How to Win the Mega Millions: Lottery Jackpot Reaches $512 Million

Playing How to Increase the Odds of Winning the Lottery

A mind-boggling $512 million is up for grabs in Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing.

The huge prize would be the game's fifth-largest to date. The biggest ever Mega Millions win was $656 million, which was shared by ticket holders in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland in 2012.

If there's a winner in the 11 p.m. ET drawing Tuesday, they can opt for the cash payout of $303 million before taxes.

The game, which costs $2 per ticket, is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So how do you get your hands on the prize?

Cheyenne Long, a Montana woman who recently won the lottery twice in one day, said she relied on a "gut feeling," while Victor Amole of Virginia has a vivid dream to thank for his $400,000 winnings.

Richard Lustig, who's won the lottery seven times, shared his advice with Inside Edition for picking the winning numbers.

"It's not that people are stupid, they just don't know how to play," he said in a 2016 interview.

First, he said there are some things you should never do.

"Don't let the computer pick your numbers," he said.

After you've chosen your numbers, stick with them over time "so even if you lose the next time your chances of winning with those numbers go up," he said.

If you are going to joining an office pool, he recommends "everyone has a copy of all the numbers and a list of everyone in on the pool."

But his biggest advice is: "Only play if you can afford it. Don’t be using grocery money."

Lustig isn't the only person to pick winning numbers more than once. 

A California man, Antulio Mazariegos, won four times between November 2017 and May 2018 for a total of $6 million.

But unlike Lustig, he wasn't sure what was behind his winning streak. He told lotto officials he just likes playing the game.

Perhaps the luckiest ever lottery winner was Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee, Massachusetts, who won a record-breaking $758.7 million Powerball jackpot in August 2017. She took home the lump-sum payment of $480.5 million before taxes.

As for Wanczyk's winning strategy, she bought five tickets but the one that used family birthdays paid off.

Her payout was dwarfed by the mega prize of $1.586 billion that was up for grabs in a January 2016 Powerball jackpot.

The odds of winning was one in 292 million, and three winning tickets — in Florida, Tennessee and California — split the jackpot for a lump sum of $187.2 million each.

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