The queen of hearts is playing hard to get.
But that’s not stopping hundreds of area residents from packing into the McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600 for the massively popular Queen of Hearts raffle drawing every Tuesday night.
“We’re very pleased,” said VFW Cmdr. Dwane Lungren, adding that the pot could grow to more than $4 million. “It keeps going. We’re kind of shocked.”
Next week’s pot: $2,055,600.
The game has seen an explosion of interest as the jackpot has grown, sparking headlines across the region. More than 250,000 tickets were sold for Tuesday’s drawing.
The McHenry City Council has raised its raffle prize limit three times, most recently allowing for a $3 million prize after its June 4 meeting.
There are 17 cards remaining. If the queen of hearts is chosen next week, the winner will earn 60 percent of the pot, which is about $1.2 million before taxes.
Another 20 percent of the pot would go back to the VFW, and the last 20 percent would go to starting the next pot.
Of the total, 33 percent would go toward state and federal taxes.
On Tuesday, a ticket bearing the name Pam B. was picked, and she chose the No. 10 card. Inside was the five of spades, meaning she didn’t win anything.
There still are two queens left, including the queen of hearts. The remaining cards are 13, 18, 20, 25, 28, 29, 30, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 44, 49, 51, 53 and 54.
Ticket sales for next week’s drawing begin Thursday because the VFW, 3002 Route 120, is closed Wednesday in honor of Independence Day. The VFW is closed every Monday.
A new set of tickets is put into the bin each week.
Lungren estimates that the next Queen of Hearts board will start out with a hefty sum. It will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It could be more than $600,000,” Lungren said.
Sindy Shafer of Johnsburg plans to be at the drawing next week with family and friends.
“I’m excited,” Shafer said, adding that she does “feel bad” for Pam B.
“We have a great time,” said relative Patty Nichols of Crystal Lake. “It’s our Tuesday night.”
Nichols said the drawing is the talk of the town.
“People in the office are talking about it,” Nichols said. “Everyone asks me every Tuesday if I’m going, and then [says], ‘Here’s $5.’ ”