Hal Thompson of Cary will remember Thanksgiving Day 2015 as the day he was only one number away from winning a Powerball jackpot.
On Thanksgiving Day, when Thompson checked his numbers for the Nov. 25 Powerball drawing, he had matched all the numbers but the first one. He tried to tell his wife the good news, but she was too busy getting ready for the Thanksgiving meal. So he waited patiently till the right moment at the holiday meal.
Thompson said he told his family: "I got kind of lucky. If 14 had been 16, I would have won $90 million. But I did win a hundred grand. My wife looked at me and said, 'You're kidding.' And I said, 'No.'"
The amount of the win occurred because of the way Thompson, a general contractor, played the game when he bought his lucky ticket at the High House Food Mart on Old Apex Road in Cary. First, as he normally does, he bought $3 Power Play tickets. Then, because he took advantage of the lottery's Power Play promotion occurring at the time, he got a free ticket for every three Power Play tickets he bought.
The Powerball game has nine ways to win. With the Power Play feature, prizes won are multiplied by up to 10x when the jackpot is $150 million or less and up to 5x when it is more than $150 million. The multiplier feature applies to all prizes but the top two, the jackpot and the Match 5 prize. Thompson's ticket, which was the free promotion ticket, matched numbers on four of the five white balls and the Powerball, a feat which beats odds of 1 in 913,129.
Thompson said he always buys the Power Play ticket "just for the chance to get the multiplier." After tax withholdings, he received $69,250. He said he would use the prize money to pay off bills.
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