Man skips office pool, loses share of $319 million prize

The man who didn’t chip in $2 to the lottery office pool is being called the “biggest loser” by some, but to me he sounds like a winner.

Mike (not pictured), like many who have barely dodged electrocution, will learn tears and electronics repair does not mix.

Mike (not pictured) will learn tears and electronics do not mix.

Why? He’s not whining about it.

Sure, it would be a soul-crushing experience to see your co-workers split up the $319 Mega Millions prize (more than $19 million each after taxes), but at least he’s not bitter or suing.

“I just wasn’t feeling lucky that day,” said Mike, who didn’t want to give his last name, in an ABC News article. Today, he worked on keeping New York state government computers running while his millionaire friends went to pick up their over-sized check. The lucky seven haven’t been showing up to work, and are expected to quit, though they’ve not told their bosses anything.

“I don’t think they’ll cut me in. I don’t think they should. I don’t deserve it,” he said.

His friends had asked twice to see if he wanted to chip in, but he declined.

Maybe he’s looking at the bright side. With his department being reduced to just one person, he’s probably next in line for a promotion.

41 comments Add your comment

Jami

March 31st, 2011
7:16 pm

They had been playing the lottery as a group for years. Maybe he got discouraged. That is why I do not play anymore. Congratulations to the winners.

homerDOH

March 31st, 2011
7:18 pm

well he has a DOH Type of moment… feel bad for the guy but he’s better off

sam

March 31st, 2011
7:18 pm

sam

March 31st, 2011
7:21 pm

They will give him some of the winning not 19 million, But he will get 6 figures with I will not turn down.

itpdude

March 31st, 2011
7:39 pm

I’d talk to the other folks and see if we could chip in and give him at least a taste. At least $20 or so.

wYLd hAiR

March 31st, 2011
8:02 pm

BETTER OFF????!!!! Who the *bleep* is better off NOT COLLECTING $19 MILLION!?!?!?!?!?!!? You are an idiot. I’m amazed this guy hasn’t jumped off a bridge or gone over Niagara Falls.

Don't play

March 31st, 2011
8:33 pm

I bet in 2-3 years he will have a happier life – a job, money, etc. How many have you seen blow everything and wind up unhappy.

Nick

March 31st, 2011
8:54 pm

Suicide Watch

Pecked

March 31st, 2011
9:03 pm

Mike sounds like a nice guy. This could be a blessing in disguise. I would still remain his friend — wouldn’t you?

S Page

March 31st, 2011
9:06 pm

The reporting on this story has been atrocious. The biggest losers are the millions of people chipping into the lottery pool each day, who will each be out $5000 in ten years. There’s no “I was so close” in gambling, only the near certainty of losing your money.

als

March 31st, 2011
9:06 pm

Bless you Mike for not being a greedy jackass, and owning up to the reality of the situation, that you had a choice. Most folks would be out looking for an attorney right now. You are a good man.

Albert

March 31st, 2011
9:18 pm

He said he didn’t feel lucky. He was so right……

i hate it when people do these pools at work

March 31st, 2011
9:33 pm

I’m so glad there isn’t an organized lottery pool at my place of employment. If they did, I would have to play EVERY time b/c I could never live with myself if they won and I chose not to participate. It would get to be a burden and a hassle but I wouldn’t be able to let myself quit participating. Someone mentioned something once about starting it up and I’m very grateful that the idea died.

I play occasionally when the jackpot gets really big (usually over 200 mil) but that’s on my own.

Anita

March 31st, 2011
9:34 pm

His co-workers should still give him a certain amount basically because if they bet on quick-pick numbers and the guy let’s say joined in the pool on that day and there were delays or whatever, those fellows wouldn’t have gotten the right quick-picks. In other words, when he declined, the time element that was needed to buy those tickets were just the right “time” for those numbers to pop up on the machine. A litlle delay or advance would have spelled another story. Someone else may have bought quick-pick tickets ahead of them and that could have changed the random.

Atl guy

March 31st, 2011
9:35 pm

His wife is going to remind him of this for the rest of his sorry life.

