Felicia Moore in front of the final board in a Queen of Hearts contest that went on for 45 weeks until she hit the $110,200 jackpot Jan 12. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Felicia Moore knew if her raffle ticket was drawn from the drum in the Queen of Hearts game last week at Riverhead Moose Lodge, she’d pick envelope number 17 in the locked glass Queen of Hearts case.

Number 17 was one of just 10 remaining envelopes during Friday night’s drawing in the Queen of Hearts game at the lodge and she was excited.

“Seventeen is my lucky number, because it’s the favorite number of my favorite band, Insane Clown Posse,” Moore explained.

Number 17 was also the winning envelope — and the 33-year-old mother of five hit the jackpot that had been building up for nearly a year, reaching a whopping $110,000.  

“I was holding my 6-year-old daughter and just collapsed to my knees,” said Moore, describing the moments after winning.

Today, Moore came to the lodge to collect her winnings: a net check of $50,251. The jackpot is split between the jackpot winner and the lodge, with a portion held for taxes.

Moose Lodge administrator Michael Miness described the reaction of the roughly 250-person audience.

“No one was a sore loser,” he said. Everyone rose to their feet for a rousing standing ovation, as Moore’s excited family members embraced her.

Queen of Hearts winner Felicia Moore being mobbed by her family just after the win. Courtesy photo.

Some would say it seemed almost fate that Moore won. She spent only $40 dollar on 12 raffle tickets, used her favorite band’s number, and was a new member of the Loyal Order of the Moose — receiving her membership card just hours before her win.

After talking to Moore, karma seems to be a better word. 

Moore and her parents learned about the Moose Lodge last year. They support Give Kids the World, a nonprofit resort in Florida that gives free vacations to children with serious illnesses and their families and last year held a fundraiser at the lodge. They liked the lodge so much they decided to join. 

Moore, who lives in Middle Island with her husband and five children, plans to give some of the money to her dad, a retired veteran, pay off debt and replace her 16-year-old vehicle.

The Queen of Hearts game had been held for 45 weeks the night Moore won. The game is licensed by the state gaming commission and is completely a game of chance. Cards from an ordinary deck of 52 are assigned dollar values, e.g. a seven of any suit was worth $75. The playing cards are placed inside sealed numbered envelopes that are then placed behind a locked glass case. Each week, players — who must be Moose members— buy raffle tickets to win a chance to pick a numbered envelope. One ticket is drawn from a spinning raffle drum and the holder of the ticket drawn gets to pick an envelope by number. If the envelope contains the Queen of Hearts, the player wins the jackpot.

Queen of Hearts winner Felicia Moore, center, with the Riverhead Moose Lodge Queen of Hearts committee, Joe Oneill, Brett Marascia, Tom Jones, and Artie Orlowski. Photo: Denise Civiletti

There were so many tickets sold in last week’s game that the lodge couldn’t use its standard raffle drum and had to deploy a giant metal drum big enough to hold all the tickets.

The Queen of Hearts game is a fundraiser for the Riverhead Moose Lodge, whose members volunteer for projects that help the community, including veterans, school programs, charities and seniors. They also socialize at the lodge, where they enjoy weekly dinners, holiday parties, concerts and other activities.

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Julia-Anna Searson
Julia-Anna is a Riverhead native and a recent graduate of Stony Brook University, with a degree in Biology and minor in Anthropology. She currently lives in Cutchogue.