How to “Crack the Code” of the Lottery

By Matthew Milner, on Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Can you imagine “cracking the code” of the lottery?

You’d make a fortune.

Well, that’s exactly what happened to Jerry Selbee from Evart, Michigan.

Jerry figured out how to legally beat the lottery, and he won $26 million.

Today, I’ll tell you how he did it. Then I’ll show you how to crack a different code — a code that might be just as profitable.

Always Good with Numbers

Jerry Selbee had always been good with numbers.

He spent most of his career as a number-cruncher for the cereal company Kellogg’s. Then, after retiring, he ran a corner store with his wife Marge.

But his corner store didn’t just sell donuts and cigarettes. It also sold lottery tickets. And one of the games you could buy tickets for was called Winfall.

Winfall was unique in that it had a “roll-down rule.” If a jackpot reached $5 million without a winner, the prize money cascaded down to lower-tier winners.

And this is where Jerry’s story gets interesting.

A Windfall from Winfall

After staring at the lottery machine in his store for countless hours, Jerry’s math-minded brain made a discovery:

If a certain amount of tickets were bought during these roll-down periods, Jerry came to believe you could almost guarantee yourself a profit.

He decided to start modestly. On his first play, he put in $2,200, and lost $50. But this loss helped him gain an invaluable insight: to make a profit, he needed to bet more money.

The second time around, he put in $3,600, and won back $6,300.

And on his third try, he put in $8,000, and got back $15,700.

His system worked!

Before long, he and his wife Marge were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase tickets. They even had to rent a big office space where they could sort through all the tickets they’d bought.

Over nine years, Jerry’s strategy earned him more than $26 million in winnings. After taxes and various expenses, he netted about $7.75 million. Not bad!

Unfortunately for Jerry, the state of Michigan discontinued the game of Winfall in 2005. As Jerry said, “We were disappointed the game was ended, but all good things come to an end sooner or later.”

Jerry and Marge Go Large

But in a strange twist, Jerry’s story didn’t end.

Last year, his adventures in Lottery land were turned into a movie starring Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening. The movie is called “Jerry and Marge Go Large,” and you can stream it everywhere from Paramount + to Amazon Prime.

Here’s the real-world Jerry with his wife Marge:

Ready to “go large” yourself?

Now you can… even if the lottery isn’t your thing. You just need to know how to crack a different type of code…

Retire from Just One Investment 

The code I’m referring to is an investment strategy — a strategy to invest in private startups.

Why startups? Simple:

According to Cambridge Analytics, an advisor to institutions like The Rockefeller Foundation and Harvard University, investing in startups has returned an average of 55% per year over 25 years.

That’s enough to double your money every couple of years or so.

But remember, that’s just the average. Plenty of folks — people we know and work with — have done far better than average.

For example, consider our business partner Howard Lindzon. Howard made 400x his money by investing in Uber when it was just a private startup. He turned every $5,000 he invested into $2 million. Furthermore, his overall annual returns have been measured in the "hundreds of percent."

What’s the secret to earning triple-digit annual returns?

Just like with Jerry and his winning strategy for the lottery, here’s the secret:

Knowing the numbers.

Enough to Retire

So without further ado, here are “the numbers” — in other words, the numbers you need to know to crack the code of startup investing.

Let’s say you invest in 50 startups over the next few years.

You put $1,000 into each one, for a total investment of $50,000.

Based on the historical odds, it’s likely you’ll get a handful of base hits — enough hits to get you to the 55% annual returns we mentioned earlier.

But even if your first 49 investments literally go to zero, as long as the 50th company turns out to be “an Uber” — the investment where Howard made 400 times in money — your $1,000 investment would be worth $400,000.

So your $50,000 startup portfolio would turn into $400,000.

That’s a 700% net return.

And what if you’d invested $5,000 into each startup instead?

Your stake would be worth $2 million.

For most folks, that’s enough money to retire.

And that, my friends, is how you crack the code of startup investing.

Happy Investing.

Best Regards,



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