On the morning of Nov. 8, Van Simmons, 67, was thrilled to redeem his collection of four Missouri Lottery Pick 4 tickets for a grand total of $13,000 in prize money. The Jefferson City man was cashing in his winnings from the previous day’s Pick 4 midday drawing. Little did he know that Lady Luck would have him returning to Lottery headquarters to claim an additional $18,000 later that very afternoon.
As it turns out, selecting his own numbers for the daily Pick 4 game is something Simmons does regularly. In fact, he scored a $3,000 win in August using the numbers associated with his age. However, it was two different sets of numbers that gave him his latest wins.
For the Nov. 7 drawing, he decided to go with numbers he attributes to an old friend.
“I had a friend that always used 2-5-2-5 in the daily double for horse racing,” Simmons explained. “He had stomach cancer and died, so I started playing his numbers. Then I just decided I’d play every combination on it.”
Simmons purchased two tickets selecting Pick 4’s straight/box play type (which allows players to match their numbers in any order) and two tickets using the combo play type (which gives players all possible four-number combinations for an exact order win). When all was said and done, those choices allowed Simmons to walk away with $13,000 after the numbers 2, 5, 5 and 2 were drawn.
At the time of the win, he was asked if he felt lucky.
“Yes, that’s all it is,” Simmons had said. “If it was skill, everyone would be winning tons.”
With his lucky streak seemingly still intact after claiming his prize, Simmons decided to purchase tickets for Nov. 8’s midday drawing using the numbers of his late wife’s age. Using the combo play type once again, his chosen numbers of 7, 0, 7 and 0 on six separate tickets earned him a total of $18,000 when the numbers 7, 7, 0 and 0 were drawn.
“It’s totally unreal,” he said of his back-to-back wins. “I just liked to go nuts when I realized what had happened. I just can’t believe it; it’s weird.”
Simmons purchased his winning tickets at various Missouri Lottery retailers in Jefferson City, including: Convenient Food Mart, 3714 W. Truman Blvd.; Gerbes, 2805 W. Truman Blvd.; Gerbes, 2101 Schotthill Woods Dr.; Schulte’s Fresh Foods, 1904 Southwest Blvd.; Hy-Vee, 3721 W. Truman Blvd.; and Schnucks Market, 1801 Missouri Blvd.
Pick 4 drawings are held each day at 12:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. The game began on Nov. 2, 1998.