The July 25 Mega Millions numbers, for the third time this month, came up empty with no jackpot winner and no winners of the million-dollar second prize, as the total prize money won in Friday’s Mega Millions barely cracked $2 million, despite relatively healthy ticket sales.
The Mega Millions game sold 17,646,977 tickets for Friday’s drawing, bringing the 2014 year-to-date total to 1,362,861,767 after 59 drawings so far this year. The sales total was the ninth-highest this year for a Mega Millions drawing with a jackpot under $100 million, and the second-highest for a drawing with a jackpot under $70 million.
Of course, with no jackpot won on Friday, the estimated top value of Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot will now exceed $70 million. In fact, $77 million will be up for grabs Tuesday, a healthy $10 million jump from Friday’s jackpot.
By the way, sometimes the jackpot winner isn’t even the most remarkable Mega Millions player of the week. For example, last week that honor clearly had to go to Steven Traub of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Now, Traub came forward to claim his prize money on July 17, collecting a payout of $60,000 — nothing to sneeze at, but far from the life-changing figures we’re accustomed to from the Mega Millions game. But it wasn’t how much money Traub collected that made his win extraordinary. It was how he won that money.
Steven Traub won 15 separate Mega Millions prizes — in a single drawing.
How? Did he cheat, or have some sophisticated “system” for playing the Mega Millions numbers?
Not at all. Here’s what he did. Traub purchased 15 Mega Millions tickets for the July 18 game. On every ticket he played the same first five “white ball” numbers, which also happened to be the birthdays of his wife and four kids. 14, 19, 25, 27 and 49. Then for each ticket, he picked a different Mega Ball number. There are only 15 Mega Ball possibilities, so he played one of each that day, at the Pump N Save gas station, located at 3600 Wyoming Blvd. NE in Albuquerque.
He also paid an extra buck for each ticket activating the Megaplier option.
Lo and behold, Traub’s birthday numbers matched four of the five Mega Millions numbers drawn that day. And of course, as it had to, one ticket matched the Mega Ball. His total winnings would have come to $12,000 — except that the Megaplier number that day was 5, meaning that his winnings were quintupled, for a total of $60,000.
So, what did you win this time? Check your July 25 Mega Millions numbers against these numbers, drawn at 10:59 pm in Atlanta, Georgia:
22 — 29 — 33 — 41 — 68 Mega Ball 12
The cash value of Tuesday’s jackpot is estimated at $45 million, the amount that will be paid to a Mega Millions winner who takes the prize in one lump sum.