Everyone’s chasing after the Queen of Hearts.
But on Tuesday night, she had the hundreds of residents packed inside the McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600 hall for the Queen of Hearts drawing feeling like a bunch of jokers.
“It’s a sideshow,” said Martin Fuentes, a Des Plaines resident who stood outside sipping Crown Royal on the rocks. As did the others, he showed up for a chance to win the elusive jackpot: $2,920,371.
A couple of minutes past 8 p.m., raffle staffers spun the barrel of red tickets to mix up potential winners. Out popped a ticket with the name “Lynda J” and directions to pull card No. 18.
Welcomed by the cheers of players toting beers and pizza slices, VFW Cmdr. Dwane Lungren marched through the hall with the next card raised in the air.
Inside: The king of spades.
Next week’s pot: $3,300,528
The Queen of Hearts raffle has become a spectacle in McHenry County, attracting players from all over the state and news cameras from Chicago to glimpse the crowning of an unsuspecting millionaire.
More than 360,000 tickets were sold for Tuesday’s drawing, Lungren said.
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 14 cards remaining. There still are two queens left, including the queen of hearts.
The remaining cards are 20, 25, 29, 30, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 49, 51, 53 and 54.
Tickets for next week’s drawing can be purchased at the VFW, 3002 Route 120. The VFW is closed every Monday. A new set of tickets is put into the bin each week.
If the Queen of Hearts is chosen next week, the winner will earn 60 percent of the pot, which is about $2 million before taxes.
Another 20 percent of the pot would go back to the VFW, and the final 20 percent would go to starting the next pot.
Of the total, 33 percent would go toward state and federal taxes.