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NJ Lottery Poker Game Pulled Because Maker Misunderstood How Hands Are Ranked

'High Card Poker' Discontinued Just Days After Launch


“High Card Poker” was a huge bust for the New Jersey Lottery.

A new scratch-off game involving poker that debuted statewide on Aug. 7 was pulled just three days later after customers uncovered that the makers didn’t understand how five-card poker hands are ranked, according to a report from

The game, which had a top tier prize of $150,000, was discontinued over “potential for players to misunderstand the game’s win scenarios,” the lottery said in a statement posted to its website. Unsold tickets were quickly taken off shelves last week.

Here’s what went wrong. According to the report, one player, for example, scratched off a hand of Q-J-9-6-5, while the “dealer” on his ticket held Q-10-7-6-4 (no flush). Poker players of course know that the jack kicker plays when both players have the same high card. However, that wasn’t considered a win under the rules of the game. No prizes were awarded for ties.

Customers were obviously confused.

More than one million tickets of the faulty game were put in stores across the Garden State. It could have been worse, though, as 4.3 million tickets were printed.

Despite pulling the game, the New Jersey Lottery said that all of the winning tickets in circulation will be honored. More than 40,000 winning tickets have already been claimed.

The state’s lottery is privately operated by Northstar New Jersey.

Tags: Lottery,   New Jersey,   Poker