Some players confused by new Michigan Lottery poker game

It debuted Oct. 19, but Poker Lotto, a new daily lottery drawing by the Michigan Lottery, is still trying to gain the attention — and understanding — among lottery players.

It has created a little confusion, too, said lottery officials.

“It’s so new that we’re getting so many calls in Lansing,” said Gretchen Villareal of the Michigan Lottery. “People are not grasping the concept of instant wins and the nightly draw.”

How to play

  • Poker Lotto is a new nightly game where players use easy picks only.
  • Tickets are eligible for two games: Instant winners see their cards drawn in front of them at the terminal, and those same cards participate in a nightly drawing for more prizes.
  • Winning the instant-win game is based on whether you receive a winning hand. The nightly drawing is exclusively a matching game.
  • Cards from the nightly drawing are not used to form a winning hand. The only way to win the nightly drawing is if two or more of your cards match the cards drawn.
  • Tickets are $2 each. The draw is for cards, not numbers. The payout for 5 of 5 cards is $100,000. The top instant winner is a Royal Flush, which pays out $5,000.

I thought I understood the concept, but playing the game caught me a little off guard, too.

The first time I played, the lottery outlet said they did not have the appropriate screens to display the cards. So, they could not sell me the tickets.

Villareal said some retail outlets do not have the proper terminals to allow them show the player his or her cards.

“There are over 10,800 Michigan Lottery Retailers, and of that number, approximately 80 percent have the equipment to sell Poker Lotto,” she said.

And the second time I played, the retailer handed me my tickets and said, good luck.

Villareal said retailers should alert you to the screen where you can see your cards drawn to see if you’re an instant winner.

“Retailers are required to have a Customer Point of Sale Monitor to have the Poker Lotto privileges on their Altura terminal,” she wrote in an email. “There are some locations that have Poker Lotto on other Lottery devices. These devices have a screen that shows the poker cards being dealt, similar to the Point of Sale Monitor.”

My next trip was to Party World on Alpine Avenue in Comstock Park.

Party World is known for a great Michigan Craft Beer selection, as well as a reputation for selling major Lottery jackpots. (And a lucky shamrock.)

Andy Bekins of Party World happened to be at the Lottery counter when I walked in, and he explained the process and showed me how to play.

I bought two tickets: On the first draw I almost had a flush, but still won $2 on a pair of Aces, and I didn’t win anything on the second draw. (Later that evening I failed to match any of the cards to win a prize in the nightly draw.)

The winning cards on Nov. 2: 9 of Hearts, King of Spades, Jack of Diamonds, 3 of Hearts and Ace of Clubs. Twelve tickets won $500, matching 4 of 5 cards. There were 31 instant winners who had 4 of a kind, winning $150 each. Two instant tickets had a straight flush, winning $500 each.

Poker Lotto drawings are held every night at 7:29 p.m.  The deadline to purchase tickets is 7:08 p.m.

For the latest Michigan Lottery winning numbers, check out Lottery Post’s Michigan Lottery Results page.