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Dreaming about the jackpot? A 7-time lotto winner shares his secrets

The Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are topping $2 billion combined. Richard Lustig, a seven-time lotto winner who wrote a book on the subject, shares his tips for making the most of your $2 bet.
/ Source: TODAY

If you’ve been seeing the news this week about the record-breaking Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots, chances are you’ve been daydreaming about how you’d spend all that dough.

At $1.6 billion, the Mega Millions jackpot is the highest in history, while the Powerball prize of $620 million is the third-largest for that game.

And while it’s nice to dream about calling your boss later to announce you won't be in, you probably want to hold off from polishing that resignation notice just yet. Your odds of winning Tuesday’s Mega Millions are about one in 302 million, while the Powerball odds in Wednesday's drawing are around one in 292 million.

Just to put that in perspective, you’d have a better shot at getting three holes in one, becoming an A-list movie star or getting elected president of the United States.

Richard Lustig claimed his share of nearly $200,000 in 2010. It was his seventh lottery win.
Richard Lustig won large lotto prizes seven times, earning more than $1 million. TODAY

Still, that never deterred Richard Lustig — he’s a whopping seven-time grand prize lottery winner and the author of “Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery.” Lustig earned more than $1 million playing lottery games in Florida between 1993 and 2010, according to his book.

So how did Lustig beat the odds? For one, you have to stick to it — treat it like a job, he said.

“Anything in life that’s really worth acquiring takes time and effort. And people need to look at lottery that way,” Lustig said. “They are crazy not to.”

Second, pick your own numbers — don’t let the computer do it, and play the same numbers every time.

“The reason why you should play the same numbers is because your odds become better every time you play them. Not much ... but every little bit helps,” he said.

Third, he says, set a budget and don’t get into trouble.

“I tell people, don’t spend grocery money, don’t spend rent money," he said. "Figure out what you can afford to spend.”

Editor's Note: This story was first published in October 2016.