I scooped £23million in lottery winnings after cracking the secret code to beat the game – here’s how I did it

A PAIR claim to have cracked the code to winning the lottery – and have £23million in prize money to prove it.

Math prodigy Jerry Selbee and his wife Marge became multi-millionaires after discovering a loophole in the lottery law.

Marge and Jerry Selbee won millions from the lottery


Marge and Jerry Selbee won millions from the lotteryCredit: 60 minutes
The math genius figured out how to turn the odds to his advantage back in 2003


The math genius figured out how to turn the odds to his advantage back in 2003Credit: John L Russell/AP

The triumphant retirees have been spinning tricks in the winfall game since 2003 after realizing how to turn the odds in their favor.

Michigan’s Jerry and Marge used “simple math” to figure out when they could hit the jackpot when buying multiple tickets at once.

The father, who has a bachelor’s degree and an MBA in math, says it only took him “about four minutes” to find the happy bug.

The now 83-year-old noted he was able to make money with Winfall’s roll-down gimmick, which awards lower prizes if the jackpot isn’t hit.

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Jerry and Marge told 60Minutes, “I looked at the probabilities of the game and it said that if the WinFall actually happened and nobody won the jackpot, the prize level would increase by a factor of 10.

“$50 for a three number winner and $1,000 for a four number winner and the odds were one in 56.5 for a three number winner and one in 1032 for a four number winner.”

Each Winfall ticket costs $1 and a player could pick six numbers between 1 and 49 on one ticket.

If the six Michigan Lottery numbers drawn were the same six numbers drawn by a player, that person would win a jackpot of at least $2 million or more.

As with other lottery games, if no player had the six numbers required for the jackpot, the windfall would roll over to the next week.

And if the player guessed five, four, three or two of the six numbers, lower prizes were awarded.

The clever couple conceded that “you don’t have to be lucky to win, but you have to be unlucky to lose”.

Jerry, who is a lifelong puzzle solver, realized that statistically a $1 ticket was worth more than $1 as long as no one guessed the six numbers during the roll-down weeks.

He explained, “Mathematically, if I played $1,100, I would have a four-digit winner, which is $1,000.

“I divided 1,100 by six instead of 57 because I did a mental quick dirty and I get 18.

“So I knew I was going to have either 18 or 19 three number winners and that’s $50 each.

“When I was 18, I got $1,000 for a four-number winner and I got 18 three-number winners worth $50 each, so that’s $900.

“So I invested $1,100 and got back $1,900.”


He soon revealed his secret to his wife, Marge, and they, along with their children and close friends, formed a betting group, GS Investment Strategies LLC, in the small town of Evart.

The group bought hundreds of thousands of tickets each time there was a roll-down week, earning between $7.5 million and $8 million (£5.8 million).

But in 2005, her home state of Winfall closed — forcing the couple to get creative.

They eventually found an almost identical game in Massachusetts and traveled there to find they could win even more money.

The state, 700 miles from their home, had a generous £1.5million ($2million) profit cap to capitalize on.

Jerry and Marge also found that there was a 92.8 percent chance that no one would bag the grand prizes – making the 15-hour drive worth it.

He added, “Our first game was $80,000 with 40,000 tickets, and our last game was $712,000 with 366,000 tickets.

“We spent 11 to 14 nights at the South Deerfield motel and it was something to look forward to.

We didn’t have to be lucky to win, but we had to be unlucky to lose

Jerry Selbee

“It was something different and it was profitable and it was able to help our family and help our friends with a little financial boost.”

However, their get-rich-quick scheme was soon rumbled upon by lottery officials – but the couple had done nothing wrong.

Jerry’s math skills easily allowed the duo to take advantage of gambling and netted them a tidy £23 million ($27,815 million).

Greg Sullivan, then Massachusetts State Inspector General, said he was “stupefied that these math nerd geniuses found a legal way to win a state lottery and make millions off it.”

And after the couple cracked the code to win millions, they’re now cracking Hollywood after selling the rights to their story.

The film Jerry and Marge Go Large, out in the US in June, follows their extraordinary hunt for the lottery jackpot.

Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston stars in Math, while American beauty actress Anette Benning takes on the role of Marge.

The prudent couple have invested their profits wisely, financially supported their children and paid for the education of their 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

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Jerry also bought gold and silver coins in anticipation of economic downturns, adding, “I think the dollar’s depreciation is a certainty.”

However, there was no snap vacation, no new hot tub, or even a sports car, as Jerry told CBS, “We don’t cruise.”

The modest winner's story has now been adapted into a film entitled Jerry and Marge Go Large


The modest winner’s story has now been adapted into a film entitled Jerry and Marge Go LargeCredit: 60 minutes

https://www.the-sun.com/money/6000212/scooped-millions-lottery-winnings-cracking-secret-code/ I scooped £23million in lottery winnings after cracking the secret code to beat the game – here’s how I did it


CELINE CASTRONUOVO is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. CELINE CASTRONUOVO joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: celine@dailynationtoday.com.

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