The cards fell the right way for the retiree.
The cards fell the right way for the retiree.

Punter miraculously turns $7 into $1.4m

WHAT are the odds?

Luck was in the cards for a retired American man from New Jersey who won $AUD1.4 million on a $7 bet - the day after his wife was diagnosed as cancer-free.

"It must be luck of the Irish," Harold McDowell, 85, told The New York Post on Tuesday (AEDT). "They're both great news."

McDowell, a retired public works director, and his wife were gambling at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City on the weekend when he bet the cash on a Six-Card Bonus in Three Card Poker, he said.

When the dealer plopped down his cards, McDowell was stunned to see a royal straight flush of diamonds - a hand with roughly 20 million-to-one odds.

"I happened to be playing next to my wife. I had my back to her. I turned around said, 'I just won a million dollars,'" he said. "She told me, 'You're full of crap.'"

When the reality of the win set in, they were both frozen with joy.

"I was dumbfounded," he said. "I sat there like an idiot."

McDowell struck gold.
McDowell struck gold.

But the more important stroke of luck came the day before - when his wife was given a clean bill of health by her doctor.

She had undergone multiple surgeries for liver cancer and been in and out of hospitals for colon cancer in recent years.

"It was better news that she's healthy - money isn't the most important thing," he said.

Before the lucky draw, McDowell had dealt a 10, a queen and the ace of diamonds. The dealer's hand was the nine, jack and king of diamonds - giving him six running cards of the same suit.

McDowell now plans to give most of the winning money to their kids.

"Our lives will probably stay pretty much the same. But it might get better for our children," he said. "Maybe we'll take a cruise."

In a Facebook post, the casino said: "This is the first time this bet has hit at Borgata, and experts at confirm that the odds of hitting the six-card bonus are one in 20,348,320."

This article first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission