Basic gambling principles go a long way toward explaining why Joan Ginther bet enormous sums on high-priced scratch-off games.
She may have purchased at least 80,000 pricey tickets worth $2 million or more, according to expert analysis of 28 instant prizes she won, including three totalling $15 million.
If she also was the source of two dozen lesser wins by her friend Anna Morales, Ginther might have spurred the purchase of as many as 100,000 tickets worth $3.3 million. No answers were available from Ginther, who never responded to a series of interview requests, or Morales, who declined to speak. That $3.3 million in tickets may have only actually cost about $1 million, thanks in part to Uncle Sam. Or perhaps she moved to Vegas in 2001 because she’s an advantage player, someone who zeroes in on ways to turn a profit gambling, suggested Yuran Lu, co-organizer of the MIT group that beat Cash WinFall.
In all the theorizing about Ginther, analysts have largely overlooked the importance of an assortment of basic gambling principles. Here’s a rundown of a series of powerful factors she may have worked to her advantage. Thanks to her 1993 Lotto Texas win, Joan Ginther had $270,000 coming in every July through 2012. In mid 2000, $80,000 was the biggest lump-sum instant payout in Texas, for a game called Piece of Cake.
In 2007, Texas introduced its first $5 million prize with North America’s first $50 game, $130,000,000 Spectacular. In 2009, Texas launched North America’s first instant game with a $10 million prize, $140,000,000 Extreme Payout, another $50 game.
In a generous scratch-off game, less than than $10,000, thanks to a high rate of prize payback. This powerful factor has been overlooked or underappreciated in dozens of accounts about Ginther. In winning $2,000 in Run the Table in 2005, Ginther may have bought a thousand $25 tickets, an industry analyst calculated. Figure in an average 60 percent return rate for all her games, and the real cost of $3 million worth of tickets works out to about $1.2 million.
From 2005 to 2012, when Ginther won 28 scratch-off prizes of $1,000 or more, the top tax rate was 35 percent. If she lost $150,000 in a given year, she could have saved $52,500 on her taxes, making the real risk less than $100,000. In effect, with prize paybacks and tax breaks, she could have bought about $375,000 worth of tickets a year for $97,500. Some gamblers can legally boost their tax break further by declaring themselves professionals. Each ticket has a dollar value just for its chances of winning, according to statisticians.
In such situations, the more the player can afford to bet, the more likely he or she will come out ahead in the long run. If Ginther thought she found such situations in Texas scratch-offs with gigantic prizes, her wild buying becomes more understandable. In January 2006, Texas became one of the first states to do so, a few months before Ginther won her first top scratch-off prize. It lets players exploit a simple process of elimination – other players scratching tons of tickets without finding a winner. When $140,000,000 Extreme Payout began in 2009, three top prizes of $10 million were scattered among 3.6 million tickets.
In June 2010, when Ginther won $10 million, it was one of two top prizes still left, even though more than half of the tickets were sold.


