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Powerball players clamor for shot at $162 million

Oct 21, 2003, 4:09 am

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Jo Pictor has been playing the lottery regularly since 1986 and is still hopeful that the next drawing will call her lucky numbers.

"Last year, I played in 11 states," Pictor, 80, said. "If I win, the grandkids will be very happy because they will each get a new car."

The Westsider bought three Powerball lottery tickets Monday afternoon in Santa Teresa, beating the rush of ticket buyers eager for a chance at winning an estimated $162 million jackpot.

Wednesday's drawing will be the 15th since the jackpot run began Sept. 3.

"We'll start getting lots of people around noon (today)," said Carrie Neese, a cashier at the Cigarette Outlet store, which draws crowds of ticket buyers when the Powerball jackpot goes above $100 million.

"We have some customers that buy $500 worth or more," Neese said.

Westsider Mario Trejo drove into New Mexico on Monday afternoon to buy five tickets for the multistate lottery.

"You can only win with one ticket," said Trejo, a regular lottery player. "But I'd probably die of a heart attack if I actually won."

The odds of winning a Powerball grand prize are one in more than 120 million.

Wednesday's $162 million jackpot is expected to climb to about $189 million Saturday if there are no winners Wednesday.

New Mexico Lottery spokeswoman Nadine Guillen said ticket sales reached $833,152 in New Mexico for last Saturday's drawing.

The record Powerball jackpot of $314.9 million was won Dec. 25, 2002, in West Virginia. Powerball tickets are sold in 24 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Northeast El Pasoan Merle Martin bought 15 Powerball tickets Monday.

"If I win, I'll spend, spend, spend, spend -- but I doubt I'll win," he said.

He plans to share any lottery money he wins with his family.

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