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Lottery secrets solved: How one man won with same numbers twice

THE LOTTERY has obsessed populations across the globe for decades. While the odds of winning the jackpot may seem minimal, one man achieved this seemingly-improbable feat twice.

Dreams of winning the big lottery jackpot have spurred gamblers to spend their hard-earned cash on it for years. The belief in this type of “get rich quick” scheme has captivated countless people all over the world and is an extremely popular pastime. Despite the odds being heavily stacked against the participant, one man defied those minimal chances of winning to be victorious twice. More than that, the appropriately named Larry Gambles who spent 15 years playing the lottery was able to claim the lottery jackpot using the same numbers.

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Mr Gambles could not believe his luck when the winning lottery numbers matched his for a second time back in 2016.

The retired school administrator, then 65, from Matteson, in Chicago, US, had been playing his state’s Lucky Day Lotto for a decade-and-a-half.

Against all odds, numbers on the back of his school American football and basketball teams jerseys had helped him win again.

The supposedly lucky digits – 01 – 06 – 12 – 14 – 25 – had earned him \$ 1million (£804,500), bringing his total winnings to \$ 1.1million (£885,000) – after he claimed a \$50,000 (£40,000) jackpot nine years before.

Despite it seeming improbable for someone to win the lottery once – let alone twice – some claim there are finely crafted mathematical calculations behind gambling success.

Larry Gambles won the Illinois Lottery twice – winning \$1.1 million (£885,000) (Image: ILLINOIS LOTTERY / GETTY)

People across the globe dream of winning the lottery, leading it to be a popular pastime for many (Image: GETTY)

Mr Gambles could not “believe it paid off again” and claimed to have no secret other than to “ pick your favourite numbers and stick with them”.

He told ABC News: “It worked for me…I equate gambling with dice, cards and casinos. To me, the lottery is just luck.”

But behind every big win on the lottery are even greater mathematical equations, according to LotteryCodex.

While the odds of winning just one time on the Illinois Lucky Day Lotto – which Mr Gambles played – are low, the chances are not as minimal as other lotteries.

For the Lucky Day Lotto, which requires entrants to pick five balls that match those drawn from a 45 ball field, the probability of winning is one in 1,221,759.

According to probability calculator WebMath, this falls short of the odds of being struck by lightning, which has a one in two million chance of occurring .

LotteryCodex claims there is a secret behind winning and that maths can help you play better (Image: GETTY)

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While the Lucky Day Lotto’s odds may seem impossible, it is believed there is actually a slightly better probability of winning that game than in other lotteries.

According to LotteryCodex, the chance of winning the Euro Millions is one in 139,838,159 and the Italian Superenalotto has a one in 622,614,629 chance.

The site explained that part of the secret behind winning is understanding the maths behind the games as “not all lotteries are created equally”.

While it can be easier to win when there is a lower pool of balls for the adjudicator to select from (eg. 45 opposed to 60) and less numbers for the player to select (eg. 5 opposed to 6) – there are more complicated calculations behind a jackpot victory.

LotteryCodex claims that buying multiple tickets for one draw is has better odds than one a week (Image: GETTY)

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These can include ensuring that a near perfect split of odd and even numbers are selected and that, of those odd and even numbers, there is another near-even split of high and low numbers, according to the claims.

LotteryCodex also suggests that instead of a once a week or daily flutter on the habit, players should save their money for larger bulk purchases of tickets as that will increase their odds of winning in that one game.

Illinois winner Mr Gambles was reported to have purchased seven tickets a week – but it is unknown whether he bought them for one specific draw or for lottery draws that occurred each day.

If he had pooled his money to play all seven tickets on one day, he would have had an increased chance of winning, according to LotteryCodex.

Equally, if he had instead played once a month, once a year, or once a decade, with that cumulative amount of tickets – his odds would have increased ever more so, it is claimed.

LotteryCodex also claims that a split of odd and even, and, high and low numbers are important (Image: GETTY)

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He bought seven tickets each week for 15 years – a total of around 5,460 over that time period.

While it is not known how much he spent during that time, if it was \$1 per ticket – which is the current price to play – he would have spent around \$5,500 (£4,400) on the lottery in total and still made a profit from his \$1.1million (£885,000) takings.

LotteryCodex claims that while increasing your odds is important, it is also vital to ensure that the profit margins are high enough to make it worth winning.

