It started out as an instant ticket lottery promotion in March 2005, with nearly seven and a half years elapsing before the 80.6 million tickets printed were sold for the $10,000,000 HOLD’EM POKER instant ticket. The lottery culminated into a poker showdown at Boston’s TD Garden, home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics, with 560 finalists battling it out for more than $15 million in prizes to be won.
The Massachusetts State Lottery held a huge simulated poker tournament in TD Garden on Saturday April 6, with people winning more than $15 million in prizes. In the Hold ’Em Poker Tournament, 560 players, along with their guests, went to the Garden. Lottery officials said the elaborate event has not been tried by any other state. The event simulated an actual poker tournament with four rounds of Hold’Em poker dealt; however, unlike an actual tournament, there was no poker skill required in the Lottery’s event because all cards will be randomly assigned to the participants with the outcome of every hand determined through a secure drawing process.
Each of the 560 Tournament participants was guaranteed a $2,000 Round One prize; 64 participants each won $10,000 in Round Two; 12 received $50,000 prizes in Round Three; and in the final Championship Round, three participants took $1 million but only one emerged as the Tournament Champion, collecting the $10 million Grand Prize.
Ticket sales for the niche “extended play” game, which capitalized on the Hold’Em Poker play style that gained worldwide appeal due largely to televised tournaments like the World Poker Tour and WSOP, exceeded $800 million and generated over $97.8 million in net return to the State for cities and towns.
In addition to winning cash prizes in the $10,000,000 HOLD’EM POKER instant ticket, players also had the chance to win World Poker Tour merchandise prize packs. Those who won and claimed these merchandise prize packs were automatically entered into drawings to select the Tournament participants. For every 123 prize pack claims received, the Lottery randomly selected one player to participate in the Tournament. A total of 560 players were selected to participate.
At the end of the night, many won cash but one man was $10 million richer Eugene Condon, a resident of the State.