Anyone looking to guess the correct number of jelly beans in a jar would do well to ask the opinion of Michael Patterson of Williamstown, Vermont. Mr. Patterson was declared the winner of a red, 2003 Volkswagen Beetle by the Vermont lottery when he guessed that the "POWER BUG" contained a total of 24,260 ping-pong balls. The correct number, as certified by the Vermont Lottery auditors, was 24,264 -- only four more than Mr. Patterson's solitary entry.
The Vermont Lottery awarded the car as the grand prize in its statewide "POWER BUG" promotion, which was implemented to introduce the Powerball game to Vermonters. Mr. Patterson gave the car to his wife, Lisa Patterson, and said it was her "fun car." "She's always wanted a VW bug," said Mr. Patterson.
Contacting the Pattersons proved a bit problematic for the Vermont Lottery as the couple had just moved to a new residence. "I picked up the mail, put it in my purse and left it there for several days," a very excited Mrs. Patterson noted when she and her husband claimed the car in South Barre. "When I got around to opening it I noticed the letter from the Lottery and thought we might have won something in one of the Lottery's Second Chance drawings. It turned out to be something much better than that." Mr. Patterson went on to say that this is his first new car that he and his wife have owned together since they were married.
Mr. and Mrs. Patterson are regular players of Powerball and use a combination of birthdays and anniversary when purchasing their numbers.
To play Powerball, players choose five numbers from 1 to 53 and an additional number. the "Powerball", from a field of one to 42. For an extra $1 per play players may select the Power Play option, which multiplies winnings by two-, three-, four-, or 5-times for all non-jackpot prizes. Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening, with a minimum Powerball jackpot of $10 million. Overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 36, while odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 120,526,770.