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A retired Mathematician Won $26 Million from US State Lottery

A few years ago, Jerry Selbee figured out how to legally win lotteries in Michigan. How? It was all about the roll down.

What is a roll down? In Michigan's WinFall lottery, if there was no grand prize winner that matched all six numbers from a field of 49 on a ticket and a jackpot limit was reached. Then instead of letting the jackpot grow, the lottery "rolled down" to give the next tier of players a chance to win. Instead of having to match all the numbers on a ticket, a winner would only need to match five, four or even three numbers to be a winner.

Any mathematician will tell you that doing so increases the odds of winning. The retired Selbee earned a mathematics degree from Western Michigan University and loved numbers. He also loved winning.

Selbee knew that as the odds of winning increased, the ease of calculating a match also increased. He used his math skills to calculate those odds. He was able to figure out that if he purchased a certain number of tickets, there was a high probability that he would hit a match.