Chase the Ace winner walks away with almost $35,000 in Inuvik, N.W.T.

Chase the Ace winner walks away with almost $35,000 in Inuvik, N.W.T.

A couple of months ago, Matilda DeBastien's ticket was drawn.

She was at the Inuvik Legion, playing Chase the Ace, where the jackpot was approaching the $30,000 maximum it would sit at for weeks.

"I pulled the nine of clubs," she said, adding she walked away with the daily pot of $200 that night.

The elusive ace of spades would remain hiding as the deck dwindled to just six cards by April 13. That's when DeBastien's number was called, again.

"I was in shock," she said, laughing. "I'm still in shock."

This time, DeBastien would pull the ace. She won the $30,000 jackpot plus half of that evening's proceeds, which adds up to a total of $34,490.

Money to support Legion

The Inuvik Legion McInnes Branch 220 hosts the community's Chase the Ace nights. Each week, participants buy raffle tickets for their chance to pick the ace of spades out of a deck of cards. The weekly winner doesn't walk away empty handed — he or she will get a portion of that night's pot of money. The Legion also gets a piece, with the remaining added to the growing pot of money.

If the ace of spades is uncovered, the winner walks away with that pot of money, which can grow large. In Yellowknife last year, a Chase the Ace pot grew to nearly $300,000. In Hay River in 2016, the grand prize was a whopping $500,000. In Nova Scotia that same year, the pot grew to $2.6 million.

In Inuvik, the Legion plays by the municipal rules — according to town bylaw, if organizations want a lottery licence for a jackpot greater than $30,000, they must ask council for permission. As it is right now, excess money raised spills over to the next Chase the Ace pot, but because the pot sat at its maximum for so long this time around, the next pot is already sitting at $30,000.

In light of this, organizers are considering increasing the jackpot for the very first time.

Chase the Ace dates back to 2012 in Inuvik, with the Legion's dart team. They were inspired by a draw in Drayton Valley, Alta., where they were competing, and brought the idea back with them.

In 2013, Ken Crocker became the first winner of Inuvik's $30,000 jackpot.

"It was exciting for sure," he said, adding he took his children on a trip with the money.

What is DeBastien planning to do with her big win?

"I'm going to get a vehicle," she said. "Get myself a truck."