It has been a big week for Harold McDowell of Lakewood, New Jersey, and not because of Christmas.

On Friday, doctors confirmed that his wife was cancer free, after multiple surgeries for liver cancer and hospital stays for colon cancer.

Then on Saturday afternoon he won $1 million, an equivalent of 360 million naira, at a casino in Atlantic City.

According to Sky News, Mr McDowell, 85, bet just $5 in a game of poker and hit a six-card royal straight flush of diamonds.

The casino, Borgata Hotel, said the odds had been just one in 20 million.

Mr McDowell put his win down to "luck of the Irish".

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The retired public works director told the New York Post that his wife had been with him, but she had been even more shocked by his win than he was.

He said: "I happened to be playing next to my wife. I had my back to her.

"I turned around said: 'I just won a million dollars'.

"She told me: 'You're full of c**p'."

Mr McDowell said he was "dumbfounded" by the win, saying he had "sat there like an idiot".

The casino has taken a cut of at least $200,000 in taxes, he said, but the news about his wife's health was more important to him than the money.

He told the Post: "It was better news that she's healthy - money isn't the most important thing."

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