Wheel of Fortune fans have accused Pat Sajak of ‘robbing’ a huge cash prize from a deranged contestant after an ‘impossible’ riddle

WHEEL of Fortune fans erupted in fury after a contestant lost the staggering sum of $100,000 to a riddle many felt nearly impossible to guess.

Cesar was tasked with solving a “phrase” during Thursday’s special bonus round, which viewers on Twitter claimed was not a phrase at all.

Cesar looked lost as the 10 second timer started


Cesar looked lost as the 10 second timer startedPhoto credit: Wheel of Fortune
One fan wrote online,


One fan wrote online, “That was a deciding factor” is a “phrase” in the same universe as Bon Jovi “Metal”.Photo credit: Wheel of Fortune
After Pat Sajak revealed the prize card was worth $100,000, Cesar's expression said it all


After Pat Sajak revealed the prize card was worth $100,000, Cesar’s expression said it allPhoto credit: Wheel of Fortune

Interviewed by Pat Sajak, 76, above, Cesar revealed he met his “amazing husband” at the hospital where he works.

He also said he’s a horror movie fanatic, much to people’s surprise as he has such positive spirit.

In the end Cesar got the highest score of $26,393 – a “change of hair” – he proclaimed and gestured – Pat wryly said “okay”, which didn’t quite match Cesar’s energy.

However, when the two moved into the episode’s special prize round and had extra cash up for grabs, everyone seemed to lose their energy.

Pat Sajak from the Wheel of Fortune stops the player from solving the puzzle at an awkward moment
Pat Sajak ducks for cover as the frustrated Wheel of Fortune player raises his fists

Cesar chose “Phrase” for his bonus Wheel of Fortune round and his husband Chris cheered him on backstage.


Cesar chose four additional letters of “HGMA” and the four word puzzle read: “That _as A ____TAL _A__T_R”

As the 10-second timer started, Cesar acted very busy: “That was a…uh…” he began, but didn’t get to the point.

The puzzle was then viewed in full, and it turned out, “That was a crucial factor.”

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The audience booed audibly and Pat said it was also a “tough one”.

It was even worse when Pat opened the prize card and quickly snapped it shut when Cesar saw what was on it and looked shocked.

“Cesar did really well tonight, I want to stress that,” the presenter said, while Cesar’s mouth stayed open and the crowd went silent.

Pat revealed that Cesar had lost a whopping $100,000 – only picked four times this season – and the audience sounded stunned.

Pat joked it was “wrong money” to comfort him, adding, “I’m sorry that didn’t work out.”

Instead, Cesar went home with his $26,000 and fans took to Twitter to share the dubious mystery.


“Who says that ‘phrase’?” asked one user, sharing a photo of the board.

“That was a deciding factor, no one says that smfh,” wrote another.

“‘That Was a Pivotal Factor’ is a ‘phrase’ in the same universe as Bon Jovi ‘Metal,'” wrote a third.

“Yes, I always say, ‘That was a deciding factor!'” wrote a fourth.

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“It happens so often!!! How could he not have this?!” wrote another sarcastically.

“That was a deciding factor”….is that a phrase?? Caesar was robbed!!” wrote a fifth.

Pat closed the prize card, opened it again, and then apologized to the stunned contestant


Pat closed the prize card, opened it again, and then apologized to the stunned contestantPhoto credit: Wheel of Fortune


“I always say, ‘That was the deciding factor!'” Another fan ranted, “Cesar got robbed!” others piled onPhoto credit: Wheel of Fortune


“Who says that sentence?” asked another skepticPhoto credit: NBC


CELINE CASTRONUOVO is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. CELINE CASTRONUOVO joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: celine@dailynationtoday.com.

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