When Caitlin Burke solved a Wheel of Fortune puzzle with only one letter revealed, she captured the imagination of the internet. How in the hell did she do that? Is the game rigged? Is she a robot? It was all anyone could talk about. Esquire’s Chris Jones catches up with Burke to find out how she did it. Turns out Burke’s brain is wired to ace Wheel of Fortune.
At a remarkably fast rate — “I wanted to show everyone what I’ve got,” Burke says — she can cycle through her shortened lists of possibility. As more letters are guessed and either lit up or discarded, she can permanently drop those from contention, too. Her brain has a one-way valve built into it. Eventually, everything gets distilled, each puzzle boiled down to its most likely combination — two-letter words, three-letter words, and so on. Burke has trained her brain so that the impossible falls away, never to return, and eventually, out of the crowded ether, only a handful of solutions emerge.
That’s not the half of it. Her brain is wired to eliminate possibilities at an alarming rate and she has been honing that gift for the entirety of her 26-years by watching Wheel of Fortune every day.