Winning the lottery is a dream for a lot of people. Unfortunately, the odds of it happening are so small that you have a better chance of winning an Academy Award, being killed by a vending machine, or even becoming president. Despite these astronomical odds, there are some people who have beaten them in a spectacular way.
10. Christopher Kaelin
In April 2014, Christopher Kaelin of Chicago bought a crossword lottery ticket and to his amazement, he won $25,000. Kaelin, who says he is a casual lottery player, was excited and went out to dinner with his fiancé to celebrate. After dinner, he stopped off at a gas station and purchased another crossword ticket. He scratched it and found out he had won again, this time it was a $1,000 payout.
A few days later, Kaelin went to the same store where he bought the first crossword, and purchased another crossword scratch ticket. He went back to his office, scratched the ticket and to his amazement, he won another $25,000. However, when he went to cash the ticket, he realized he actually won $250,000 not $25,000.
In total, Kaelin won $276,000 on three crossword scratch tickets that he purchased in the same week.
9. Derek Ladner
On July 11, 2007, Derek Ladner and his wife Dawn, of Cornwall, England, were overjoyed to learn that by playing their usual numbers, they had one of five winning lottery tickets that shared a £2.4 million pot. The next week, Derek had bought another ticket, but it didn’t win. When he went to put the losing ticket in his wallet, he noticed that there was another lottery ticket there with the date of July 11.
It turns out that Derek had forgotten he had purchased the ticket, and bought a second identical one. Amazingly, the couple actually had two of the five winning tickets, bringing their total winnings to £958,284.
8. Walid Aboroomi
Walid Aboroomi’s good luck started in 2004, when he won $500,000 on a scratch ticket. The following year, he won $1 million playing another scratch game. A year later, he won $71,000 in the Virginia Pick 3, using his lucky numbers. In 2007, he won $100,000 with those same numbers.
However, it looks like Aboroomi’s lucky streak may have come to an end in May 2015 in a rather unusual way. While walking into a convenience store, Aboroomi kept noticing the numbers 7, 1, and 5. It said 7:15 on the clock, there was a car in the parking lot with 7-1-5 on its license plate, and 7/15 is significant to Aboroomi himself, because his birthday is July 15. Taking this as a sign, Aboroomi bought 184 tickets using the three numbers.
While 7-1-5 wasn’t picked as the jackpot prize, it was picked as the $500 winner, meaning that Aboroomi had won another $92,000. Where Aboroomi’s luck takes a turn for the worse is that he somehow lost all of his tickets. While he was able to get a receipt to show he purchased the tickets, without the physical tickets, he couldn’t claim his payout. Aboroomi has never been able to find them, and believes that they were accidentally thrown out and the garbage dump incinerated them.
7. Unnamed Glendale Man
In April 2012, a man who chose to remain anonymous purchased six lottery tickets with the numbers 4, 25, 29, 34 and 43. While he didn’t win the grand prize, the man did win second prize, which meant that all six of his tickets were worth $1 million.
The man cashed in the tickets at three different times throughout the week. Hopefully he didn’t do it that way because he had already used up his winnings and needed more money. Mainly because we have no idea what you could buy to burn through that much money so quickly.
6. Mary Wollens
In September 2006, 86-year-old Mary Wollens of Toronto, Ontario, said that some numbers came to her in a dream. When she woke up, she wrote them down. She then went and purchased a lottery ticket using those numbers. The next day, Wollens was feeling so confident about the numbers that she went out and bought another ticket.
As you may have guessed due to her presence on this list, Wollens’ tickets were both winners. Even more amazing is that each ticket was worth $8 million, meaning that she won $16 million in all. The 86-year-old said she planned on spending the money on drugs and younger men. No, just kidding. She planned on getting a haircut and a new wardrobe, which is almost as exciting.
5. Richard Lustig
By definition, the lottery is a game of luck and chance. Richard Lustig of Florida doesn’t believe that, though. He claims he has a system for winning the lottery, which may sound absolutely crazy. But he has some proof to back up his claim. Specifically, he’s won a mind-boggling seven separate times between 1993 and 2010. On his seven tickets, Lustig won a total of $1,052,205.58 before taxes. Two of the prizes Lustig won were trips valued at $8,560.66, combined, and his biggest prize was $842,152.91, which he won in January 2002.
