‘Wheel of Fortune’: Here Are the Biggest Winners Since the Show Began

by Leanne Stahulak

“Wheel of Fortune” Season 39 has set a new record for the number of winners who snagged that $100,000 wedge during the bonus round.

An incredible seven contestants have won big money this season, and now they’ve made it into the show’s Top 10 biggest winners list. Thanks to Looper, we can now break down who those 10 contestants are and how big of a check they brought home after winning on “Wheel of Fortune.”

For context, three of those winners won consecutively during a week’s airing this past February, with the other four following not long after. One of those winners, Bree Yokouchi, holds the No. 10 spot.

Yokouchi won on the third night in a row, on February 9, 2022. The Portland elementary school teacher went into the bonus round with a little over $20,000 and a tough puzzle ahead of her. She managed to pull through with the right answer at the last second, earning her $121,638 and a trip to St. Lucia.

Mike Halpern brought home the ninth biggest bag of winnings in “Wheel of Fortune” history. The little league coach from Washington D.C. won in May 2022, easily guessing the “What are you doing?” phrase. He even made snow angels in the confetti after shot Pat Sajak told him how much he won: $122,903, plus a trip to Aruba.

Taking it back to that three-day streak, Mark Baer won the second night in a row in February. He’s now the eighth-highest earning contestant and the record-setter for back-to-back $100,000 wins. Baer walked away with $126,550 and a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

At No. 7 in “Wheel of Fortune” winners, we have Jinger Lough. The pathologist also won big money in May 2022, adding to her regular game winnings to equal more than $131,000 total.

The Top 6 ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Winners

Scott Kolbrenner holds the No. 6 spot thanks to his incredible $45,000 in winnings pre-bonus round. Back in March 2021, Kolbrenner ended up not only winning $145,000 but also donating those winnings to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and Uplift Family Services.

Now, we’re gonna jump back to December 2012. At the time, Cindy Kling won the largest non-million-dollar prize in “Wheel of Fortune” history. She came into the bonus round with a staggering $47,000, leaving the show with that plus $100,000 more.

A decade later in April 2021, Laura Trammell would break that record. She was the first and only contestant to successfully win a house wedge after the concept was introduced. Trammell brought $23,000 into the bonus round before winning a wedge for an entire house worth $375,000. This brought her total winnings to $398,690. Rather than sell the house, though, Trammell and her husband decided to keep it and rent it out.

Finally, on to our three million-dollar winners. The million-dollar wedge was introduced in 2008, and in September 2014, Sarah Machester became the most recent person to win it. To do that, she had to land on the slim million-dollar wedge and not go bankrupt for the entirety of the game. Pat Sajak then replaced the $100,000 bonus round wedge with a $1 million one in the bonus round wheel. Manchester ended up walking away $1,017,490 richer.

While Machester was the latest “Wheel of Fortune” contestant to win $1 million, Michelle Loewenstein was the first. Right after the concept was introduced, Lowenstein won the edge in October 2008. She finished the game with $1,026,080 and would hold the record for the highest-winning contestant for five years.

Then Autumn Erhard came along in May 2013. Erhard set herself up well by winning more than $30,000 before the bonus round. Then, after solving the puzzle and landing on the million-dollar wedge, she finished the game with  $1,030,340. Plus a trip to Belize and Arizona.