Math Wiz Ignores Stat Science, Writes Program to Chase Powerball Prizes

‘It’s just for fun,’ Rockville player says after $100,008 win

The winner of a $100,008 Powerball prize in the July 31 drawing has devised a computer program that uses numbers from previous drawings to calculate number combinations to play. Although he knows the technique isn’t based in science, the player did win the third-tier prize using one of three sets of suggested number combinations.

“It’s just for fun,” said the self-described “computer geek” from Rockville.

As a practical matter, he says, his odds of winning are the same, regardless of whether he uses the numbers generated by his program, or numbers picked by the Lottery terminal or a number he picks out of thin air.

“People would think something is strange if it came up 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, but the odds of that happening are the same as any other,” the retired information technology staffer explained. For him, the process of playing the Lottery game – including writing and using the inherently flawed number-selection program – is all about having fun.

“It’s something to keep busy. It’s like in the beer ad where they suggest turning the label to face the screen. It doesn’t do anything, but we people are superstitious,” he said. The 67-year-old points out that if it were possible to predict random events based on past results, all mathematicians would be rich.

The retiree played his three sets of numbers for 15 draws and included the Power Play multiplier option. Adding Power Play turned what would have been a $50,004 win into a $100,008 prize based on the 2x multiplier. The final drawing on his ticket took place Aug. 4 and he already had his next set of numbers purchased, based on the updated information generated by his flawed-but-fun computer program.

After he checked the numbers from the drawing and realized he won, the Montgomery County resident went to a regularly scheduled Sunday dinner with a group of friends. Usually they pay for their own meals but our winner covered the tab without explaining why. At the next gathering, he plans to share his news about the big win.

The winner says he has no immediate plans for his windfall. “I’ll have some fun with the money,” he said, adding he may take a nice vacation.    He bought his winning ticket at Old World Favorites located at 3854 International Drive in Silver Spring.

Powerball jackpot chasers have plenty of time to buy tickets for the upcoming Wednesday, Aug. 11 drawing. Try your luck winning the $241 million jackpot, which offers a cash option of $175 million.