Sharon Bishop, 33, of Hagerstown, Maryland, says she's no expert on winning, but after Wednesday she has a little experience.
Bishop won a consolation prize for Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing, netting her $175,000.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Bishop described her winning strategy.
She said she didn't start playing games of chance until about two years ago. And she started playing Mega Millions last year during a big jackpot.
"Well, yeah, it's gambling," she says.
Bishop said sometimes she buys one Mega Millions ticket, sometimes a handful, but "nothing major." She also plays scratch-off games and saves up pocket change to play 25-cent slot machines in Charles Town.
The slots and scratch-offs don't really make her money, though, Bishop said. One time, she said she won $100, but usually, "I just break even."
Tuesday night, she said she didn't do anything differently. She bought four $1 tickets at a Walkersville, Md., liquor store that is in the same shopping center where she works as a hairstylist and a masseuse.
"I've heard your odds are better when you do 'random pick,'" Bishop said. According to Maryland Lottery, she pulled the numbers 13, 31, 37, 39 and 52. She did not pull the sixth number - 38 - that would have won her $21 million.
Bishop, who is married and has a 15-year-old son in private school in Virginia, said she moved into a new house in Hagerstown last year, and the cash will help pay bills and her son's tuition.
Once the bills are paid off, she said she'll just have fun with the earnings. Maybe she'll start a business, or "maybe a trip to Charles Town," she said, laughing.