Aug 9, 2004, 8:19 am
Pick a number, every number.
That's how Ken Seidel and a few St. Louis-area buddies seized the opportunity to make a Missouri Lottery game a nearly sure thing.
The numbers the lottery drew in Thursday's midday Pick 3 game were 4-5-2 in the regular drawing and 1-4-4 in a bonus drawing that Seidel says guaranteed him a 20 percent return on the $23,000 of chances he and his friends bought, at $1 a pop.
That's an easy $4,600 profit.
The daily Pick 3 drawing allows players to choose three numbers from 0-0-0 to 9-9-9, with each winning ticket worth $600.
Seidel's payout was the result of a four-week lottery promotion that made a second drawing possible. One of seven balls six white, one orange is drawn each day, until the orange ball is selected. But if all the white balls have been pulled, a guaranteed double-draw is in the works, because only the orange remains.
Thus, someone who spent $1,000 to cover all possible winning numbers would win $600 on the first drawing and $600 on the second drawing.
There's usually no guarantee the orange ball will be drawn on a particular day, but over the previous week, the white balls had been plucked out one by one. Early Wednesday afternoon, the last white ball was drawn, leaving just the orange ball for Thursday.
I knew the orange ball would have to come up, so I went to work, Seidel said.
He called some friends and tried to enlist the help of a few co-workers and others.
Overnight, they filled out thousands of entries with every possible winning number from 0-0-0 to 9-9-9.
They did it over and over until Seidel and his three friends had put $23,000 into his plan. They bought their last ticket about a minute and a half before the cutoff.
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