My EXCLUSIVE interview with big-winning, record-setting game show LEGEND David Poltorak – Part 6

When we left off last time, David had won his first night on Sale of the Century very convincingly, and had just managed to scrape through to win his second… 

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SH: I think you said you needed to win eight nights in a row to get The Lot…?

DP: It depended on how well you’d done on each night, because you had to achieve a certain number of dollars to get to the next level. I did it in seven. And the guy I beat on my first night was on his eighth night, but he would have needed nine to win The Lot.

SH: Because his scores weren’t high enough?

DP: Yes.

SH: So, all of your episodes took place over two records?

DP: Yes.

SH: What was the gap in between them? And how did you go during that gap? What was your mental health like?

DP: Well, on my first record day, I won the Tuesday night show, then the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night shows. I just remember feeling so relieved that I was going home as the carry-over champion. And I remember catching a cab with a guy who’d also been on an episode that day. He was a young sailor, and I just remember talking to him and feeling like I was the winner. And he was the loser. He had no expectations. I was just struck by the number of people I encountered on the show who said things like “Oh, my wife put my name down…” “Oh you know, I just thought I’d give it a go…”

SH: Yes, yes! I remember thinking exactly the same thing! And when I used to work on Deal or No Deal, contestants would often say “Oh, well, I came here with nothing…” They’re advertising to you, that they don’t think they’re going to win! And that’s a great bit of information for you to lock away. They don’t have the killer instinct; they don’t have the confidence and they don’t care if they lose – they pretty much expect to lose!

DP: Yeah. They’d say things like “Oh God, I just, I just hope I pick up something nice in the Gift Shop”. So, I remember I got back home and I hadn’t called anyone at that point. Mobile phones didn’t exist. So, I called family and friends when I got back, and just let everyone know, because everyone was keen to know how I’d gone and, and I just spent that next week just in this kind of weird space where it was all possibility; it was just all within reach. It was all suddenly looking like a really solid prospect. But I just felt ‘Oh god, I hope nothing goes wrong.’ I just wanted it to keep going the way it had.

I’d had my second episode close encounter with death and I felt very confident; I just thought ‘there’s no way I’m going to have as difficult an opponent as that guy that I’d had on my second episode’. I just thought ‘it’s mine to lose, at this point’. And I got a cold! I came down with a cold, and on the morning I had to go back to Melbourne there was fog at one of the airports and so my flight was either cancelled or delayed! So I quickly got myself rebooked on another flight. I made it to the studio in time, but I was drugged up on cold medication. There were no drug tests for contestants at that stage!

And it was weird. I remember during the first week I was there, when the contestants arrived at the studio, as you might recall, we would be met by a producer who’d take us to our dressing rooms, and then take us around the set, so we could become familiar with the surroundings. And I remember we were all in a group on that first day. And there was DARYL standing with a producer. He was the carry-over champ. The producer showing us around said “That’s Daryl – he’s the carry-over champ.” And we were all whispering amongst ourselves; “How much has he won?” “How many nights has he been on?” The producer said “Daryl has been on for seven nights now. He’s looking very strong…” So, I was thinking ‘I’ve got to go up against Daryl; I don’t want to miss out on Daryl, because he’s getting closer to all that money. That’s MY money!’

SH: Take it from him.

DP: So, that next week when I turned up, I was suddenly in the Daryl position. I’m the top dog now, and the new contestants are all whispering about me; “That’s the carry-over champion…”

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A nice position to be in! But David still had three games to win, in order to take home all the prizes and that huge cash jackpot. Next week, we’ll explore the lead up to those three make-or-break games, and I’ll ask David how he handled all that pressure and all that suspense. And I must admit, his answer surprised me…. 

 

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