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How a retired NC potter won the lottery 111 times

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: How a retired NC potter won the lottery 111 times
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SEAGROVE, N.C. — One of the most prolific winners in North Carolina lottery history wants you to know two things: he doesn't cheat and he understands the games better than anyone.

Through late last year, no one had more big wins than retired potter Phil Morgan, who won 111 times and collected more than $500,000, an Observer data analysis found.

But that record comes with an asterisk. Most wins were for the Pick 4 game. If you play the same number combination multiple times on one drawing, and it hits, each ticket is counted as a winner.

The odds are 1 in 10,000 for picking the numbers in the exact order. Between August and October 2011, Morgan did that 73 times for $365,000.

But in reality, Morgan only won three times during that span.

Here's what happened:

Morgan studies the lottery and watches every drawing. For the past decade, he's played every day at stores near his home and studio in Seagrove, a town known for its enclave of potters.

Morgan bets numbers that never hit before, and plays other numbers repeatedly. That includes the "quads," where all four numbers are the same.

For an August 2011 drawing, he played 9-9-9-9 after waking up in the middle of the night with a feeling the 9s would win. They did.

His 13 tickets earned him $65,000, money he says he poured back into the games. It's house money, he figured, and thought nothing of spending $800, $900 or even $1,000 a day on lottery tickets.

"The thing about gambling is a gambler's money never rests," Morgan said. "I play the same numbers every day, and I wait for it to come to me."

A month later, the numbers came to him again when he bought 24 tickets with quad 3s. Boom: $120,000. "I just had a feeling," he said.

Another month went by, and Morgan bet all 6s on 36 tickets even though "everyone said the 4s were coming." Nope. He won $180,000.

His last big win came a year later, using four digits from his mom's phone number. Morgan had been playing them all year, and was off by one number 55 times before winning $76,000 from 20 tickets.

Since then, he's won a few other games but nothing approaching his Pick 4 run.

Despite winning more than half a million dollars, Morgan, 68, estimates he spent more than that over the years. He showed off a rubber tote filled with bundles of Pick 4 tickets that he said he hauled to Raleigh as proof of his expenses for tax purposes.

Morgan said he hasn't done anything illegal or bought another player's winning tickets to claim as his own.

"I want people to understand I am not a cheater," Morgan said. "There shouldn't be any skeptics."

Lottery officials are not skeptical of Morgan, a player they know well. "He's on a first-name basis with the folks in the Greensboro (claims) office," lottery Executive Director Alice Garland said. "He's talked to me personally about his strategy,"

It's been more than three years since Morgan last hit the Pick 4. He's not spending nearly as much money on the lottery these days, although he has won a few scratch-off prizes and even a trip to Las Vegas. Still, Morgan itches for more.

"Maybe the next one's on its way. Maybe today. You gotta feel that way," he said, smiling, "or you don't need to play."

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News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News & Observer

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19 comments. Last comment 4 months ago by itpmguru.
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music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
Happy California
United States
Member #157856
August 2, 2014
1552 Posts
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Posted: September 29, 2016, 5:41 pm - IP Logged

Phil Morgan is setting a good example of what is possible in the Lottery. I really like how he woke up in the middle of the night and let the numbers come to him.

Conehead

 Chi ha danari, trova cugini. (He who has money finds many cousins.) Italian proverb

    Igamble's avatar - spider
    nj
    United States
    Member #145657
    August 10, 2013
    1000 Posts
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    Posted: September 29, 2016, 5:43 pm - IP Logged

    wow, hardcore gambling in his veins ! Congrats, but why share your strategy with the Lotto people ??

    It would be intersting to know  if he's member of LP..i would not be surprised...

      mikeintexas's avatar - tx avatar-1.gif
      Texas Panhandle
      United States
      Member #136843
      December 20, 2012
      1409 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: September 29, 2016, 5:45 pm - IP Logged

      Wow, 111 times?  That's like magic.

      He sure has a full beard and mustache.

