Winning the lottery is just the beginning

Mistake Leads to $7 Million Win

As customer service manager at a retail store in Falls Church, Virginia, Michael Connelly, was busy ringing up Powerball tickets for customers during the big $1.5 billion runup, but for one of those customers, he accidently hit the wrong button on the terminal. Instead of Powerball, he hit Virginia’s Cash4Life® button and generated a ticket that the customer didn’t want, so he ended up buying the ticket himself.

That “mistake” won him the top prize.

His ticket matched all six numbers in the January 7 Cash4Life® drawing. Donnelly’s prize was a choice between $1,000 per day for the rest of his life or a one-time cash option of $7 million before taxes. He chose the cash option.

He didn’t realize Read more

Maybe You Saw Them On TV…..One of the Winners in the $1.58 Billion Powerball Game

After a whirlwind trip to New York City for a visit with The Today Show, the Tennessee winners of one-third of the historic, world record-breaking Powerball jackpot of $1.58 BILLION arrived at Tennessee Lottery headquarters in Nashville today to claim their share of the prize, an incredible $528.8 million.

Lisa and John Robinson of Munford, along with their daughter Tiffany and dog Abby, were greeted at the door by Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove.

“I am a little overwhelmed and excited,” Lisa Robinson said during the afternoon press conference. “We just wanted a little piece of the pie, but instead we got a big piece!”

The jackpot ticket was one of three Powerball tickets to match all six numbers drawn on January 13, 2016, to win the $1.58 billion jackpot.

The Robinsons chose to receive the lump sum cash payment of $327,835,000 Read more

The Global Lottery Craze

The game of lottery can be played in many different ways though the most popular and most common format involves the random selection of numbers – with bettors holding tickets with the same numerals declared as winners. However, there are other forms of lotteries being played. These come in different formats and the prizes vary as well.

Apart from the standard “drawing the numbers from a basket” kind of lottery, where the bettors select their numbers; there are lotteries that use scratch cards. The consumers buy special cards and scratch off portions on it. If the exposed portion reveals a pre-specified code, a combination of images, a specific image, a name, a word – whatever; then the holder of the scratch card either claims a (consolation) prize or is declared the winner.

The prizes given out during lotteries vary as well and these could either be in the form of a fixed amount of money or goods or products. Lotteries that give out fixed cash are risky for the organizer as they may not be able to recoup their investment if not enough tickets were sold. For organizers, the “50-50” type of lottery is much preferred.

This type of lottery is the most commonly and widely used format because, instead of a fixed amount, the prize can be just a percentage of the total receipts or ticket sales. As the name itself implies, half of the total revenue generated will be given as the prize money. In lotteries such as this, there could be a predetermined number of winners, as is the case when each ticket sold corresponds to a unique lottery ticket; or have several people winning (or none at all), as is what normally occurs when consumers are allowed to select a number or a combination of numbers.

For percentage based lotteries, in most cases, if the jackpot prize is not won, the said amount is set aside and whatever is earned in the succeeding ticket sales that lead up to the next lottery draw is added to the old prize money thus making the pot that will be up for grabs even bigger. Since the prize money gets larger and larger every time it is not won, the organizers are assured that more people will be enticed to buy not just one but several lottery tickets for the succeeding draws.

Incidentally, usually, there are no limits to the number of lottery tickets you can buy…….but are they rigged?

Many believe that lotteries, a game of chance that involves the random drawing of numbers, cannot be rigged; however, there have been instances where investigations have proven that this too can be fixed.

In the late 1990s, it was discovered that the results one of the many lotteries held in Italy, was rigged. The organizers, in order to increase credibility of the game’s impartiality, ask blindfolded children to draw the winning numbers. However, investigators found out that this ruse is flawed. The blindfold used to cover the eyes of the children did not completely block out the child’s sight.

These “faulty blindfolds” afforded the children a degree of vision (not complete vision) – vision that’s enough for them to discern one thing from another. To aid the children, the hollow metal balls used in the lottery are shined, with the balls that correspond to the desired winning numbers, buffed to a very high gloss. These balls would be shinier and feel smoother to the touch. After the numbers have been drawn, the children are given a toy or candies and asked to keep quiet. The police believe that key members of the organizers are involved in this scandal and, even the children asked to draw the numbers, are remotely related to employees of the organizers.

Inspectors believe that the cheating started out as a low-key operation but spiraled out of control when the local mafia found out about it and wanted to be part of the syndicate. Although many have been arrested, many others have managed to flee the city and may still be rigging lotteries in other nearby Italian cities. At that time, investigators believe that the rigging has been going on for over a decade.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at 888poker

Lottery Syndicates

As I have already mentioned my field of expertise is in poker and there are many syndicates in poker too and especially with poker tournaments where the losing runs can be long. At sites like 888poker then you have some huge fields and winning any of these events could literally be a once in a lifetime experience even for good players. So many players enter into syndicates and this helps to smooth out the losing runs.

This is why they are very popular in lotteries because they give people a chance to win big more often. If you join a syndicate with 50 people in it and each has 2 lines then you have 100 lines for every draw which means that you are 50 times more likely to win something. However this works in reverse as well of course because if you win say $1 million then that figure has to be divided by 50 and so $20,000 no longer equals a life changing sum of money.

There are risks to syndicates and the main one is trust. Can you trust all of the people to pay up on time and can you trust the person who is leading the syndicate with the money? These are questions that need to be asked and answered because we have all heard stories of people who have been caught with their proverbial hand in the till so to speak. If you can overcome the trust factor then they are a good idea in my opinion.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at 888poker

So You have Won the Lottery

In order to answer this question, you would have to analyze your personal situation. Different circumstances warrant different decisions. Take for example Mrs. Louise Outtings who won the Megabucks Lottery in Massachusetts a few years ago. She won a whopping 5.6 million dollars (projected winnings).

