Don’t Play the Lottery? Maybe You Should


There is no talk of writing, book sales, or marketing today. We are playing the lottery today, and I’m going to share with you how I win.

The lottery commercials in our state always proclaim, “Odds are, you’ll have fun!” Obviously, they can’t say, “Odds are, you’ll win!” because the odds are definitely against you.

Do you know someone who has won the lottery?

A friend of my husband’s was in a big pool at his place of work. When they won, fifty people shared 75 million. After the first wave of taxes, they each had about $450,000.

A girlfriend of mine has a best friend (obviously, I’m not her best friend) who won several million dollars in the Massachusetts lottery. She moved away, and my friend never heard from her best friend again.

A man in our town is an acquaintance of mine, and this year, he won $10,000 on scratch-off tickets – TWICE. His wins were one week apart.

People do win.

I remember when the lottery started in our state. On that first day, I stopped on my way home from work and spent about $50 on scratch-off tickets. I took them back to my apartment and spread them out on the kitchen table. I knew I was going to be a BIG winner. I wasn’t. I never played the lottery again.

Until a few years ago.

I’d take $10 and go buy five $2 tickets. I was surprised at how often one of them was a $20 winner. I thought if moved on to $5 tickets, I could win more money. Yep. I occasionally won $50 or $100. Hmm … how about $10 tickets? Oh, boy! There were $500 tickets in there!

I figured out that you needed to buy more than one ticket, and rather than to buy several different games, you needed to stick with just one or two.

ImageOf course, I worked my way up to $20 tickets. You have to be brave to scratch off $20 tickets, because when they’re losers, it’s just like standing over the toilet and flushing a $20 bill down while you wave buh-bye.

However, if you’re going to play the lottery, do your homework.

Every so often, I check online to see which $20 tickets still have large prize amounts available and how many are left. I compare each ticket side by side until I’ve chosen the top two with the best odds and the best prizes remaining. I only play the top ticket. If the store I’m in doesn’t have it, I’ll go with the second best, but I don’t allow myself to be tempted by anything else.

I don’t play scratch-off tickets every day. Many times, I only buy one ticket a month. If I hit a winner of $100 or more, I use 70% for whatever we want or need at the time, and I reinvest 30% (if I want to).

I’ve scratched off many, many $100 winners. Last summer, we had guests coming for two weeks, and I was wishing I had extra money. The next time I was at the grocery store, I slipped two twenty-dollar bills into the lottery machine and bought two of my top game. The first ticket was a $500 winner; the ticket behind it was $100. The next day, I went to my mother’s. I ran to the store to get something for her, and I bought just one more of my top game. It was another $500 winner. I set aside the thousand and reinvested the rest; I scratched yet another $500 ticket. Within a week and a half, I had $1500 set aside for nothing more than having a good time with our guests.

We have repaired vehicles, gone out to dinner, bought things we wanted – I PAID FOR MY FIRST BOOK COVER – all with lottery money. There were many times I would throw $50 at our son, smile, and simply say, “lottery.”

As for the bigger games … I don’t play them. Oh, sometimes we’ll grab one ticket when a pot gets obscenely big, but I really don’t want to win a massive amount of money. I can tell myself all day long it wouldn’t change me – but I’m afraid it would. I’ve seen firsthand how money changes people.

I play our state’s Rolling Cash 5. The pot is usually $100,000 before taxes, and someone wins it all the time. I pay my $1.00 a day for my chance to win just enough money to make things interesting around here.

I’ve been playing the Rolling Cash 5 for three years. I’ve won $300 four times; I’ve had numerous $10 winners, and several times each month, I get my lousy dollar back. I’m ahead of the game, so I bide my time until it’s my turn to win.

Some people sew, scrapbook, garden, or have any number of hobbies. Me? I play the lottery. The ads are right – I do have fun. Do you play the lottery? If so, what’s your biggest win so far?

Oh! I almost forgot! Here are my two biggest wins. They were each $1,000 winners. The first in January of 2010 when I bought two tickets. The second in February of 2010 when I bought just one ticket. They are both the same game – my top game pick at the time. ImageImageDisclaimer #1: If you have a gambling problem, if your budget is stretched to the limit, or if you think the lottery is only for poor, dumb people, please disregard everything I have written in this post.

Disclaimer #2: The information/comments in this post are my own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of anyone who does or does not know me.

14 thoughts on “Don’t Play the Lottery? Maybe You Should

  1. Hand on chin. Head cocked to one side. One eyebrow raised.

    Interesting, Maddie. I’ve never heard an approach like this to playing the lottery. People who play blackjack, or craps, or poker… but not the lottery.

    • It has to be my competitive nature. The tickets stare back at you from everywhere with their shiny promises of riches. If I wanted to win anything, I knew I’d have to play the odds and find my best chance. It’s definitely not for everyone.

  2. You’re quite lucky! In my whole lifetime I don’t think I’ve ever won anything, haha. Oh wait. I DID win around $100 in a huge Monopoly game once. =D

    • Congrats on your Monopoly win. People do tell me I’m lucky. I won a trip once, and later that same year, I won a television. But I’ve reinvested $100 in lottery winnings before, only to have a $20 return with the other $80 vanishing into thin air. 🙂 It’s not for the faint of heart.

  3. Funny I should find this entry today. I don’t play the lottery, not exactly, but I do play the Bingo game pretty religiously. I also won $250 in their daily drawing last year. Both are free to enter, if you consider your time free. Today, I went to put in my numbers for tomorrow’s Bingo drawing, and I was startled to see how many Oodles I had (one of their on-site currencies, gained playing games). Apparently yesterday, I’d picked four of the five Bingo numbers. If I’d switched just one of my regular numbers, I would have won $4000. Bah. 🙂

    When I was a kid, I won a giant stocking full of toys from a raffle at school, but the supplier backed out so I didn’t actually receive it (or anything). Seeing how disappointed I was, my mom entered another drawing through a local gas station for the same prize and won! Got that one (kinda lousy toys in it /sour grapes). 🙂

    I know someone has to win those scratch-off tickets, but man, that’s some crazy luck there! 🙂

    • How fun to play for free online at a chance to win money. And you’ve won! Congrats! You can’t win if you don’t play. 🙂 Boo on the school; how rotten was that. Yes, there is some crazy luck, but I’m really playing the odds. And you do scratch off a LOT of losers. I hadn’t checked the tickets for quite a while, so I made comparisons yesterday and changed my top game again. As of this morning, I was -$15 for the month. Today, I bought two tickets of my *new* top game. One was a loser, the other was $100. 🙂 It’s always enough to keep me playing.

  4. What’s your star sigh> Does it matter. most likely not but hey, maybe, just maybe it does!!

    As my motto for the year is as follows this all makes sense!

    Have fun, do better!! 😉

    PS – I think you’ve given me a few numbers hidden in there somewhere!! Thanks… 😛

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