. Did you direct any of your winnings there, or to any other sensible investments?
The business luckily takes care of itself but it has helped me out with looking for a home so that’s where a lot will probably be put towards.
Did you get any good advice on what to do with the winnings? Did you get any bad advice?
Not really, I think everyone was just so happy someone from the area had a story like that. I got so many positive messages and calls from people that where just genuinely happy which was really nice. In saying that I did get some advice from some mates to take it all back the next day and put it on red. Luckily we didn’t.
You were recently featured in a national newspaper as an eligible country bachelor - is it that hard for a good looking bloke like yourself to find a girl, even with such a healthy bank balance?
Ha ha that was very random and had a stench of a stitch up (Craig Hole) it was more of a laugh and gave everyone in Lucindale some good banter for a few days.
Lucindale wins the A grade football premiership the year after you win a huge amount of money - coincidence, or did you buy the flag?
It has certainly been a memorable 12 months. I would say the premiership takes the cake! Luckily for the Roo boys we all play for the love of the game I couldn’t even buy the boys a drink after the game, ha ha ha.
You grew up in Lucindale and have played most of your cricket and football there apart from a couple of short stints elsewhere. What keeps you coming back to Lucindale?
I get asked that question a lot actually. This is my third stint home and I just love the community. For a small town we achieve big things from field days to sporting achievements. It doesn’t matter if you’re the oldest or youngest everyone respects each other and has a great sense of community spirit. I also love the South East as a whole, I have been to many areas with work etc and for me the South East is just a beautiful part of the world that is full of opportunities to grow personally and professionally.
You've probably ticked a few things off the bucket list since your win - what else is on there?
I did mention I travelled overseas to the snow, that was definitely high on the list, the next one is owning my own home in Lucindale which hopefully won’t be too far away.