24 year old Natalie Fitzsimons from Saintfield, Northern Ireland, has been crowned the Monopoly UK and Ireland Champion.
She was awarded the title at the National final on Sunday evening at The View From the Shard, London.
Fitzsimons, a software developer by day, had entered with and beat her husband in the heats before winning an hour and a half-long final against three other opponents.
She knocked out the first two finalists with a strong combination of train stations and yellow properties. The second placed finalist, Oli Martin, a recruiter from Bristol, was then bankrupted after unluckily landing on two of Fitzsimons' yellow properties in a row, handing her the championship.
“I’m ecstatic to have won, and so surprised," said Fitzsimons.
"I didn’t think I’d even beat my husband the heats, let alone win the whole thing. This was the first time I’ve ever played Monopoly in a competitive environment and it was certainly pretty tense at times.
“I’ve always played with friends and family over the years so have collected a few top tips by playing them, but at the end of the day you’ve got to hope the dice is on your side.”
Fitzsimons will now go on to represent the UK and Ireland, facing 24 other nations at the Monopoly World Championships in Macau, China in September.
The ultimate winner will take home a prize pool of $20,580, the amount of money included in a set of Monopoly.
Natalie Fitzsimons' top Monopoly tips are:
- Mortgage everything: “This always feels a little like cheating, but I never know why other people don’t do it. As soon as you get a monopoly yourself, mortgage everything else and spend every penny on houses. A monopoly with three houses on each square is far more valuable with lots of low-rent single property squares. You can always unmortgage them later in the game.”
- Stick with three or four houses: “Once you’ve reached three houses, the amount that the rent increases each house maxes out. If you want to use your money wisely, stick to just three houses. If you want to be extra sneaky – stay on four houses and prevent people from buying houses later in the game once you’ve used them all up!”
- Jail is your friend: “In the early game you want to get out of jail as soon as possible. But once all the property squares have been bought sometimes the best thing is to wait patiently in jail, avoiding expensive rents while still collecting rent on your properties!”
- Leave Park Lane alone: “Few people know this, but Park Lane is the least landed on Monopoly square. Therefore an expensive monopoly in the Dark Blue squares are often pretty worthless. Trade Park Lane in for a couple of Orange or Yellow squares if you can.”
- Be Nice: “Although you want to win, the key to Monopoly is sometimes treating your opponents generously. Although you don’t want to give a monopoly away, treating your opponents well in the early game will leave them favorable when the going gets tough."