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How to win the lottery

By Tony Thornton Modified: September 28, 2007 at 1:09 am •  Published: September 28, 2007
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Watching TV with a notepad nearby paid handsomely for Bridget Koelsch of Newalla.

Koelsch was among several Oklahomans who chose their Powerball numbers from a show telecast Sunday on The Learning Channel.

The show, "How the Lottery Changed My Life,” ran a set of six numbers the show claimed hit most frequently.

As if on cue, five of those six numbers were picked during Wednesday's Powerball drawing.

The odds of that happening for any drawing are 1 in 584,432, said Jim Scroggins, executive director of the Oklahoma Lottery. The chance of it happening so quickly can't be calculated, he said.

Koelsch was hardly alone while standing in line to collect her $20,000 prize Thursday.

"There were four other people who were there while I was there who had picked their numbers from the TV show,” she said.

More winners than usual
At least 16 tickets sold in Oklahoma for Wednesday's drawing are worth $10,000 or more. That number far exceeds the norm, Scroggins said.

Koelsch matched four of the five regular numbers plus the Powerball number.

Nationally, Powerball officials expected 29 winners at that level, based on sales before Wednesday's drawing. Instead, there were 256 such tickets, lottery officials said.

"It's the most winners I've ever seen,” said Scroggins, who has been in the lottery industry 29 years.

The only comparable event he could recall came last year, also in a Powerball drawing. Officials traced that phenomenon to "a new batch of fortune cookies that went out” shortly before the drawing, Scroggins said. Most fortune cookies list lucky numbers for lottery players.

A ticket purchased in Kentucky won Wednesday's $61.5 million Powerball jackpot. The TV show wasn't a factor for the winners, a group of current and former co-workers at a printer cartridge plant. They let a computer choose their numbers, said Chip Polston, a Kentucky lottery spokesman.

The biggest Oklahoma winner, Denise Moore of Pond Creek, won $200,000 by matching the five "regular” balls.

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Is it all in the numbers?
Since Aug. 31, 2005, these six numbers have been chosen in

30 or more Powerball drawings. The TV show "How the Lottery Changed My Life" listed the six "most likely to hit” numbers as 8, 25, 31, 50, 44 and 54.

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