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Go to jail and ignore Park Lane, advises Monopoly champ

Published 20/07/2015

Natalie Fitzsimmons, 24, from Saintfield, Northern Ireland, with her trophy after winning the UK and Irish finals of the Monopoly World Championships, at The View from The Shard in London
Natalie Fitzsimmons, 24, from Saintfield, Northern Ireland, with her trophy after winning the UK and Irish finals of the Monopoly World Championships, at The View from The Shard in London
Competitors taking part in the UK and Irish finals of the Monopoly World Championships, at The View from The Shard in London
Competitors taking part in the UK and Irish finals of the Monopoly World Championships, at The View from The Shard in London

Mortgage everything, get locked up in jail and avoid Park Lane if you want to win Monopoly, according to the UK and Ireland champion.

Natalie Fitzsimons, 24, from Saintfield, Northern Ireland, beat her husband in the heats before winning in an hour-and-a-half long final against three opponents.

The Monopoly champion bankrupted her opponent - Oli Martin from Bristol who finished second - after he landed on two of her yellow properties in a row.

But the winner's tips for success go against the grain.

Instead of splashing out on hotels and lavish addresses, Natalie recommends avoiding Park Lane as it is the least landed on square, and sticking to just three or four houses.

She said: "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."

Natalie also recommended mortgaging everything to buy more property, and landing yourself in jail.

"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 than lots of low-rent single property squares. You can always unmortgage them later in the game.

"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."

She added: "I'm ecstatic to have won, and so surprised! I didn't think I'd even beat my husband in 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."

The Monopoly UK and Ireland Championships were held at The View From the Shard in London on Sunday evening, and Natalie will now go on to represent the UK and Ireland at the Monopoly World Championships in Macau, China this September.

The ultimate winner will receive $20,580 (£13,222) - the total amount of money included in the board game.

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