Joan Ginther, Serial Lottery Winner: Lucky Or a Genius Who Gamed the System?

Categories: Texas, Whatever

texas-lottery-lo080911.jpg
Has the lottery been played?
You may remember Joan Ginther, the woman who's racked up four Texas Lottery million-dollar-plus wins over the years.

The lottery said she had just gotten lucky, but now one expert thinks she might have figured out how to game the system in a completely legal way.

Nathaniel Rich, writing in Harper's Magazine (it's subscription-required but summarized here), notes Ginther has a PhD in math from Stanford, which we guess is harder to get than a journalism degree from UH.

He says she's figured out the algorithm used in printing scratch-offs, and the lottery's method of delivering cards to stores, to greatly increase her chance of buying a winner.

[Rich] believes that after Ms Ginther figured out the algorithm, it wouldn't be too difficult to then determine where the tickets would be shipped, as the shipping schedule is apparently fixed, and there were a few sources she could have found it out from.

Scratch-off tickets aren't manufactured randomly, since the state has to guarantee a certain percentage of winners. So some formula has to be devised to create them. Two of the winning tickets were sold at the same convenience store.

Ginther has been extremely secretive with her wins, choosing the "no publicity" option each time. She's won at least $20.4 million over the years, and lives in Las Vegas, although she was for a time a resident of Bishop in South Texas.

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
Genf20
Genf20

Well he is a lucky guy !

ok scratchcards
ok scratchcards

An gripping word is designer note. I conceive that you should correspond much on this theme, it power not be a inhibition human but mostly group are not sufficiency to verbalize on such topics. 

jose
jose

I don't believe in a system to win lottery.. It's plain luck and some strategic selection of numbers.. The scratch cards though are completely luck based.. Thought I'd share, nice write-up.

Damianvigorito
Damianvigorito

She's a crook? She buys winning lotto tickets and takes a 10% fee. Because she's smart enough to avoid paying taxes. Win the lottery and pay no taxes or collect 90%.

George Edward Purdy
George Edward Purdy

Ask the people at G-Tech if they think there's a way to "game the system" other than luck. They investigate any suspicious circumstances.

Oz
Oz

If she figured out the system, then I think she deserves to win

Pedro
Pedro

"...a lottery spokesman said that the agency does not keep track of multiple winners."

A multi-billion-dollar gambling agency doesn't keep track of where its money is going?  Oh, REALLY?

What a ridiculous lie, mafia spokeman.

Texas Lotto Results
Texas Lotto Results

I wish I could figure out a way to beat the lottery and win millions! Oh well I'll just have to carry on in the hope I do win one day! 

Rob Daily
Rob Daily

Can anyone win the 4th time without the Lottery Check Mate ?

Guest
Guest

"The Joan Ginther story has been in the public domain since June 2010 when she claimed her fourth lottery prize at Texas Lottery headquarters in Austin, Texas."

Public domain?  News is not copyrightable.

Gaspar Ramsey
Gaspar Ramsey

Every time I hear about someone pulling a rabbit out of a hat, I look for a trapdoor. Somebody needs to look for that trapdoor someplace in the ticket factory, I would think.

Jeff
Jeff

Where is Robert DeNiro when you need him.

Sancho
Sancho

Several questions about this story and the theory it suggests.  First, according to the story Joan's first win was on a Lotto Texas drawing, not a scratch-off- completely different types of games.  Second, it strikes me as odd that a town the size of Bishop (approximately 3000) would have multiple million-dollar scratch-offs allotted to the town.  The number of million dollar prizes is miniscule, so for a small town to have multiple large jackpots sold is simply amazing.  I'm not really sure any algorithm could account for the town of Bishop having multi mega jackpots when the number of those jackpots is so small (1 in 3.4 million on one of the current games).  So, while Joan might have duped the system, I think she is quite possibly the luckiest person on the face of the earth.

El Diablo Lobo
El Diablo Lobo

She made a deal with the devil. It's that simple.

Kevin
Kevin

 well i believe riches theory, if a certain store sells a number of tickets, say $20 scratch off tickets, they sell all of them in a week, new packs get ordered and if they sell good Then a top prize for that scatch off is sent too that store. That's how Joan Ginther figured out the system and used it for her advantage. Winning tickets still sell in bishop, tx, if you look in the winning section on the texas lottery website. I heard the times market where Joan won 3 times sells over 1000 tickets a week. If you sell that many tickets, top prizes will be sold there. That's my theory. Joan ginther knew that the times market store was a lucky store and she had the money too buy alot of tickets so she took advantage of that and she is one lucky lady. Nothing illegal about that.

Opopo
Opopo

The lottery is a scam.  But don't take my word for it, keep playing.  You'll win a million dollars I'm sure.

Vintom Lebowski
Vintom Lebowski

They are using a different definition of "public domain" (instead of referring to copyright status, referring to "whether the info is out there")

Guest
Guest

It only says she LIVED in Bishop, that doesn't mean she bought all of her tickets there.

Adam Lewis
Adam Lewis

may we know how YOU would know this?

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...