The mystique or magic of multiple big money prize winners
For the vast majority of the population, winning a significant amount of money, a life-changing amount of money remains a daydream.
Every week millions of people around the globe will pay their entry fees for lottery games, scratch card games, or will take to online casinos to try their luck on the Mega Moolah for the latest jackpots. After all someone has to win it.
This seemingly ceaseless quest ends in inevitable disappointment for the vast majority, but for a lucky few, fortune shines down and they will take home a win that will ensure their lives will never be the same again.
A great example being Jon Heywood, a former British soldier who wagered £0.25 on a spin of the Mega Moolah slot one evening in October 2015, and on one of his spins saw his meager stake turn into a £13,213,838 windfall, the biggest single online slots jackpot win in history as confirmed by Guinness World Records.
There are plenty of stories around the globe of people who have seen their lives change just as Jon's did following a single large jackpot win. However there are an even rarer group of people who can claim to have defied huge odds, not just once but sometimes twice and on extremely rare occasions, on three or even four times!
This is the realm of that most mysterious of jackpot-hunting player; the multiple big money prize winner.
The Remarkable story of Megabucks millionaire, Elmer Sherwin
Back in 1989, the native 76-year-old Ohioan Elmer Sherwin and his wife were on a lengthy road trip around the United States visiting friends and family from their mobile home. They arrived in Las Vegas to visit some family members, but also for a little down time.
On their travels, Elmer (a keen slots player) had spent around $100 per week trying to achieve seemingly the impossible, landing the multi-million dollar Megabucks progressive jackpot prize. Over seven weeks, Elmer had not had any luck.
That would change on the evening of the opening of the famous casino The Mirage on Las Vegas famous strip. Elmer attended the grand opening of what has become one of the most famous casinos on the strip. Ten hours later, he would leave the casino a changed man.
Sherwin took his $100 kitty out for the week and played the Megabucks slot as usual and didn't have any luck. However on this night, his wife passed him an extra $20 which he put into the machine. He spun the reels and then it happened.
That spin triggered the incredible Megabucks progressive jackpot of $4,652,177. To celebrate Elmer's huge win, casino owner Steve Wynn hosted Sherwin and his wife in the exclusive Penthouse Suite for the evening.
Sherwin was frugal with his cash treating himself only to a recliner chair and a Dodge Colt in the months following his win, giving away some of his money to friends and family and using the rest to indulge his passion for travel.
Where Sherwin's story starts to take a turn for the unusual occurred 16 years later. By this time Sherwin was 92 and had move to Las Vegas. He was still a frequent video poker and slots player and still played the game that had rewarded him so handsomely many years ago.
Then one day Sherwin headed to the Cannery Casino and Hotel in North Las Vegas and as per usual started to play Megabucks when the incredible and not to mention almost impossible happened.
Sherwin triggered another Megabucks Progressive Jackpot win. This time for an incredible $21,147,947.
What must be pointed out here was that Sherwin's gaming habits had not changed in the intervening years, he still only wagered a modest amount each week. He even refused free comps from casinos and other free offers following his second win as he preferred his frugal method of playing.
Sherwin died a year after his second win at age 93 and he remains the only player confirmed to have ever won the Megabucks progressive jackpot twice.
Double Euro Millions winners, David and Kathleen Long
It is not just on the slots where big money jackpots can be won; occasionally lottery games can throw up people fortunate enough to hit the big money twice and in March 2015, Scunthorpe-based couple David and Kathleen Long became a member of this very exclusive club.
Back in 2013, the couple celebrated a momentous win on the Euro Millions lottery game, winning one of the £1m jackpot prizes available. Then two years later in the March 2015 Mega Friday prize draw, David entered another ticket and saw his numbers come up once again.
They had won another £1m jackpot prize, the odds of this startling success is around 283 billion to one!
They are the first and so far only people to have won £1m or more twice on the Euro Millions prize draw, or indeed on the UK National Lottery draw, although there are several instances of players winning smaller prizes on at least two occasions in the draw.
Joan Ginter, just incredibly lucky, or a statistical genius?
If Elmer Sherwin's two big jackpot wins can be put down to good luck, is it possible for someone to win three big jackpots legitimately? How about four? Well that is precisely what Joan Ginther found out when she struck it lucky an incredible FOUR TIMES playing lottery scratch cards.
Further muddying the waters was the discovery that Ginther was a Stanford University graduate with a PhD in Statistics. A fact which has seen many commentators feel that there was something more than good luck at work in her quartet of big money wins.
Although living in Las Vegas, Ginter's wins have all come on the same Texas lottery scratch card game and in total, she has won over $20 million dollars from the game alone.
Her luck began with a $5.4 million win, followed by another win of $2 million dollars ten years later. She didn't have to wait long for her third win, a $3 million windfall just two years later followed by a huge $10 million win in the summer of 2010.
Incredibly, three of her wins in the space of six years all came from tickets purchased in the same town from the same Mini Mart shop.
The odds of this remarkable run of success has been calculated as one in eighteen septillion (1 in 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) and that such a lucky run as this should only happen, on average, once every quadrillion years.
Such remarkable luck has led to, perhaps understandable, claims that Ginter somehow used her knowledge of statistics, combined with insider knowledge about how the lottery is organised and the tickets distributed to 'beat the system'.
However, the Texas Lottery Commission do not suspect cheating, or abuse of the system, simply stating that Mrs Ginter must have been "born under a lucky star".
Luck or statistics, whatever the case may be there are some simple ways you can increase your chances. For example, when playing the Mega Moolah wager the max bet and all lines to increase your chances to trigger the Mega Moolah Jackpot Bonus game. Quite simply, the more times you trigger the Jackpot Bonus game the more chances you'll have winning - if not the Mega prize, then perhaps the Major, which is still a nice sum as our two latest Major winners will agree with.
When playing lotto, don't use the "quick pick" automated selections because lotteries have a vested interest in repeating unpopular numbers (that get rarely drawn) in the auto-generated lotto slips. Also when manually entering numbers, don't repeat numbers, instead pick unique numbers per game, or add to the mix one or two "popular" numbers that are drawn more often. These are just some small ways to increase your chances, even by a little bit... it can't hurt to become at least a little bit of a "statistician" when trying to crack the big prize!
The great thing about playing lotto online is that you can now play lotteries worldwide. Put your lucky numbers to work around the world! Learn more about this hugely popular way to play lotto.
Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.