After winning $100,000, South Carolina priest Fr. Andrew Trapp lost a $1 million poker contest to a New York City detective who helped survivors during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The 28-year-old priest was trying to win the million dollar prize for his parish’s building fund.
The contest, Fox’s PokerStars.Net Million Dollar Challenge, held the final match in mid-December. The show was broadcast on Dec. 27.
Fr. Trapp lost to New York police detective Mike Kosowski. According to the New York Daily News, Kosowski was severely injured when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. He started playing poker to escape the pain. Kosowski went on to defeat poker champion Daniel Negreanu.
Fr. Trapp, who placed second overall, had defeated Negreanu in an earlier round to win $100,000 for St. Michael Catholic Church in Garden City, South Carolina.
The Augusta Chronicle reports that the priest said his loss was “definitely disappointing.”
“The guy who wins is a hero from Sept. 11. His family's been going through a rough financial time, so I think he was meant to win it. I think it was all in God's plan," he said.
He planned to gather with parishioners and family members at St. Michael’s to watch his last appearance. The producers of the show taped a one-minute segment at the church.
"I'm talking about the church, and preaching," Fr. Trapp reported. "I know everybody's really excited to see that. We'll have a lot of people cheering."
He said he was probably finished with game shows and that the poker contest was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The priest’s mother, Beth Trapp, said she and her husband were proud of their son.
"It was pretty exciting, and I'm happy for his church. He did something awesome,” she said, according to the Augusta Chronicle.
St. Michael’s is experiencing significant growth and has over 3,000 parishioners. There are also safety code issues with its present structure and concerns it could not withstand a strong hurricane.
As of Christmas, the church has raised nearly $4 million for a building that can hold more than 900. Its fundraising goal is over $5 million.
Previously, Fr. Trapp had explained that he hopes to teach people that gambling is acceptable in Catholicism, so long as it is done in moderation.
“The Catholic Church teaches that there’s nothing morally wrong making a bet or games of chance,” the priest had remarked, according to Fox News.