Studying Powerball winners pays off

After studying results for four years, man gets personal best win of eight of nine numbers.
Thursday, August 19, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:00 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Despite winning $25,000 in the Powerball lottery, George Clark of Columbia doesn’t believe in luck.

Instead Clark has developed a system to winning the lottery. And so far, it’s working for him.

“I look at all the winning numbers from the past year, and based on patterns I see, I choose the numbers I think will win in the future,” said Clark, who spends two hours a week studying the possible Powerball numbers, 1 through 53.

“I think the numbers have a mind of their own, and that some like each other and some avoid one another. The day of the week, the month and the year also factor into it, and I’m trying to figure out the formula that determines the winning numbers.”

On the day he won, Aug. 7, the winning numbers were 8, 9, 16, 34, 48 and the Powerball was 8, of which Clark correctly picked all but 9. The chance of correctly picking five out of six winning numbers is about 1 in 500,000.

Those who beat the odds win $5,000. But for an extra dollar, Powerball players can buy the Power Play option, which multiplies their winnings up to five times, as was the case with Clark’s winnings, which he claimed Monday.

Clark, however, has not mastered the Powerball formula. He has played the lottery since 1989, and since moving to Columbia four years ago from California, he’s played Powerball twice weekly, dropping as much as $100 each time. Clark estimates he has lost $3,000 playing the lottery.

But Clark puts in as many as 100 hours a week working three jobs, one as a security officer at 3M and two jobs as a personal assistant to handicapped adults, so that he can continue to study the numbers and improve his chances of winning. So far he’s matched three out of six Powerball numbers to win $35 and four out of six numbers to win $300 to $400 four times. He believes that it’s only a matter of time before he wins the jackpot.

“Babe Ruth struck out almost as many times as he hit home runs, but all people talk about is the home runs that he hit,” Clark said. “Some people call me crazy for believing I can beat the game by studying the numbers, but if I hit the jackpot that’s all people will be talking about.”

If he wins the jackpot, which has a minimum value of $10 million, Clark said he would spend more time helping other people, especially handicapped adults and take more vacations.

As for his present winnings, he plans to tithe a portion to three churches he has attended in the Columbia area, and he will invest the remainder.

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