A FORMER maths professor won four big jackpots totaling $20million as she appeared to defy odds of 18 septillion to one.
But, Joan Ginther’s stunning wins were questioned as officials speculated how she managed to beat the game of chance.
Ginther, from Texas, won $5.4million on the lottery in 1993 before scooping a $2million prize in 2006.
She then bagged a $3million prize two years later before hitting a $10 million jackpot in the spring of 2010.
Ginther scored three of her wins on scratch cards that she bought from the same store in Bishop.
She would’ve defied odds of 18 septillion to one if she only bought four tickets.
Maths professors Sandy Norman and Eduardo Duenez told CBS News that winning four times over 17 years is “much less far fetched”.
It’s not known how many tickets Ginther has bought.
An expert from the Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada told Harper’s reporter Nathaniel Rich: “When something this unlikely happens in a casino, you arrest ‘em first and ask questions later.”
And, a casino surveillance expert in Las Vegas said: “She must have some kind of scam working.
“They need to lock her up. She would be on my blacklist.”
Rich revealed that Ginther was a retired maths professor who specialized in statistics.
Officials at the Texas Lottery Commission didn’t suspect any foul play, adding that Ginther must’ve been born under a lucky star.
Sun Bae, who sold Ginther’s last two winning tickets, told CBS that the lottery winner did not have a cell phone.
She said: “She is a very generous woman. She’s helped so many people.”
Meanwhile, lucky couple Jerry and Marge Selbee have claimed they’ve cracked the code to winning the lottery after scooping a total of $27million.
They told 60Minutes: “I looked at the probabilities of the game and it said that when the WinFall actually occurred and no one won the jackpot, that the prize level would go up 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 and a half for a three-number winner and one in 1032 for a four-number winner.”
Each ticket cost just $1 and a player could pick six numbers between 1 and 49.
The prize would roll over if no player matched the six numbers that were drawn.
Jerry and Marge realized that they “did not have to be lucky to win, but had to be unlucky to lose”.
They started a betting group and bought thousands of tickets every time there was a roll-down week, earning between $7.5million and $8million.
Their home state of Michigan closed down Winfall so they found an identical game in Massachusetts.
Jerry and Marge also discovered there was a 92.8 per cent chance of nobody bagging the top prizes – making the 15 hour trips worth it.
He added: “Our first play was $80,000 with 40,000 tickets, and our last play was $712,000 with 366,000 tickets.
CRACKED THE CODE
“We did spend 11 to 14 nights at the motel in South Deerfield and it was something we looked forward to.
“It was something different and it was profitable and it was able to help our family and help our friends out with a little financial boost.”
They had earned a whopping $27million.
Duane Ketterman, from Delaware, won $30,785 when he bought a Racetrax ticket in Baltimore earlier this month.
It was his second big win in just five weeks.
Ketterman told Maryland Lottery: “I couldn’t believe I won the first time. So when I saw this one, I was just stunned.”
He revealed that his wife was surprised when he told her about his big win.
And, a truck driver, known as Annapolis Man, bagged two huge jackpots after accidentally buying two tickets that had the same numbers.
The 39-year-old won a total of $50,000 on the Pick 5 Evening Draw on June 18 and used his birthdate 72782 as the inspiration for his numbers.
Robert Hamilton, of Indianapolis, Indiana, won $1million twice in just three months.
He took his first prize home in April after winning on the Hoosier Lottery’s $120million Cash Spectacular scratch-off game.
Lottery officials said that the chances of Hamilton winning the $1 million top prize is roughly one in two million, CBS reports.
Months later, Hamilton defied the odds again and scooped another $1million prize.
Lottery big wins
Playing the lottery is a game chance but some gamblers have managed to defy the odds, scooping big prizes.