A Mableton, Georgia man has unlocked a fortune. Using the combination for his high school locker from 1970, 63-year-old Henry “Calvin” Nash won $1 million from matching the first five winning numbers of a Mega Millions drawing at the beginning of June.
“Numbers stick in my head,” the new millionaire explained.
The Mega Millions annuity is paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments — each one being 5% bigger than the previous one. Nash and his wife of 40 years, Brenda — who is also his high school sweetheart — plan to use the money to continue taking trips on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles and enjoying their life together.
While it may seem like an odd way to play the lottery, picking your own numbers is the smarter way to play, according to Richard Lustig, seven-time lottery grand prize winner and author of Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning The Lottery.
The odds of winning are, as most people are more than aware of, astronomical. If you play the Mega Millions, you have a one in 176 million shot at winning a fortune. In other words, you’re more likely to have identical quadruplets (one in 15 million), becoming president (one in 10 million), winning an Olympic gold medal (one in 662,000), finding out your child is a genius (one in 250), or even dating a millionaire (just one in 215, actually).
In order to overcome such odds, Lustig says a player is guaranteed to increase his or her odds by picking his or her own numbers rather than using the “quick pick” option, in which a computer randomly generates lotto numbers for a player.
“The lazy way out is to buy quick-picks. The computer picks out the numbers,” Lustig told CBS. “Don’t play quick-picks. Quick-picks are the worst thing you can do, you are playing with the worst odds.”
In other words, it could pay to have a set of lucky numbers like Nash’s, even if they haven’t won yet.