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Posted: Thursday, Apr 11,2019 | Time: 07:04 am | Edited by: The Lottery Lab Staff
We’ve all heard stories about lottery players doing crazy things after they win. Some use special skills to win while others spend their lottery winnings foolishly. Here are some weird winning stories for you-
A Florida resident started noticing changes in her husband’s behavior. He began keeping the phone unplugged and the television switched off. One day she found some letters about a new house purchase in their mailbox. Curious about the behavior of her husband, she searched for her husband’s name on Google. It was only then that she learned that her husband had won a $19 million jackpot through a syndicate with 16 of his colleagues. She was understandably furious at him for trying to hide his winnings. When she confronted him, he ran away and abandoned her. Naturally, she sued him for half the winnings.
Michael Caroll started out as a part-time trash collector and ended up as a lottery legend for all the wrong reasons. When he won, he didn’t even have a bank account, but that didn’t last long. With his winnings, he bought a luxury 5-bedroom property called The Grange and hoseted endless drug-fueled parties that would last for days. For amusement, he turned the property’s back garden into a demolition derby track. Before he abandoned the property, the electricity and gas were cut off, the house was wrecked and the garden was full of dozens of cars in various states of disrepair. At the height of his excess, he adorned himself with gold rings, necklaces, and watches worth thousands of dollars. One day, his jewelry was stolen and the next day he went out and replaced it all. He was arrested for numerous felonies, including one where he fired steel balls from the back of his Mercedes car and broke 32 car and shop windows.
By 2010, he reapplied for his old job as a trash collector. He admitted on national television that all his money was gone and he was bankrupt. But, he told the press that he doesn’t regret the way he spent his money.
A cocktail waitress named Cynthia Jay Brennan made her way to the Monte Carlo casino in Las Vegas. On January 26, 2000, she was celebrating her future mother-in-law’s birthday and she took a shot at the Megabucks slot machine and won. The progressive game had been rolling for quite a while and she won $34,959,458 on her ninth pull. At that time, it was the biggest Megabucks jackpot in history. Two weeks after her win, she married her boyfriend. Seven weeks after that, she got into an accident and would never walk again.
A drunk driver named Clark Morse with 16 prior arrests slammed into Cynthia, killing her sister and paralyzing Cynthia from the chest down. She was planning to travel the world with her husband, instead, she was confined to a wheelchair, mourning her sister. She was unable to even feed herself or comb her hair. The drunk driver was sentenced to prison for a minimum of 28 years. Cynthia said she’d give all her winnings back if she could get her sister back or only walk again.
If you’ve seen the 2008 movie “21”, then you know that MIT students are always finding ways to beat the system! The movie was actually a fictionalized tale of college students who devised a math formula to win at blackjack. The actual story was a bit different from the movie. Students used card counting, a technique that predicts the probability that upcoming cards will primarily high or low. When players expect high cards they raise bets and vice versa. The movie made it seem like doing this required a wizard or photographic memory but in actuality, counting cards just require and keeping track of the decks. While this technique is legal, the problem is that the dealer may notice that you are raising and lowering your bets and winning a lot of money. When this happens, you may be asked to leave or the casino may switch dealers (and decks) on you.
The MIT student syndicate handled this problem by working as a team. They assigned different members with different tasks. A few members would count cards and signal the counts to a third member, who would bet exclusively at high count tables. Then other members would simply distract the dealers with huge bets of their own, ignoring the count and roughly breaking even. They won big and even established an investment company to handle their bankrolls.
There’s another blackjack legend who did better than the MIT team within a time span of just 6 months in 2011. Don Johnson didn’t count cards, instead, he negotiated special rules with the casinos to get an edge. Those rules helped him to grab some more winnings the more he played. He identified some casinos with favorable house rules and played at tables with an optimal number of decks. There are casinos that allow only one split and may ban splitting aces at all but Johnson focused on tables that allowed him split any favorable hand into up to 4 separate hands. He also only gambled with dealers who stopped drawing when their hand totaled 17 AND included an ace. But the biggest advantage he had was a guaranteed payback.
There are casinos that lure high-rollers by offering 10% paybacks. Johnson negotiated a massive 20% payback. This means that if he won $500,000, he’d get to keep everything, and if he lost that amount, he’d still get $100,000 back. Moreover, he negotiated the right to bet up to $25,000 a hand. This would never help a typical player but it helped Johnson because he had an edge over the house. With his quick wit and accurate calculations, he managed to win about $15 million from 3 casinos in just 6 months.
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