A teacher from Vancouver, Washington playing her first-ever World Series of Poker event came one spot from turning $1,500 into $1 million in the 2016 WSOP $1,500 Millionaire Maker event on Tuesday night.
Lisa Meredith still took home $500,000 for her third-place finish, with now two-time WSOP Bracelet winner Jason DeWitt going on to win the title and $1.065 million, defeating fellow pro Garrett Greer heads up.
Greer seems to be making a career of finishing runner-up in big tournaments, having famously finished second in the WPT $10,000 Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2015 for $1.17 million and the WPT $3,500 Showdown Championship at Seminole Hard Rock for $458,722 in April of this year. Thanks to a payout structure that guaranteed the top two finishers in the event would be millionaires, Greer took home $1 million for the runner-up finish this time around.
Meredith, a kindergarten teacher who picked up poker six years ago, said she has always wanted to play in the WSOP Main Event. She traveled to Las Vegas with her husband for this event after winning five figures in a local tournament and compromising on the more affordable $1,500 buy-in for the Millionaire Maker.
Getting past all but two players in the event's massive 7,190-entry field didn't make Meredith $1 million, but the $500,000 she took for third would still have to be considered an amateur player's dream come true.
Meredith said she planned to pay off her house, take a vacation, and put the rest of the money away in savings.
As a professional player, DeWitt said winning a second bracelet proves his decision to try to make a living at this game was a solid one.
"I really think this is a validation to win a second gold bracelet," DeWitt said. "I feel that everybody has one bracelet with so many events on the schedule. If you play the whole WSOP, and most pros do that, most of them have one now, so this definitely is validation, because two is so hard to do."
Although even third-place money may have been life-changing for Meredith, DeWitt says adding the million dollar prize to his already $1.886 million in career live tournament earnings won't change much for him.
“Nothing's going to change," he said. "I'm not going to get a new car. I already have a good lifestyle."