Scratch-offs do seem to work like that, as confirmed by an analysis of data for a few dozen games with top prizes of $1 million or more.
Maybe after she won big, she felt free to take more chances – knowing she was going to lose a lot of winnings anyway to Uncle Sam. Ginther could also have bet more heavily as the odds improved, and sometimes she clearly did. Perhaps most important of all, she might have justified her commitment to buy and buy on the fact that odds can steadily improve. Whether such a strategy is sound is complex, according to mathematician Skip Garibaldi, who holds positions at Emory University and UCLA. Although buying a ton of tickets would have improved her odds dramatically, winning millions was never guaranteed. Even with 104,000 tickets, while the odds of hitting a single top prize were better than 1 in 10, the chances of her winning three top scratch-off prizes was about 1 in 1,300 -- and that’s assuming her average odds were at least double the published values, according to a lottery industry analyst. She could easily have been a major loser, and probably was in 2011 and 2012, while failing to find instant millions in a game called Ultimate Casino Jackpot. Purchase a Mega Millions Lottery ticket for $1 from a lottery retailer near you in any of the 12 participating states: California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers--five different numbers [the numbers on the white balls] from 1 to 56 and one number [the number on the golden ball] from 1 to 46--or select Easy Pick. If the player matches all numbers (all five white ball numbers and the gold ball number), he wins the jackpot and the chances of winning are 1 in 175.7 million. If the player matches all five white ball numbers but doesn't match the gold ball number, she wins $250,000 and the chances of winning are 1 in 3.9 million. If the player matches four white ball numbers and the gold ball number, he wins $10,000 and the chances of winning are 1 in 689,065. If the player matches four white ball numbers but doesn't match the gold ball number, he or she wins $150 and the chances of winning are 1 in 15,313. If the player matches three white ball numbers and the gold ball number, he or she wins $150 and the chances of winning are 1 in 13,781. If the player matches three white ball numbers but doesn't match the gold ball number, he or she wins $7 and the chances of winning are 1 in 306. If the player matches two white ball numbers and the gold ball number, he or she wins $10 and the chances of winning are 1 in 844. If the player matches one white ball number and the gold ball number, he or she wins $3 and the chances of winning are 1 in 141. If the player doesn't match a white ball number but matches the gold ball number, he or she wins $2 and the chances of winning are 1 in 75. Play with clear judgment; gambling may be addicting, and if you compulsively play in the lottery, you may end up spending more than you can afford.
ST LOUIS (LALATE) – The Mega Millions winning numbers for March 18, 2014 were reported on LALATE at 11 pm EST last night. The Mega Millions winning numbers for March 18, 2014 if selected by one winning ticket would have been the single biggest win in the game’s history, as reported last night on LALATE.
The draw brought winners from a founding state for Mega Millions and a new entry to the game, reps tell news. ST LOUIS (LALATE) – Mega Millions winning numbers last night May 20, 2016 resulted in no jackpot winner. ST LOUIS (LALATE) – Mega Millions winning numbers results tonight May 20, 2016 have surged to $187 million. LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Mega Millions winning numbers last night 2016 resulted in no jackpot winner. LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Mega Millions winning numbers for May 17, 2016 results tonight have been released.


LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Mega Millions winning numbers last Friday night resulted in no jackpot winner. LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Mega Millions winning numbers for May 13, 2016 results tonight have just been released to news. ST LOUIS (LALATE) – Mega Millions winning numbers for May 10, 2016 results tonight have just been released to news. And months of painstaking analysis of Texas Lottery records cast doubt on the most common suspicions. And her chances were sometimes at least four times better than the published odds, thanks in part to player-friendly websites. Many gamblers reason that winnings are found money, the lottery’s money, house money, so why not risk some, or most? Over eight years, that’s $150,000 a year, leaving a lot of her annuity and all of her savings untouched. Gambling losses can be written off against gambling winnings on federal income-tax returns, and with her annuity, Ginther easily met that test. That would have allowed her to deduct expenses such as trips to Texas or even a home office in her condo, though pros also have to pay self-employment tax, according to New York tax attorney Brad Polizzano. In $140,000,000 Extreme Payout, for instance, the payoff side fell well short of her discounted cost.
And Nettles’ Lotto Report, a newsletter for Texas players, had already been providing that information for years.
Why not buy earlier, reasoning that the slightly longer odds will be balanced by even better ones later?
The more tickets you purchase, the greater your chances to win, which changes the chances of winning listed in step 3. Tonight’s Powerball winning numbers for March 19, 2014 are worth eighty-million dollars.
Or, maybe, as Texas kept sweetening the formula, Ginther realized some games weren’t such crazy gambles. 10 Times Lucky, a middling instant game back then, had a high payback rate, but its top prize was a puny $2,500. It’s like shuffling three decks of cards separately, instead of shuffling them together.
Records show, however, that Ginther didn’t try that trick with $140,000,000 Extreme Payout. To modify these chances to accommodate for the amount of tickets you have purchased, divide the second number in the listed chance (such as 175.7 million for the jackpot) by the number of tickets you have purchased. Florida is the newest member of the Mega Millions group, having joined the game last May, and this is the state‚Äôs first jackpot winner.
Sometimes progressive slots have such big jackpots, they’re worth relentlessly pursuing. So, Ginther didn’t need a foolproof strategy or some pay-as-you-go ticket-screening process to justify a search for huge prizes.
If games were relatively reasonable bets, she could probably afford to risk sizeable sums every year. Pacific Time," so check on the Mega Millions website (see Resources) to see if the ticket(s) you purchased have won you any money at those times.



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