Ten of Clubs Flipped as Queen Stays Hidden
AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Even with a change in the rules and date for the Queen of Hearts drawing at Barry Dyngles Pub, the crowd still turned out Sunday night, with an estimated 3,000-plus watching yet another drawing come up empty.
This week, it was the 10 of clubs – card No. 53 – that restaurant general manager Doug Duganne flipped, leaving just seven cards on the game board. The jackpot stood $1,238,184. It could go as high as $2 million for next Sunday’s drawing, Duganne said..
At the request of Austintown Township trustees, the restaurant agreed Thursday that any winner would take home 100% of the jackpot, regardless of whether the ticket holder was present when his ticket was drawn. Previously, if the winner didn’t attend the drawing, they would win half the jackpot. The drawing also was moved from 8 p.m. Wednesday nights to 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
“We did that for two reasons. One was that it thins out the crowd a little bit, which was a main concern. The other was that it’s a weekend and some people don’t want to waste their weekend coming out,” Duggane said.
That new rule on winnings was immediately put into effect as Duganne pulled Paul Gregorc’s ticket from the tumbler. Gregorc was not present, but was reached by telephone and listened as the crowd split their reaction between cheering and groaning as the 10 of clubs was flipped.
“Paul’s been here since the first week,” Duganne told the crowd after a brief conversation with Gregorc. “This is the first one he’s missed. But that’s okay, that’s what the rule is for.”
Some ibooed when they heard Gregorc wasn’t present and others shouted for Duganne to pull another ticket from the tumbler.
With the new rules, the crowd was much smaller than the estimated 10,000 that showed up Sept. 16 for the last drawing. Only a few hundred were inside the pub a few hours before the drawing, but the crowd grew as the drawing approached.
“It’s still insane,” said Karen Markovich from Austintown. “A lot of people are not coming out tonight because you don’t have to be here to win, so they’ll watch it on TV.”
There were other new features at the pub as well, including trash cans spread around neighboring businesses, paramedics and an increased police force – about a dozen were on duty.
“They wanted to have us out here just because of any possible medical emergency. With the crowds they’ve been getting, it would take too long to get to and through the crowd if it were something critical,” said Rosemary McCarthy, a paramedic with Lane LifeTrans.
McCarthy and a few others waited in a far corner of the parking lot in the hours leading up to the drawing, “just enjoying the excitement, same as everyone else,” she said.
Duganne said before the drawing that the smaller crowd has taken some of the stress off of his staff.
“The crowd that’s here is awesome – everyone’s having fun. It’s a party – but there are a lot less people. It’s much easier on us, from the kitchen to the staff to the bartenders,” he said
Several patrons praised how the staff handled the craziness of the past few drawings.
“I’m here because Barry Dyngles has been awesome enough to host this week every week and give people the chance to win a million dollars. I want to reward them for that,” said Matt Sonnenlitter from Struthers.
Carol Balech of Austintown said that she empathizes with the staff. “They’ve done a great job. It should absolutely stay in Austintown if nobody wins tonight. It started here and this is where it should end.”
With the drawing moved from Wednesday to Sunday, there was extra time to sell tickets, which Duganne said bumped up the jackpot.
“Our sales actually increased. They did lag off for a couple days while we were debating what the date would be,” he said. “But once we announced it, they really picked up.”
With the excitement around the game and the fact that people don’t have to show up to win the entire jackpot, Duganne said he expects next week’s drawing to be for nearly $2 million.
But will the queen of hearts stay hidden?
Pictured: Barry Dyngles general manager Doug Duganne shows the card that was flipped. Seven cards remain on the board.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.