For example, if a person was to buy one ticket for every possible winning lottery combination there are only some occasions where a profit is guaranteed.

If there were 14 million combinations but only a £1million jackpot at £1 to play, by this principle, they would not make a profit.

Despite the supposed science behind lottery victories, it appeared for Mr Gambles anyway that luck was truly on his side – as he did not appear to play with a set tactic in mind.

For him, whether it was sheer dumb luck, an extremely fortune choice of numbers or some greater belief behind it all, it appears he was destined to become a winner, not only once but twice.

THE LOTTERY has obsessed populations across the globe for decades. While the odds of winning the jackpot may seem minimal, one man achieved this seemingly-improbable feat twice.

what are the odds of winning the lottery two times?

A Chicago area man won the lottery for the second time. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Scott Anetsberger duplicated his \$1 million win of nine years ago in the same instant Merry Millionaire game, lottery spokesman Mike Lang said.

Despite long odds, Anetsberger isn’t the first two-time \$1 million instant winner. Kimberly Pleticha of Villa Park won \$1 million twice in the instant Cash Jackpot game–the first time in August 2010 and the second only six months later in February.

Lottery officials could not instantly compute the odds against multiple winners, but did note there have been a dozen or more two-time Little Lotto winners over the years.

What would the odds of winning the lottery twice would be? Well, it depends on how frequently one plays the lottery.

Winning the Illinois Lottery requires picking six correct numbers, where the numbers range from 1 to 52. The odds of getting all six numbers correct is 1 in 20,358,520. It costs \$0.50 to play the lottery, and there are three lotteries per week. Assuming that each lottery is independent (a reasonable assumption), one would have to play the lottery 20,358,520 times, over average, to win (using the geometric distribution). If one plays the lottery three times per week, then it would take 130,500 years to win the lottery once at a cost of more than \$10M.

Winning the lottery twice can be modeled as a negative binomial random variable. Assuming that our lottery winner plays the lottery three times per week before and after winning the lottery, then it takes

261,000 years, on average, to win twice.

Since it is only newsworthy to report additional wins by those who have already won the lottery, then we are really only interested in the odds that a lottery winner would win the lottery again. This is a different question. Assuming that our lottery winner continues to play the lottery three times per week, then the odds of winning again are same as the odds of someone else winning the lottery for the first time: 1 in 20,358,520 per lottery. That is, it would take our lottery winner an additional 130,500 years to win the lottery.

If someone plays the lottery more than three times per week, then the odds of winning go up.

Of course, many people play the lottery, so the odds that someone wins the lottery twice over their lifetime is much, much higher. I tell my students every semester, “Someone will win the lottery. Just not you.” If 130,500 people buy one lottery ticket per game, then there would be a two-time winner every 2 years, on average.

Little Lotto involves picking five correct numbers, where the numbers range from 1 to 39. It is easier to win, but it has a lower payout. The odds of winning are 1 in 575,757, which means that one is 35 times as likely to win the Little Lotto than the regular lottery. It would take 3691 years to win Little Lotto once (by playing three times per week) and 7382 years to win it twice.

Given that there have been 12 two-time winners in Little Lotto in its 23 years of existence, there there is approximately one two-time winner every two years. Given my assumptions, this would suggest that

3691 people buy a Little Lotto ticket every time. That seems a bit low to me. But I have a head cold and maybe it has temporarily impaired my mathematical abilities.

A seven-time lottery winner’s advice for winning the lottery is to invest more (not less!) of one’s money into buying lottery tickets, as long as one can afford it. He also recommends treating the lottery as a job: the lottery is a skill, and one can improve at it after investing a lot of time. While skill plays a role in playing the lottery (identifying which numbers to pick and identifying which games have the best payoff), I’m pretty sure that this is bad advice. The expected payoff for the lottery is negative, meaning that on average, you are guaranteed to come out behind. The variance in earnings is large, meaning that over many attempts, it is possible that you can come out ahead. But given that one comes out ahead, it would be foolish to attribute one’s success to skill. But maybe I’m missing something.

For the record, I do not recommend gambling or routinely playing the lottery.

A Chicago area man won the lottery for the second time. The Chicago Tribune reports: Scott Anetsberger duplicated his \$1 million win of nine years ago in the same instant Merry Millionaire game, lottery spokesman Mike Lang said. Despite long odds, Anetsberger isn't the first two-time \$1 million instant winner. Kimberly Pleticha of Villa Park…