Chase the Ace queen scores 9K-plus at Legion


A local nurse who turned over an incredibly lucky card last month says she will be listening to her ‘gut’ more in the future.

That’s because Brooke Mathison, who recently graduated from her four-year R.N. program, managed to score over $9,000 in one of the Killarney Legion’s Chase the Ace evenings held last month.

“I was in shock,” said Mathison, who works at Killarney’s Tri Lake Health Centre. “I was very happy. And the next day I was still excited. It felt unreal.”

Mathison said there were only seven cards left facedown on the Legion’s table on that fateful Friday night in mid-December.

She’d already won the draw for the $551 automatic pot (the Legion puts in $500 each time it starts again). And then it was time for her to pull a card from the remaining deck of cards that were laid out, in hopes it would be the big one – the Ace of Spades – to win the jackpot of $8,511.

“I had my eye on the one I was going to pick,” said Mathison. “I had a gut feeling about it. It was the one in the middle. That same evening they handed me a cheque for $9,062.”

Legion member Ron Boulet, who was frenetically peeling off and selling tickets that busy night, said the crowd went wild when the ace was revealed, although Mathison herself appeared strangely calm.

“She was very cool,” he said. “But there was a lot of cheering from the other people. It was pretty wild. The pot had been building up since February 11 of last year. We were so jam-packed that day she won that it was standing room only. There was a heck of a packet of sales on tickets; I think we sold $1,500 in tickets.”

And it seems that Mathison was not the only winner when it came to bringing the Ace of Spades to town.

In a strange twist of fate, another winner appeared… one week later after she drew the card.

“The next Friday, with the full 52 cards in the deck, we had another winner,” said Boulet. “Jeff Hagyard pulled the Ace of Spades, and won over $700. It was incredible.”

Bringing in the card game last year has added a fresh dimension to the community, unexpectedly increasing some particular finances, and helping residents enjoy an evening out.

And through it, the Legion itself has found new life and vigour, under the auspices of what was historically deemed ‘the most fortunate card in the deck.’

Luck also landed upon Boulet himself, who was the first winner in the fledgling weekly event, after the deck first began being sharply shuffled downstairs in the Legion Clubroom of Killarney Legion Branch 25.

“We started the Chase the Ace in January of last year,” he said. “And three weeks later I won $700. It’s been building ever since then, until Brooke won the big one. Before we started it, you could hear a pin drop in here. Now it’s full and noisy, and go-go-go. It’s a good one-and-a-half to two hour’s rush that we’re busy in here now. People are making a night of it; they’re going over to the Blarney Stone after we finish here, they’re going out for dinner; it’s become a great night out.”

Craig Taylor, president of the Killarney Legion and chair of the Chase the Ace, agreed that fortune has shone upon the club.

“It’s really helped our bottom line,” he said. “It can bring in good money, although we’re hoping it can run for a while now before we have to put in another $500. We’ve had a lot of winners lately.”

So now while the pot is busy rebuilding itself once again – with $794 stacked up as the opening amount for this coming Friday – Mathison is thinking about what to do with all her lucky cash.

“We don’t have definite plans yet, but my boyfriend and I are looking at renovating our house,” she said. “I don’t have student debt, which is good, so we might look at some travel too. One thing for sure, though, is that I will be going with my gut in the future. I just knew that was the card, right when I was walking up to it.”

BIG WIN FOR BROOKE – Brooke Mathison was the big winner on Friday, December 23, after she drew the highly fortunate Ace of Spades at the Killarney Legion’s Chase the Ace event. Mathison (left) received a cheque from branch president and Ace chair Craig Taylor (right) for $9,062 the same evening. This Friday the clubroom jackpot starts with $794 in the kitty.