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How Did Jerry and Marge Selbee Win Millions from the Lottery?

According to Lottery USA, the odds of winning in the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 out of 302.6 million, whereas the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million. With these odds, people are better off saving their money for a rainy day instead of splurging it on lottery tickets. But did you hear the story about the Selbee’s and how the couple was able to win millions in both Michigan and Massachusetts lotteries?

Jerry and Marge Selbee, residents of Evart, Michigan, were able to win millions from the lottery. They found a loophole in the system that boosted their chances of winning. With the right math skills, the retired couple accumulated $26 million in nine years.

Jerry and Marge Selbee’s Story

Essentially, everyone who buys a lottery ticket has an equal opportunity to win. Investigators started looking into Jerry, and Marge Selbee’s winnings that covered various state lottery games played multiple times. No, there is no inside job, and it is not even a con. The retired couple did not beat the odds, they figured it out.

Jerry and Marge Selbee lived a quiet life in Evart, Michigan, for several years. They raised six kids and ran a convenience store on Main Street. They worked as a team. Jerry handled the liquor and cigarettes while Marge made the sandwiches and kept their books in order. They ran the store for 17 years until they decided to sell by the time they reached their 60s. Their goal was to enjoy the rest of their lives.

In 2003, Jerry Selbee walked into a corner store and saw a brochure for a lottery game called Winfall. Jerry was always interested in math and even had a bachelor’s in mathematics from Western Michigan University. He saw the potential in the game, and in a matter of three minutes, he was able to figure it out. (Source: CBS News)

How Did The Selbees Keep Winning?

The Winfall Lottery had a special feature, as Jerry Selbee put it. It was called tie Rolldown; basically, when the jackpot reaches $5 million, and no one matched all six of the number, the money would roll down to the lower-tier prize winners. This boosted the payouts of those who only match with five to three numbers. While it might sound complicated to decipher, it wasn’t that difficult for Jerry Selbee to put together.

Here’s what I said. I said if I played $1,100 mathematically I’d have one 4-number winner, that’s 1,000 bucks. I divided 1,100 by six instead of 57 because I did a mental quick dirty and I come up with 18. So I knew I’d have either 18 or 19 3-number winners and that’s 50 bucks each. At 18 I got $1,000 for a 4-number winner, and I got 18 3-number winners worth $50 each, so that’s 900 bucks. So I got $1,100 invested and I’ve got a $1,900 return.

Jerry Selbee, Lottery Winner

Jerry Selbee assumed that he wasn’t the only one who figured out this loophole. It turns out it was. After several wins and thousands of dollars in the bank, he decided to tell his wife that he cracked the Michigan state lottery system. They then started playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars and put up a corporation called G.S. Investment Strategies. They carefully track and record the details of their winnings. (Source: CBS News)

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