She wasn’t given the option of getting her winnings as a lump sum. In her case, she has no choice. The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission only gives out the winnings at 20 equal installments over a period of time. The thing is, Mrs. Outtings is not exactly a spring chicken – she was, at the time of her win, 94 years old! As such, she probably won’t live long enough to enjoy all her winnings.

However, that is such a special case. All things being equal, what should your choice be? Take the lump sum payment or extend it over a period of time? According to expert Rick Bloom, his general rule is to take the lump sum option. Again, this is considering that one’s situation is not exceptional. Why does he recommend this option?

First, consider the taxes. No matter which option you choose, you would still be taxed at the highest bracket. At present, the tax rate for lottery winnings would be about 39.5 percent. If you take out all your money you will have the chance to invest it and make it grow more. The applicable tax for this investment would then be only about 20 percent, which is a lot of savings for you.

If you make taxes your main consideration, it makes sense to merely take out the lump sum. It lowers your tax burden over the long run as you receive capital gains treatment and then have the chance of choosing your means of increasing your earnings.

However, you would also have to consider your investment savvy. Mismanaging lottery winning is one very common scenario. Having a windfall sometimes knocks the senses out of people. Still, having the payments staggered is not a guarantee of proper financial management. With that in mind, it would still be better to get the lump sum and employ the services of a financial adviser.

Whether you get the lump sum or extended payments, the bottom line is your financial sense. Taking the time to plan and make decisions is what will benefit you in the long run.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker

Three Winners Share $1.6 Billion Powerball Prize

Well, it was bound to happen.

As soon as the numbers were drawn on 1/13 there almost had to be a winner. Why? Because people play birthdays… and if all the numbers drawn are 1-31 odds are that with all the betting for the big jackpot, someone would win.

Congratulations to the ticket owners in Florida, California and Tennessee.

What a blessing.

Spend that money wisely. And your kids and grandkids and … will never have to worry about money again.



$7 Million Winner Celebrated Christmas (2015) Early

Christmas came a little early for Rigoberto Mejia of Staten Island, who won $7,000,000 on the New York Lottery’s $7,000,000 Golden Ticket scratch-off game just two days before Christmas.

Mejia, the owner of a construction company, said he plays different New York Lottery scratch-off games all the time. Mejia said, “I always buy the tickets with the biggest prizes.”

On November 30, Mejia bought his winning ticket while on his lunch hour. He said, “I scratched off all the numbers and saw Read more

Are You All in? $1.4 Billion Powerball Lottery in Play This Week

Take that, El Gordo!

El Gordo, that multi billion Spanish lottery, has always gotten notice as the biggest and best. But did you know that it is a lottery that pays out its prizes in the thousands? No one wins a top jackpot prize and becomes an instant billionaire.

So this week’s Powerball game is unique. And someone could become an instant billionaire.

Are you gonna pay and play? For $2 who can resist?

After all…despite the crazy odds of 292 million to 1. Someone will eventually win.

We’ll report back on the Wednesday results later this week.





Odd things to do with the Lottery

Let’s deviate from the numbers and all that math that people tend to focus on when talking about the lottery.  For you avid lottery enthusiasts out there, have you ever thought of revolutionary ways you could put a lottery ticket to use?  This post may strike others as funny, others useless.  It is up to you to decide but here are some different things we can do with a lottery ticket.

Do you go to convenience stores?  Probably yes, right?  If so, you’ve noticed those cans or boxes at the counter which serve as repositories for loose change that goes to charity.  How about adding a little twist?  Instead of merely giving your loose change, why not buy a scratch card and put it in with your loose change?  It may be a long shot but you never know!

Along these lines, do you give food or money to the vagrant you pass on the street?  Not many people do, but if you are one of them, why not buy another scratch card and keep it in your pocket for when someone asks you for money.  In addition to your usual dollar, give him the lottery ticket.  Again, you just might be changing that person’s life with that ticket – you never know.

I am sure many of you are shaking your heads in wonder – thinking if I am going nuts.  Really, no.  Long shots may seem impossible but there is always that chance.  In the next post, I’ll share more things to do with a lottery ticket.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who also plays online poker at and does the lotteryl

Trust in Gambling is Hard to Come by

Scams abound all around us.  They range from the simple to the complex yet they are all the same – they aim to fool someone and get money off of them.  In the world of lotto there are many scams that may just part you with your hard earned savings.  So if you are a lotto enthusiast, I suggest that you be careful in your dealings as you just might be scammed.  Here are some of the most common scams today.

This is very very common today, with people from all corners of the earth receiving e-mails almost on a daily basis.  The subject will usually be something about you winning a large amount of money in an African lottery.  It will then be from someone with an official sounding title.  So far so good, eh?  Well, here comes the scam.  In order for you to receive your winnings, you have to send them details about your bank account – essentially allowing the to draft all the money out of it.  Either that or they will ask you to wire money as the courier fee.  This can range from hundreds of pounds to a thousand or so.

Now before you get scammed, stop and think.  How could you have won in the Nigerian lottery in the first place?  Have you ever joined their lottery?  The simple truth is you cannot win if you didn’t join.  Period.  Now check their e-mail account.  It is probably yahoo or hotmail isn’t it?  Now why would a lottery use a free e-mail account?  Because it is virtually untraceable.

So whether it is the lottery, casino games or online poker……the facts remain that there will always be people out there that will stop at nothing in order to get your money. So always be on the lookout for scams and cheats and always look to watch your own back. I fly by the motto that if I am interested in something then I will seek out whatever information I need.

Anybody that contacts me and spams me has an almost zero chance of getting my attention and an absolute zero chance of getting my money.


Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker

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