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Playing the Powerball lottery takes some guts

And all the right numbers in the correct order

Like many offices across the country, my office pooled spare change and bought a few tickets for the recent Powerball that promised a $588 million payoff (minus taxes and lump sum discount).

And like most of those office workers, we all came back to work on Monday.

As many of you know, I like to have meaningless fun with numbers, so I started analyzing our computer-generated picks. I made a grid numbered 1-59 and then eliminated all of the numbers we had picked.

I figured our luck was such that we wouldn’t get any numbers right and I should, on my own, play the numbers we weren’t already playing.

I looked the list over and realized that I’d have to spend about $20 to cover all the unused numbers, and I’d have to have one ticket with all the right numbers in order. That didn’t seem very likely to me.

I had a gut feeling about the number 6, which was on the list of unpicked numbers. I thought 6 would be the Powerball number. I felt pretty good about it. I felt pretty confident, too, that none of my other numbers would hit.

I wish I had had a better gut feeling about the othernumbers because, as it turned out, the 6 was the Powerball number. Had I bought a ticket using 6 as the last number, I would have won $4 on every $2 bet, even if no other number had hit. So, my $20 investment would have paid $40 had I actually bought tickets.

Turns out, the 6 was the only number among the office’s unpicked numbers that hit. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have a good feeling toward those orphaned numbers. None of them hit.

I did pick out six numbers that I intended to play, but I left the note at work and didn’t want to make a trip back across town to get them.

Had I played them, I would have won $7 on my ticket. Had I retrieved my numbers, I would have spent close to that on gasoline.

So, the office numbers were all good numbers, except the Powerball number. Had we put them in the right order, we would have won $1million.

Add my Powerball number and we’d have struck it rich.

And if turkeys could fly worth a darn, we’d all be eating chicken for Thanksgiving.

I guess I’m stuck with all my old friends; if we’d won the $588million, I suspect there’d be a few new ones lining up.


© Copyright 2012 by David Porter who can be reached at All rights reserved. I think if I had hundreds of millions of dollars, I’d install gold-plated door handles and let everybody have a turn.

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