      That would make him a Hairy Potter.

        rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
        Texas
        United States
        Member #55889
        October 23, 2007
        5767 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: September 29, 2016, 5:49 pm - IP Logged

        Wow, 111 times?  That's like magic.

        He sure has a full beard and mustache.

        That would make him a Hairy Potter.

        LOL.

        Really???

        Notice he did say he thinks he spent more than he won. That is mind-boggling.

        I sometimes think I spend too much on the lottery, but man. If I spend $250 in a month, I'm mad at myself.

        CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

        A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

          Artist77's avatar - batman14

          United States
          Member #121745
          January 16, 2012
          4987 Posts
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          Posted: September 29, 2016, 6:40 pm - IP Logged

          He is an artist? I still have a chance!

          J'aime La France.

            LottoAce's avatar - WWI Flying_Ace.gif
            N.C.
            United States
            Member #56005
            October 28, 2007
            877 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: September 29, 2016, 7:59 pm - IP Logged

            111 wins is great and all. don't get me wrong.
            but that dude has a problem!

            "know your limitations, but excede your expectations"

              JAMORA's avatar - ladyclover
              NC
              United States
              Member #164399
              February 28, 2015
              2033 Posts
              Online
              Posted: September 29, 2016, 8:26 pm - IP Logged

              If he mostly played quads, that explains why he hasn't big since...lol. They don't draw quads here anymore...they draw right past it....

              "Don't waste time, it's the stuff life's made of..."

                Avatar
                Greensboro, North Carolina
                United States
                Member #1616
                June 5, 2003
                1288 Posts
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                Posted: September 29, 2016, 8:30 pm - IP Logged

                If he mostly played quads, that explains why he hasn't big since...lol. They don't draw quads here anymore...they draw right past it....

                Been over two years since a quad came out. No Nod

                US Flag

                  luckyshoes's avatar - nw lady.jpg
                  Pennsylvania
                  United States
                  Member #79502
                  September 2, 2009
                  6449 Posts
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                  Posted: September 29, 2016, 8:51 pm - IP Logged

                  111? 

                  Guess that number will soon sell out Crazy

                  WTG !

                    LottoAce's avatar - WWI Flying_Ace.gif
                    N.C.
                    United States
                    Member #56005
                    October 28, 2007
                    877 Posts
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                    Posted: September 29, 2016, 9:01 pm - IP Logged

                    111? 

                    Guess that number will soon sell out Crazy

                    WTG !

                    I played it because it was in my workouts.
                    111 hit in Delaware and Idaho already this week!

                    "know your limitations, but excede your expectations"

                      EZMONEE's avatar - Lottery-057.jpg
                      Pick3 Analyst
                      All States
                      United States
                      Member #106260
                      February 15, 2011
                      18785 Posts
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                      Posted: September 30, 2016, 1:57 am - IP Logged

                      some people are just lucky, no strategy needed

                      EZ $makers --- check it out, daily hits for all states

                        zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
                        South Carolina
                        United States
                        Member #77167
                        July 15, 2009
                        569 Posts
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                        Posted: September 30, 2016, 5:02 am - IP Logged

                        some people are just lucky, no strategy needed

                        I Agree!

                        Persistence helps too.  Playing everyday you're bound to hit something. Smile

                        Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

                        “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

                          Avatar
                          New Member
                          Rixeyville Virginia
                          United States
                          Member #161707
                          December 8, 2014
                          5 Posts
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                          Posted: September 30, 2016, 7:26 am - IP Logged

                          WONDERFUL!!!!! FANTASTIC!!! THE GOD GOD GIVES TO OTHERS IS ALWAYS GIVEN TO ME PLUS MORE!!! TYTYTY IN PERFECT WAYS UNDER GRACEBananaPartyHyperSun Smiley

                            rock_nc's avatar - Lottery-017.jpg
                            small town USA
                            United States
                            Member #2481
                            October 8, 2003
                            224 Posts
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                            Posted: September 30, 2016, 2:45 pm - IP Logged

                            I Agree!

                            Persistence helps too.  Playing everyday you're bound to hit something. Smile

                            yes, persistence and lots of money also! congrats to the old rich coot!