Lustig wrote a book called Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery. We’re also sure that Lustig has swampland that he’d also like to sell you, if you’re interested.
4. Seguro Ndabene
Almost all financial planners think investing in lottery tickets is a bad fiscal plan. If you do have a financial adviser who does think that, fire them immediately and buy Richard Lustig’s book. There’s no sense sharing your millions when you don’t have to, right?
However, while even common sense says the lottery isn’t a smart investment, Seguro Ndabene, who lives in Airdrie, Alberta, would probably wholeheartedly disagree. Ndabene spent hundreds of dollars every week on lottery tickets, and it paid off for him. First in 2004, he won a million dollars in the provincial lottery. Two years later, he won $100,000. In 2008, he won two more large payouts, one worth a million dollars and another for $50,000.
Then in January 2009, Ndabene hit the big jackpot of $17 million. Before he could claim his winnings, the lottery office investigated Ndabene because this was his fifth big jackpot in as many years. Another person also contended that Ndabene bought the ticket as part of a group, but he stole the ticket for himself. The case had to be decided by the courts, who said that Ndabene did not do anything illegal, and he was the sole owner of the ticket. As a result of the court’s ruling, Ndabene was given his $17 million, bringing his grand total to $19,150,000.
3. Joan Ginther
Called the luckiest woman in the world, Joan Ginther has, amazingly, won multi-million lottery payouts four different times on scratch tickets. First, she won $5.4 million in 1993. A decade later, she won $2 million. Two years after that, she won $3 million. Finally, in the spring of 2008, Ginther won $10 million.
You may be asking yourself: what are the odds of winning over $20 million on four separate scratch tickets? According to a statistician, it’s one in eighteen septillion. That’s 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (a whopping 24 zeroes). For a little perspective on how big of a number that is, there are only one septillion stars in the universe, and one septillion grains of sand on Earth.
Due to these overwhelming odds against her, some people have speculated that Ginther, who has a PhD in statistics from Stanford, may be cheating or committing fraud. Ginther also bought all four of the tickets in Bishop, Texas, where she grew up, but hasn’t lived there for decades. She lives in Vegas, yet traveled to Bishop to buy the tickets. Ginther has never given an interview, so no one is sure why she is so “lucky.”
2. The 110 Powerball Winners
After the Powerball drawing on March 31, 2005, a record breaking 110 people claimed they won either $100,000 or $500,000 because they had five of the six winning numbers. The difference was that some people played a bonus game, where it multiplied their winnings. That night, the multiplier was five. All of them had chosen 22, 28, 32, 33 and 3. The lottery office immediately thought that it was fraud, or some type of a scam, because the odds of having that many people choose the same five numbers was astronomically high.
For example, the odds of one person winning it was one in 2,939,677, so the fact that 110 people won it just didn’t seem likely. What was even stranger was that all the people had picked the same sixth number. An investigation quickly revealed that all the people had gotten their numbers from a fortune cookie that was made by one company, who produces four million fortune cookies every day. As for what the fortune said, it read: “All the preparation you’ve done will finally be paying off.”
1. Frane Selak
Depending on how you look at it, Croatian music teacher Frane Selak is one of the luckiest, or unluckiest, people to ever live. Born in 1929, Selak’s string of luck began in 1962 when he was traveling on a train and it derailed into a lake, killing 17 people on board. But Selak survived. The following year, Selak was flying when the plane’s door opened and Selak was sucked out of the airplane. In all, 19 people were killed in this accident. Miraculously, Selak survived because he landed on a haystack.
Three years later, Selak was on a bus that was in an accident. Four people died, but Selak wasn’t one of them. Jump ahead four years, and Selak’s car caught fire. He escaped before it exploded. Three years after that, Selak’s car caught fire with him inside of it, again.
In 1995, Selak, who was 66, was hit by a bus, and still didn’t die. Then, a year after that, while driving, Selak avoided a head-on collision. However, this caused him to drive his car over the edge of a cliff. Somehow, Selak was thrown from the car and into a tree, which saved him.His car fell 300 feet to the ground below.
In case you lost count, Selak survived seven incredibly close brushes with death, but lady luck wasn’t yet finished with Selak. In 2003, Selak won almost $1 million in the lottery. Selak spent some of it on himself and then gave most of it away in 2010 to family and friends.