Ryan

March 31st, 2011
9:37 pm

Right now, Mike is drunk, standing over the bathroom sink with a razor to his wrist. His wife just walked out the front door with the kids and all their belongings, meanwhile, Leon Lett and the 5th Beetle have finally been let off the hook. Thank you Mike for bringing gratitude back into my life. But after all, money doesn’t buy happi…never mind.

Michael Isaacks

March 31st, 2011
9:37 pm

Had I been one of the winners I would have returned anyway because of my insurance and I would have given Mike a portion of my part of the winnings. Yes, he was asked twice if he wanted to join the “pool” and he declined and owns up to the fact. But obviously he had been chipping in during past drawings. Obviously, I don’t know that for sure but it sounds like he had. I personally gave up on trying to win anything from the Texas lottery years ago.

poor bastid

March 31st, 2011
9:38 pm

Anita,

By that logic, they should give some of it to the guy who held the door open at the convenience store and let them go in first.

Wow…you’re out there.

Anita

March 31st, 2011
9:38 pm

His declining on that day contributed to the “timing of getting the right random” when they bought those quick-picks. His co-workers should take that into consideration. Don’t be selfish.

Anita

March 31st, 2011
9:40 pm

poor bastid???…watta name. the guy who held the door was not in the pool. idiot.

poor bastid

March 31st, 2011
9:41 pm

Anita,

Do you know how many factors went into the timing of the quick picks? They would have to give money to more people than just Mike. What about the nice person in traffic who let them in on their way to buy the tickets?

poor bastid

March 31st, 2011
9:42 pm

Anita,

Guess what…Mike wasn’t in the pool either. He declined.

You’re a loon.

TodayCouldBeTheDay!

March 31st, 2011
10:01 pm

I still buy a GA Lottery ticket every week, have for years.

Never won more’n a few dollars and don’t expect to win anything, I just like the idea of giving a little back to HOPE for all the thousands it forked out to fund my kids’ college educations.

Elliot Garcia

March 31st, 2011
10:04 pm

They should give him a dollar so that he can play next week’s numbers….

Voodoo Chile

March 31st, 2011
10:31 pm

If they have been playing the lottery together for years they should cut him in anyway. Think about it, they probably wouldn’t have gotten the same numbers due to the extra time it would have taken for him to put his hand in his pocket and pull out the 2 bucks. If he had played they all would have lost!

Will

March 31st, 2011
10:33 pm

At least now he knows why he “just wasn’t feeling lucky that day”…

Voodoo Chile

March 31st, 2011
10:34 pm

yes I agree with Anita

Kelvin

March 31st, 2011
11:05 pm

Maybe it would have thrown the whole selection of numbers off if he had entered, and then maybe none of them would have won.

y_p_w

March 31st, 2011
11:51 pm

There seems to be a poor understanding of how these things work. Does the word totally random mean anything to anyone here?

It’s a massive series of coincidences where a lottery terminal cycling through millions of different combinations from its random number generator will select a particular set of numbers for quick pick tickets (like the winning ticket). Press that button to print out the ticket less than a microsecond earlier or later and the terminal is selecting different numbers. If the purchaser is asking for $16 in quick picks instead of $14, maybe the clerk has a minutely different reaction time. If the guy who reportedly cut in front of the purchaser of the winning ticket doesn’t, the eventually winner is buying his tickets earlier with a completely different set of numbers. If the guy who normally joins in doesn’t, maybe the guy collecting the money slows down to ask if he’s sure and buys the tickets at a slightly different time. If a clerk shuts down the terminal and restarts it, maybe the time that’s done makes a different. Or perhaps changes in heat mean the oscillator unit in the terminal is a bit faster or slower.

In the end it’s essentially random chance because there can be billions of different events that lead to selecting the numbers, unless they’re manually selected.

y_p_w

March 31st, 2011
11:57 pm

OK – I noticed there were quite a few posts that mentioned the total randomness of the timing that leads to quick picks getting selected. Yeah – there are literally billions of minute events that would lead to what numbers would be selected by the lottery terminal.

