Queen of Hearts win stirs up controversy at Youngstown bar

Some say the rules for Crickets' Queen of Hearts drawing in Youngstown were changed in the middle of the game and there's video proof that they might be right

John Riley, Queen of Hearts winner, Youngstown Crickets Bar and Grill
John Riley, Queen of Hearts winner


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s a Youngstown man out there who’s $286,781 richer after he pulled the Queen of Hearts during the Monday night drawing at Crickets Bar and Grill on the city’s south side but some people are calling foul.

They say the rules were changed in the middle of the game and there’s video proof that they might be right.

The anticipation had been mounting for hours, all leading up to the moment when the Queen was pulled.

“Invest some, help my kids. My son getting married Wednesday, this Wednesday, and this’ll help them out a lot,” winner John Riley said.

Riley got the 89.9 percent of $319,000 but his big win was met with controversy.

He didn’t write a card number on his ticket but was still allowed to pick from the remaining cards.

“We did not require that you had to have a card number on your ticket this week because we were pulling all six tickets.”

That’s what General Manager Amanda Piatt said Monday night after the tickets were pulled.

But four hours earlier, she said something different:

“When you fill out your tickets, we ask that you put your name, phone number, and your card number on each ticket that you place in the drum.”

Video: To write a card number or not to write a card number?

The owners did not choose the winning ticket — it was a random draw.

Two other winners also paid out on the Queen of Diamonds, taking home 5 percent of the remaining jackpot. Three more pocketed $599 each.

At the end of the night, Piatt said she’s glad it’s over.

“We can now go back to having our normal neighborhood bar.”

Now that the Queen of Hearts has officially ended at Crickets, the bar said it will be closed Tuesday to recuperate and will be back open on Wednesday.

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