The Massachusetts State Lottery awarded over $14 million in prizes tonight, including a $10 million Grand Prize, to participants in its long-awaited $10,000,000 HOLD’EM POKER Tournament. The Tournament, which took place at the TD Garden in Boston, officially concluded the Lottery’s “$10,000,000 HOLD’EM POKER” instant ticket – a $10 scratch game that debuted in 2005.
Over 1,200 people, including 560 Lottery players who each won a chance to participate in the Tournament via bonus drawings offered in conjunction with the scratch game, along with their guests, attended the two and a half hour long event that simulated an actual poker tournament; but, unlike an actual tournament, no poker skill was necessary to take part or win a prize in this evening’s event.
Two player cards were randomly assigned to each participant in a round. A set of five community cards was then selected using the Lottery’s drawing machine. Participants with the best five-card poker hand within their grouping for each round won a cash prize and advanced to the Tournament’s next round. All 560 Tournament participants received a guaranteed $2,000 for Round One; the 64 participants who advanced to Round Two each won $10,000; and the 12 participants who made it to Round Three each won $50,000. Drawings for consolation prizes, including TVs, GPS units and a $500 gift card, were also held throughout the evening for participants that did not advance to later Rounds.
At the end of the three elimination rounds, just four participants remained in the game – Eugene Condon, Jr. of East Falmouth; Dennis Foster of Everett, who was unable to attend the event and was assigned a Boston Bruins Ice Girl as a stand-in; John Hall of Worcester; and, Dana Weiker of Worcester - each winning $1 million and one chance at claiming the Tournament’s coveted $10 million Grand Prize.
Anticipation built around the table for the Tournament’s final round as Daytime Emmy Award-winning game show host Todd Newton and former Lottery on-air hostess Dawn Hayes, who served as emcee and drawing hostess for the event, announced the winning poker hand which had been revealed seconds earlier at the dealer’s table.
“If you have the Two of Diamonds and the Seven of Diamonds as your player cards, congratulations,” said Newton, “your poker hand of – the Two of Diamonds, Seven of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, Ten of Spades, Nine of Hearts, Ace of Diamonds, and the Three of Diamonds – is the winning hand and you have just won $10 million dollars.”
Confetti cannons fired as Eugene Condon, Jr. of East Falmouth was revealed as the Lottery’s “$10,000,000 HOLD’EM POKER®” Grand Prize Winner. Foster, Hall and Weiker each won $1 million.
Upon hearing his name announced as the $10 million winner, Condon was stunned.