‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Winner Cries Foul With $4.56 Million Prize Still Pending

“The winner was always aware of the payment plan,” an individual close to the production tells TheWrap

Mai, Player 287 from Season 1 of "Squid Game: The Challenge" (Photo credit: Netflix)
"Squid Game: The Challenge" (Netflix)

Spoiler alert: This story includes detailed information about the “Squid Game: The Challenge” Season 1 finale, including the name and ID of the winner.

“Squid Game: The Challenge” winner Mai Whelan (Player 287) was “always aware” of how her $4.56 million prize money would be be given to her,” an individual close to the production told TheWrap on Friday.

This response comes after Whelan stated in an interview with The Times that since she won the game and production wrapped 10 months ago, she hasn’t seen any of her millions.

“I feel like Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire,” she told the news platform. “Show me the money!”

“The winner was always aware of the payment plan,” the insider told TheWrap. “The winner will receive the prize fund now that the finale has aired.”

Whelan came out as the winner of “Squid Game: The Challenge,” beating out 456 players in an effort to become $4.56 million richer. The Vietnam-born immigration adjudicator has plans to use the money for a retirement home and will donate some of the winnings to causes she cares about. However, she’s already dropped a bag on a new haircut, a Ralph Lauren dress and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.

“I still have buyer’s remorse from that, but I think it’s well-deserved,” Whelan said in an interview with People. After several rounds “Rock, Paper, Scissors” in the finale for the show, Whelan took home the millions in Episode 10, which shares the same title as the last episode in “Squid Game,” “One Lucky Day.”

Player 287 (Mai Whelan), the winner of "Squid Game: The Challenge" Season 1 (Netflix)
Player 287 (Mai Whelan), the winner of “Squid Game: The Challenge” Season 1 (Netflix)

“Squid Game: The Challenge” was first ordered by Netflix in June 2022, less than a year after the premiere of “Squid Game.” The 10-episode show is a co-production between Studio Lambert and The Garden, which is part of ITV Studios.

Stephen Lambert, Tim Harcourt, and Toni Ireland from Studio Lambert and John Hay, Nicola Hill, and Nicola Brown from The Garden serve as executive producers. The show is a spin-off reality competition inspired by the streamer’s successful title, “Squid Game.” That nine-episode Korean language series is centered on financially broken contestants who are invited to play children’s games for a cash prize — but not only are the stakes high, they’re deadly. The show debuted on Netflix Sept. 17, 2021, and is slated to have a second season.


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