When it comes to buying a shot to win the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, ticket buyers dwell on birth dates.
“I used my mom’s birthday for the mega ball Powerball,” said Tanya Estrada of Kansas City, Kan. Estrada added that she often uses birthdays, including those of her sister and a friend.
Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $700 million. It’s been accruing since the last payout, in early June. This jackpot is only behind a January 2016 drawing that yielded a $1.6 billion prize.
Odds of winning are 1 in 292 million.
“I was born on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, and my wife’s birthday is Feb. 15,” said George Sooter, also of Kansas City, Kan., at the Riverside Red X store where hopefuls purchased tickets Wednesday.
Another ticket buyer, Herbie Hall, also uses birthdays — his children’s — for picking numbers, but he declined to share them with The Star.
“I can’t tell my secret numbers ... because they are my secret numbers,” Hall said.
Carrol Martin of Bonner Springs elected to go with the “quick pick” option, which allows the machine to choose numbers automatically.
Though he has no special formula for picking numbers, Martin is still hopeful: “Someone’s gotta win it,” he said. “It might be me.”