Man Who Has Won the Lottery 14 Times Shares His Winning Strategy

By: Lauren Wurth | Last updated: Nov 11, 2023

Everyone has a 1-in-15,300 chance of getting struck by lightning in 80 years. Compare that to the odds of winning the lottery, and you’ll find you stand a better chance of the former. That is to say, it’s almost impossible you’ll win a lottery in your lifetime.

But a Romanian-born Australian mathematician, Stephan Mandel, has hacked the system and won the lottery not once, but 14 times! Let’s find out how he did it!

Early Win in Romania Sets the Stage

Mandel was still a Romanian economist when he developed a daedalian formula that provided him five numbers he believed could give him a second-prize win. He was then able to guess the sixth digit, which landed him a whopping top prize of 72,783 leu. The winnings facilitated his relocation to Australia with his family.


Source: Jackmac34/Pixabay

Upon arriving in Australia, Mandel tweaked his formula to suit the more complicated Australian game. He also enlisted the help of investors to start a lottery business in the country.


Hitting More Jackpots

With his helpers purchasing tickets across the country, Mandel’s plan was to have all available ticket options. This would significantly increase his chances of winning. Whenever he won a big prize, he shared it with his investors and restarted the cycle.


Source: Waldemar/Pexels

With this method, Mandel continued hitting the jackpot. Unfortunately, his steady wins also started drawing the attention of the Australian authorities to him. Everyone became suspicious of his win streak.

Authorities Plot to Stop Mandel

Although Mandel wasn’t breaking the law, the authorities started introducing new rules to discourage him. But he wasn’t one to give up, and he continued finding new ways around each new rule.


Source: Luxury Trend Hub/YouTube

Sadly, he couldn’t keep up with his lottery operation and had to move to the US to continue his winning strides. Mandel and his team were able to buy all the ticket combinations for a $27 million lottery in 1992.

Mandel Was Sure of Every Victory

Mandel’s strategy was almost fool-proof, so he had no fears whatsoever about winning. “I knew that I would win one first prize, six-second prizes, 132 third prizes, and thousands of minor prizes,” he said.


Source: Stefan Mandel/ Twitter

He also told a Romanian newspaper that he loved to take calculated risks. In his words, “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 favor.”

Mandel’s Methods Are Now Illegal

If you’ve thought about adopting Mandel’s strategy to win a lottery, we’ve got disappointing news for you. Although the mathematician’s methods were lawful at the time, the US government has enacted laws that expressly ban it.

Source: Stefan Mandel/ Twitter

“Legal” doesn’t always mean “right.” From a moral standpoint, Mandel’s strategy of buying all available combinations didn’t align with the spirit of the game and was, as such, not fair.


A Sad Ending

After a thorough investigation, Virginia State Lottery commissioner Kenneth W. Thorson was satisfied that Mandel’s activities were completely legal. He had no choice but to release the money to a fulfilled Mandel who claimed he knew he could win a “thousand of minor prizes.”

Source: Nicola Bart/Pexels

Mandel has now stopped his attempt to win lotteries and is enjoying a quiet life on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu. Reports have it that he filed for bankruptcy in 1995.


A Grass-Grace-Grass Story

Poverty was Mandel’s motivation to come up with his genius idea, and it paid off. His first price of 72,783 leu was about 8 times more than his salary at the time. He went on to win way more than that with subsequent plays.

Source: Pinterest

Unfortunately, Mandel became broke again as a result of the financial costs of fighting a legal battle for four years. He couldn’t pay his investors the amount they were due.


Others Like Mandel

Mandel is not the first or only lottery winner to go broke after coming in contact with wealth. However, while the reason for his bankruptcy was a long lawsuit, others returned to penury due to extravagant lifestyles, lack of planning, poor investment choices, etc.

Source: Erik Mclean/ Unsplash

One notable case is that of Jack Whittaker, who won a $314 million Powerball jackpot in 2002. Sadly, he lost it all due to extravagant spending.


The Way of Lottery Winners

Rags to riches and back to square 1. This seems to be the trend among many lottery winners. According to many sources, a National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) study revealed that 70% of lottery winners become bankrupt after a few years of winning.

Source: Nicola Barts/ Unsplash

Although NEFE denies publishing such statistics, there are many confirmed cases like Mandel’s. This is proof that sudden wealth without proper financial management can be likened to giving pearls to swine.