How to win the lottery, according to a mathematician who won 14 times

There’s a science behind
hacking the lottery.

Sullivan/Getty Images

four times as likely
to be struck by lightning than to win
the lottery.

Those odds apparently don’t apply to Stefan Mandel, a
Romanian-Australian economist who’s won the lottery 14 times,
Hustle reported in a feature story about the mathematician

Mandel’s first two wins were in his native Romania, where he was
trying to earn enough money to get his family out of the then
communist country. His salary was just $88 a month.

He moved to Israel before settling down in Australia, where he
won the lottery an additional 12 times.

Plenty of lottery winners end up
blowing it all
— spending it on huge houses and Porsches,
gambling it away, or getting slammed with lawsuits. Robert Pagliarini, a certified
financial planner,
previously told Business Insider
that to prevent that,
lottery winners should assemble a “financial triad” to help plan
for their financial future.

“This includes an attorney, a tax person, and a financial
adviser,” Pagliarini said. “This financial dream team can help
you make smart financial decisions and help you plan for the
future. They can also help shield you from the media and from the
onslaught of money requests from others.”

The key way to navigate a sudden windfall like winning the
lottery, Pagliarini said, is to keep calm and focus on the long
term with pragmatic financial planning.

As for Mandel, he set his sights on hacking Virginia’s lottery,
but his stunts eventually landed him in an Israeli prison for 20
months. Now he lives a quiet life in Vanuatu, a South Pacific
island country known for its volcanoes and waterfalls.

While his scheme was legal at the time, new laws in the US and
Australia render Mandel’s scheme impossible nowadays. You can no
longer buy lottery tickets in bulk and print your tickets at home
— two key parts of Mandel’s formula.

Here’s the 6-step formula for how Mandel managed to make serious
cash from the lottery:

  1. Calculate the total number of possible combinations. (For a
    lottery that requires you to pick six numbers from 1 to 40, that
    means 3,838,380 combinations.)
  2. Find lotteries where the jackpot is three times or more the
    number of possible combinations.
  3. Raise enough cash to pay for each combination.
    (Mandel rounded up 2,524 investors for his push to win the
    Virginia lottery.)
  4. Print out millions of tickets with every combination. (This
    used to be legal. Now you would have to buy the tickets right
    from the store.)
  5. Deliver the tickets to authorized lottery dealers.
  6. Win the cash. And don’t forget to pay your investors. (Mandel
    pocketed $97,000 after a $1.3 million win in 1987.)

Read the entire feature about Mandel’s feat in
The Hustle.

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