Of all the places Mikey Elkins could have been sitting when he learned Sunday that he had won $25,000 — at a casino table, at a church raffle — this was probably the most unusual.
He was on the toilet.
Elkins, a physical education teacher in Jacksonville, N.C., told Buzzfeed he was "doing my business" when he got a reminder on his phone that another HQ Trivia game was about to start. So he played.
The game is played twice a day — at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST — with players answering 12 questions in a quick 10 seconds each to win a share of the day's prize pot. Miss one question and you're out of the game.
The winnings are split among several winners, who have won prizes ranging from a few cents to a few thousand dollars. Last Christmas Eve, a $12,000 jackpot was split between two people, according to Heavy.com.
Then on New Year's Eve, to celebrate the holiday and the game's introduction to Android, 303 people shared a special $18,000 pot, each taking home close to $60.
But for the first time on Sunday, HQ did not split the prize.
Instead of stopping at the usual 12 or 15 questions, host Scott Rogowsky kept asking questions — 18 in all — until just one person remained. That person was a user named maelkins1.
If Elkins hadn't won the pot, it would have been rolled over to next Sunday, boosting the pot to $50,000.
HQ tweeted the results shortly after 9:30 p.m., and game host Sarah Pribis confirmed it again during the next game played Monday afternoon. The frenzy was apparent — more than 600,000 people logged on to play Monday afternoon.
"Every day at 3 p.m. me and my coworkers play," Elkins told Buzzfeed. "I never win anything. ... I never get past question six."
He said he surprised himself by making it to question No. 14. He was on the toilet so long his wife came knocking. He screamed through the door: "You won't believe it! There are nine people left (in the game)."
His wife walked in to watch him finish the game.
He stayed seated on the toilet until he won, then he stood up and started yelling, he told Buzzfeed.
A lot of his answers were just guesses, obviously lucky ones.
Some players were suspicious that Mikey Elkins was a real person, as he didn't even have a Twitter account. He set up one after he won.
He put those first few tweets to good use, confirming Monday afternoon that he'd received his winnings from HQ.
Since the app launched last year it has become a cultural phenomenon and gained followers around the globe. It was founded by Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, who co-created Vine in 2012.
Host and comedian Rogowsky, one of several who lead the live game, is easily the most popular, having earned nicknames of “Trap Trebek,” “Quiz Daddy” and “Quizzie McGuire" from fans.
He's also the most-protected, which The Daily Beast inadvertently found out when it interviewed him last fall and was then threatened by a bizarrely irate Yusupov who said if the Daily Beast ran the story he would fire Rogowsky.
The story ran. Rogowsky kept his job. Yusupov later apologized for his behavior.
The big win on Sunday has gotten into players' heads. Several took to Twitter on Sunday to beg for more single-winner games with big pots and the HQ folks had good news for them.
"We'll do them every Sunday," the game's Twitter account tweeted on Monday.
"To be clear, for most games, HQ will still split pots, but having weekly games with single winners significantly ups the trivia ante," wrote Napier Lopez for The Next Web on Monday.
"I typically play several times a week, but usually don’t take it very seriously. I haven’t won yet, and if I did, it would probably only be a few bucks that would likely just be enough to buy me a couple of slices of pizza.
"But $25,000 is serious moolah — like, pay off your student loans moolah. Suddenly HQ Trivia went from a casual game you waste 15 minutes of your day on, to a potentially life-changing event. You didn’t even have to buy a scratch-off card."