Why You Should Play ‘Roll Down’ Lottery Draws

The fact is ‘roll down’ draws greatly increase your chances of winning a larger prize.

But for some reason, not many people seem to be aware of what they are, or when they happen.

You may have arrived here after hearing how Jerry and Marge Selbee legally exploited a roll down rule to win $26 Million. I’ll talk a bit more about the Selbees in a moment, but first let’s understand what these special draws really are.

What Is A Lottery Roll Down?

A roll down is when either the entire lotto jackpot (or funds in excess of the maximum jackpot amount) are paid out to lower prize levels than normal. This can dramatically increase your chances of winning a major prize.

Not every lottery game has a roll down rule one. In fact, most don’t.

But for games that DO have a roll down, they can occur either in a game with a jackpot cap (i.e. a limit on how big the jackpot can get), or in a game that sets a limit on the number of rollovers allowed.

And when that limit is reached, it’s a rolldown and one of two things can happen:-

  • Either the cash that would have gone into making the jackpot even bigger is added to the next prize tier down (i.e. it ‘rolls down’).
  • Or if the jackpot is not won by someone, the entire jackpot can sometimes be added to the next prize tier.

Which means the 2nd prize level (or theoretically, even the 3rd prize level) gets one heck of a boost.

Here’s A Real Example

EuroMillions is probably best known for having this kind of rule attached to rollovers (and not many people know about it for this game!).

Here’s how the rules works.

1. If the jackpot reaches €190M then it is frozen (i.e. capped).

2. Next draw everything in excess of €190M gets rolled down – even if the jackpot is won.

3. If the jackpot is NOT won, next draw the whole lot will roll down.

And this came into play recently (I did tell my lottery tips gang about this so they could take advantage).

Here’s the results of a previous draw nearing it’s jackpot cap (this was Tuesday 21st October):-


Now look what happened in the next draw on Friday 24th October, when the game rolled down:-


The big deal is that 2nd tier payout. On Tuesday it paid €333,091 to 8 winners. But on Friday despite being virtually the same number of winners (there were 9) it leaped up to a massive €2,174,634. That’s each. On top of the jackpot being won anyway!

And that’s the EuroMillions roll down rule in play.

Now, unfortunately the jackpot was actually won, otherwise that next draw the entire jackpot would roll down. Then those 2nd tier prizes would be looking something more like €20M+ each – about 66 times bigger than normal! Worth being aware of? 🙂

Why Does This Matter?

Think of it in terms of your chances of winning.

If somebody said to you, “no problem, you didn’t get the last number right, but have the jackpot anyway”… wouldn’t that be worthwhile?

Because that’s what we’re talking about here.

You could potentially be winning a jackpot sized prize, without having to match all the numbers!

That’s a rare bonus that you should take maximum advantage of.

So How Do You Find Roll Down Draws?

Well, you have to look out for them.

I’d recommend checking your local games first of all, as they are the easiest to get tickets for.

Go to your lottery companies website, and look for ‘Game Rules’ or other pages full of small print that explain the fine detail of how each game works. Search for sections that talk about rollovers and jackpot caps or limits to the number of times a rollover can occur.

The term ‘roll down’ is fairly common, but not all companies may refer to it the same way. So watch out for that too.

There were plans to add a rolldown feature to the US Powerball called ‘Winner Take All’ – this was put on hold however and sadly may not return.

So, when you’ve chosen the games you’re going to play – sign up for email alerts for them if at all possible. But you may just simply have to keep checking to find out when the special rules go into play.

And that’s when you strike.

Because obviously it makes sense to play big when draws like this come along.

(P.S. This is the kind of stuff we get into in detail in my Lottery Strategy Group – it’s all about maximising your chances of winning. By doing real stuff like this, not crazy fake ‘systems’)

Let’s Talk About The Selbees

The Selbee lottery story on 60 Minutes

The Selbees over a period of years were able to fully exploit (perfectly legally) the roll down rules for two different lottery games.

But there were two key factors to making this work. This isn’t really covered in the mainstream stories.

Firstly, you need a game with the right rules. And there are very few US states with roll down lottery games. Although they do come and go, so always read up in detail when a new game appears.

Secondly, you need the right wheeling system (or ‘system play’) for the game. This is the important ‘mathematical’ bit the news reporters gloss over. Jerry talks about playing $1,100 to “mathematically have one 4 number winner worth $1,000”, PLUS “eighteen 3 number winners worth $50 each”.

The lottery math Jerry Selbee is talking about is wheeling. BUT also using the right wheel with the right win guarantee for the game (I cover this in a lot more detail in my Strategy Group). This is how he guarantees turning $1,100 into $1,900, as many times as he could afford – and ultimately into $26 Million!

Where can you get wheels like this?

Well, first of all, be aware the internet is awash with trashy wheeling systems! Frequently put together by people with no real idea of why wheeling is useful and what the real point of it is.

So, that said 🙂 , there is one formally recognised expert at this stuff called Iliya Bluskov. He is a proper working mathematician who has published peer-reviewed papers in maths journals. You don’t get much more of an expert than that (P.S. avoid the ‘Gail Howard’ company). You can get the Iliya Bluskov wheels here.

Selbees – The Movie?

Their story is just so good, you could be seeing the full version at your local movie house soon…

So Good, Maths Geeks Bankrupted One Game

Just in case you’re still underestimating the power of fully understanding rules like this. There’s another nice example of a bunch of maths geeks from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) who also exploited one of the same games with a roll down rule as the Selbees. Between them to such a degree that it had to be shut down.

Described as an “interesting school project”, the undergrads made an $8M profit over a 7 year period.

They only played when they knew the game had tipped in their favour – and mathematically they couldn’t really lose. As leader of the group James M. Harvey said, the key to the entire enterprise was “rolldown weeks”.

The Massachusetts Cash WinFall game they exploited was eventually closed down and officials were forced to investigate.

Easy Tiger!

But before you get too excited, exploiting a game to this degree does require some flaws in the ticketing rules, as well as significant resources to buy large numbers of tickets.

Harvey’s group were initially buying around 300,000 tickets per draw to guarantee a 15-20% profit.

But towards the end they even refined their system to buying enough tickets that they were actually triggering a roll down all by themselves. The result was they won 860 out of the 983 winning tickets (with a value of $600+). They held over 80% of all tickets for that draw.

It does show that fully understanding the rules of a game can make a big difference.

As can playing big when the timing is best.

Have you looked closely at the rules for the lottery games you play? Do you take advantage of ‘roll down’ or other special rules that increase your chances? Let me know – add a comment below.

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