How a Romanian won the lottery 14 times

3d rendering of lottery balls
Photo credit: File

Many of us may dream of winning the lottery one day, but for one Romanian the dream has become a lifestyle. 

In the 1960s, economist Stefan Mandel was finding money hard to come by, so he devised a plan to cash in.

Mr Mandel spent hours pouring over mathematician Fibonacci's probability papers, eventually coming up with an algorithm which drew on a method he called 'combinatorial condensation'.

According to The Hustle, Mr Mandel's method could predict five out of six winning numbers, cutting the number of possible winning combinations from millions down to thousands.

Mr Mandel then bought up numerous tickets using his probable combinations, and did indeed take out the top prize, worth around $28,000.

After expenses, his take home money was just $5,800 but it was enough to help him escape communist Romania and flee with his family to Australia.

Mr Mandel wanted more lottery success in Australia though, and he soon realised that the total cost of buying all available tickets was still less than the total jackpot prize in some cases.

For example, if a game required six numbers between 1 and 40 for a combination, that would provide 3,838,380 combinations and if tickets cost $2 each and the total prize was $10 million that'd still leave a healthy profit of $2,323,240.

Mr Mandel persuaded a group of investors to put their cash together to create a lottery syndicate, and they waited until a jackpot grew big enough to be greater than the sum of all the tickets purchased.

Mr Mandel and his syndicate won 12 lotteries across Australia and the UK as well as the $27 million Virginia Lottery in the US.