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Man who won lottery 14 times now lives an extremely remote life following years of controversy

Man who won lottery 14 times now lives an extremely remote life following years of controversy

He managed to game the system.

Winning big on the lottery is a once in a lifetime event, so winning more than once is just showing off.

One man managed to take things to frankly ridiculous levels by winning the lottery no fewer than 14 times.

Stefan Mandel managed to beat the system, for a while.

Romanian economist Stefan Mandel did the impossible, and figured out a way to win several times.

Unlike when you see folks who claim to have a system at roulette or blackjack, this one actually seemed to work. Mandel worked for years to develop a method which he derived from a technique called 'combinatorial condensation'.

This all sounds very fancy, but what does it actually mean?

In practice, Mandel realised that sometimes the cost of buying enough tickets to play every possible combination was less than the jackpot.

So, playing so many tickets that you can't lose. If it works it works, I suppose.

Nonetheless Mandel didn't see it that way, telling Romanian paper Bursa in 2012: “I’m a man who takes risks, but in a calculated way. Trimming my beard is a lottery: There is always the possibility that I’ll cut myself, get an infection in my blood and die — but I do it anyway. The chances are in my favour.”

Mandel now lives on a tropical island with members of his old syndicate.
Twitter/Stefan Mandel

Mandel managed to game the system by forming a lottery syndicate which bought enough tickets to make sure that they won the grand prize. The first time, Mandel was left with $4,750, low enough to allow him to avoid the Communist authorities in Romania and move to Australia in the 1960s. He went on to win the lottery 14 times by convincing investors to build a bigger syndicate and purchase more tickets.

It doesn't even end there as he managed to fully automate the system by programming a computer to fill out tickets in every combination possible. This method scooped him 12 wins, and also caught the interest of the authorities.

Technically what Mandel was doing wasn't actually illegal or against the rules at the time, though it really does seem to go against the spirit of playing the lottery.

Subsequently, the rules were changed to ban both bulk-buying tickets and using computer-generated tickets. But even this didn't stop Mandel, who used different techniques of mass-producing tickets to game the system in the US.

While it was not illegal, it did attract an investigation where Mandel was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing. He now lives on a tropical island, aged 82.

It's all a bit Wolf of Wall Street isn't it? Maybe they should make a movie about it.

Featured Image Credit: CBS/Mandel/Twitter