As for the odds, it’s actually not as bad when the jackpot increases, but that’s because previous participants continuously feed into the pool when there’s no jackpot won. It’s supposedly about a 1 in 175,000,000 chance of selecting 5 plus the Mega number, although there’s a chance of multiple jackpot winning tickets splitting a prize.

Joel

April 1st, 2011
12:52 am

They don’t owe the guy a thing, but it will be nice and give them free goodpublicity if they gave the colleague a 20K gift collectively. When you become a multi millionaire, the only thing left for you in life is to enhance your legacy. Pitching in 2K each to give the guy a 20K or so would add a little gem to that legacy of each of the group.

I am Jack's inflamed sense of rejection

April 1st, 2011
1:50 am

“And this button-down, Oxford-cloth psycho might just snap, and then stalk from office to office with an Armalite AR-10 carbine gas-powered semi-automatic weapon, pumping round after round into colleagues and co-workers.”

Mike

April 1st, 2011
8:21 am

I love my job, working here for the State. I’m so glad I didn’t win all that money. What a hassle that would be. I’ll be having my lunch down on the GW bridge.

shera

April 1st, 2011
8:44 am

I just CANNOT imagine how he feels! Ugh! That would just suck beyond belief! I don’t think I would ever get over it if I was in Mike’s shoes!

I remember a few years ago, several of my coworkers each put in $10 for someone to go buy FL lottery tickets. None of us made much money and I refused to participate. I cannot tell you how stressed I was over the weekend just thinking of them winning and then taunting me.

They didn’t win.

Steve

April 1st, 2011
8:45 am

Something tells me Anita is planning the old ’slip, fall, and make bank’ routine at a local store in the near future. Her whole post is a twisted example of how our court systems get abused by frivolous lawsuits.

As for the pool, those against it just keep to yourself. For me, our office only plays when it gets aroudn $200 million and then it’s two or three bucks per person. Quite frankly, $2-$3 bucks every quarter is not going to cost me $5000 ‘a few years down the road’. Now, if you are talking abotu those that play every week, then I would agree. To me, the money is well spent for entertainment. Compare it to spending $30-$40 going to a movie you could see free in a year or two and have absolutely no shot of getting any valuable ROI, and it makes very good sense. To each their own.

I don’t feel bad for the guy, but man, what a time to decide not to play. I have no doubt he will be taken care of by his friends. Maybe not to the tune of millions, but I am willing to bet he makes 6-figures from gifts.

Future Georgia Lottery Winner

April 1st, 2011
2:26 pm

I honestly can’t say whether or not I would give Mike anything. Because he had a chance to play. Two dollars wasn’t going to make him or break him. As for the people who are trying to rationalize the events that needed to take place in order for those 7 people to win maybe it wasn’t a part of Mike’s destiny to be a millionaire.

Emily Raab

April 5th, 2011
11:36 am

Engaging and well written article! This tops anything I have read lately on the subject at hand. I wonder if this’ll be posted on Twenty-First Tycoon. Although the site has awesome political, business, technology and real estate news, they could use more stuff like this. http://www.21Tycoon.com

dcstan

April 6th, 2011
5:32 am

your logic is flawed, 2 dollars and he missed out on Life Changing Money, he sounds like a cheap skate like you

jj

April 6th, 2011
8:42 am

Studies have shown lottery winners are the least happy people. I NEVER want to be this guy, but he won’t have the highs and the typical lows of winners. (I never play the lottery, but if the office is going in, I play. I don’t want to be the guy left behind. Knowing what I’ve read, I’d like a chance at that unhappiness myself…)

Sue

April 6th, 2011
11:38 am

Am I the only person who would give this guy a consolation prize out of my own winnings? Had I won of course. This could have been any of them in the same boat had they not had the two dollars on them or had they been out sick that day. Now, if the guy was generally not a nice co-worker I may find that difficult but I also read the bible and know to love my neighbor and treat others how you would like to be treated.

lenny

November 22nd, 2011
2:28 am

must hate his life because he decided not to give his office workers 2 bucks, idiot of a life award.