A Dubuque couple won more than $700,000 during a national game show broadcast Thursday night. But they were one decision away from walking away with more than $4 million.
Justin Smith, a coach for the University of Dubuque women’s basketball team, was a contestant on Fox’s “Spin the Wheel.”
Contestants can spin the 40-foot wheel up to 16 times over the course of the game, but only the first 12 are guaranteed to count. During that span, Smith peaked at nearly $240,000 before repeatedly landing on spaces that caused him to lose his entire balance. Going into his 13th spin, Smith had just $1,000.
Before each of his final four spins, his wife, Casey Smith, who is the Hempstead High School girls basketball coach, had the power to secretly accept an offer presented by the show rather than rely on Justin’s next spin — in which he could land on one of many spots in which he would lose all his money and the game would end.
The first offer was about $39,000, then the subsequent spin landed Justin $1 million.
The next offer increased to about $112,000. Justin’s subsequent spin landed on $50,000.
The next offer ratcheted up to $168,445. Justin urged his wife to take the offer, not knowing if she had already taken a previous one.
The subsequent spin landed on $2 million.
With more than $3 million in his balance, the last offer from the show was $736,151. And Justin’s spinning hot streak continued, as he landed on another $1 million — pushing his total to $4,051,000.
But Justin didn’t know if his wife had accepted any of the offers.
Casey then was brought on stage to reveal her decision — she let the first three offers go by before accepting the $736,151 offer.