The mathematician who won the lottery multiple times

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The mathematician who won the lottery multiple times
The mathematician who won the lottery multiple times. Image: Pixabay

A Romanian mathematician calculated how to win the lottery multiple times

Stefan Mandel is a Romanian mathematician who famously developed a method in the 1950s that would increase his chances of winning the lottery. Did it work? He won at least 14 times that it is known of.

It took him several years of calculations before he achieved his first windfall. This came as the result of his figuring out a combination of mathematical operations capable of predicting five of the six winning numbers out of a total of 40 options.

To test his formula, the mathematician decided to play the state lottery with three friends. Although he only aspired to win the second prize that involved matching five numbers, he was stunned when he matched all six numbers of the combination.

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This story about Mandel is of interest because in Europe this week, on Tuesday, October 12, the Euromillions jackpot stands at its largest total in history. A massive €220 million is up for grabs if one person can match the numbers. The winning odds though are 1 in 139,838,160.

Back to the Romanian genius. Moving into the 1980s, Mandel moved to Australia and decided to try his luck. Here the lottery operated in a different way, so he had to adopt a new system. This time, instead of predicting a winning combination of numbers, he needed to buy as many tickets with different combinations of numbers. Operating this system, he managed to win an astonishing 12 times.

According to Clarin, put his winnings to good use, Mandel created a legal investment fund with which his intention was to use his system to win and then redistribute the benefits. Unfortunately for the Romanian, Australia changed its lottery laws and he was prevented from winning.


A move to the United States was next on the cards, in the early 1990s, where the lottery laws of the day were very relaxed. After studying the different state lotteries and their mechanics, Mandel set his sights on one: the Virginia lottery. Here, he figured there were 7.1 million possible combinations, and the tickets were among the cheapest in the US at a dollar each

His plan was to raise $7.1 million which meant he would then have the winning ticket among them. Attracting 2,500 investors from his Australian escapade, they all contributed $4,000 (£3,400) each. His plan worked, and they won a huge $27 million (£23.3m). This win attracted interest from the FBI and CIA, and the American lottery changed its rules so that a limit was placed on the number of tickets an individual player could purchase.

His life got complicated when he moved in 1995 to Israel, where he was investigated by the Securities Authority. He posted bail and escaped the country to London in 2002, where he ended up being sentenced to ten months in prison, with a $30,000 (£25,900) fine.


Stefan Mandel is believed to now be residing in the South Pacific, on the archipelago of Vanuatu, where he is probably enjoying his accumulated wealth, as reported by 20minutos.es.

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Chris was born in a small village in Wales, where he ran his own successful construction company for many years, before deciding in 1990, to swap the grey skies and rain for the sunshine and lifestyle of the Costa del Sol. Late last year he made the move to Southern Portugal, and is now residing on the Algarve. Having sang and played in a rock band back in Wales, he still likes to go out and entertain in his spare time, singing in restaurants and golf clubs. Interests are of course music, especially from the 60s and 70s, movies, nice restaurants, and has a passion for graphic design and online marketing.

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