A $1 million jackpot was hit at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City recently on the Three Card Poker “6 Card Bonus” game. According to the casino, never before in the casino’s 15-year history has an amount of this magnitude been paid for a wager of just $5.
On December 22, during the holiday weekend at Borgata, Christmas came early for an 85-year-old retired man from Lakewood, New Jersey after he defied the odds, turning a $5 bet into a huge seven-figure payout. His incredible win comes just a day after his wife was diagnosed as cancer-free, according to media reports.
The lucky man was identified as Harold McDowell, a retired Ringwood public works director and his wife played Three-Card Poker on Saturday afternoon at Atlantic City’s largest casino.
In Three Card Poker, players compete against the dealer and both player and dealer are dealt three cards. The game starts with the player placing an initial ante bet and also has the option to place “Pair Plus” and “6-Card Bonus” side bets. The 6-Card Bonus side bet at Borgata casino gives players the chance to win a million dollars with a minimum total wager as small as $5. Once bets are placed, the player and dealer’s hands are combined to form the best five-card combination from those six cards.
On his lucky day, McDowell was dealt a Ten, Queen and Ace of Diamonds, while the dealer’s hand was the Nine, Jack, and King of Diamonds to make a rare six-card Royal Straight Flush of diamonds. The odds of hitting a five-card Royal Flush in Texas Hold’em are 1 in 649,000 and as per wizardofodds.com, the chances of hitting a six-card Royal Straight Flush are so rare that one could only hit it once in 20.3 million.
This also made it the first time in Borgata’s 15 year history that a $5 bet won a prize of that value.
The news of him winning the jackpot made it to several TV news channels where he told the reporters that only a day before, his wife Mrs. McDowell, who had been battling cancer in recent years, was diagnosed as cancer-free after undergoing numerous surgeries for both liver and colon cancer. The million dollar jackpot couldn’t have come at a better time for the couple.
“I was dumbfounded,” McDowell said to the New York Post. “I sat there like an idiot.”
“I happened to be playing next to my wife. I had my back to her. I turned around [and] said, 'I just won a million dollars’,” he told the New York Post. “She told me, ‘You’re full of crap.'”
He further said that the casino took at least $200,000 in taxes and he plans to give most of his winnings to their kids. He also made a generous tip to the Borgata dealers by giving away $25,000 from his winnings, according to Borgata’s Facebook post.
Just a few months ago, in late September 2018, a woman from Hawthorne, New Jersey won a jackpot of about $2.4 million on a wager of just $10, also at the Borgata casino.
In fact, the past year a number of jackpots were hit in both the online and live casinos. An anonymous gambler hit the Mega Moolah Progressive Jackpot for $21.7 million, the biggest online progressive payout of all time in September 2018.
Atlantic City casinos paid out $21.9 million in slot and online jackpots through August, according to reports from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. Players at the Borgata casino alone hit jackpots of $50,000 or more 56 times in 2018 for a total of $5.197 million.