U.S. Marine Launching Photography Business with $10,000 Prize

$10K Poker Showdown_Unklemike_webA soon-to-be retired U.S. marine known as “Unkle Mike” celebrated a $10,000 win on the Poker Showdown scratch-off

Suitland man celebrates Poker Showdown scratch-off win

A soon-to-be retired U.S. marine can set his plans in motion for a civilian photography career after winning a $10,000 prize on the Maryland Lottery’s Poker Showdown scratch-off.

The Suitland resident enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 30, and because he was much older than the other privates at his first duty station, he quickly ended up with the nickname “Unkl Mike.”

Two decades later, Unkl Mike is only months away from retiring from the service and moving on to pursue his interest in photography. In fact, when he found his lucky scratch-off, he was on his way to look at new lenses for his camera. He stopped for gas and a few scratch-offs at Hampton Mall Exxon located at 8901 Central Avenue in Capitol Heights. The avid scratch-off player enjoys crossword and bingo games, and lately began playing the baseball-themed Home Run Riches game. On the day he found his fortune, he decided to go another route and selected a $10 Poker Showdown instant ticket.

“I had never won anything on that ticket before,” he said. His luck was about to change. “As I was pumping gas, I scratched it, and I saw $10,000 and I just shut down,” he said.

The prize money comes at a perfect time, as the Prince George’s County resident is planning to launch his photography business. The 50-year-old plans to specialize in events, weddings, portraits and pets.

“I texted a friend and said I just got a small-business grant from the Maryland Lottery,” he said.

The Poker Showdown game launched in August, and one of its $100,000 top prizes is still awaiting discovery at Lottery retailers across the state. Another five $10,000 prizes are available along with thousands of other prizes ranging from $10 to $1,000.