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Tampa pals pool money for 72,500 Powerball tickets

TAMPA (FOX 13) – Powerball fever is hitting a new high, and one mega-pool in Tampa thinks they have the best odds of scoring big thanks to the 72,500 Powerball tickets they now hold.

Ryan McGuiness and Shane Krugman started the pool with a minimum buy-in of $500. They closed out their group with a total of $145,000 worth of Powerball plays.

“Pure chaos. We started this thing as a simple Facebook post, hoping to get maybe five or 10 people in. And we closed it out with 290 people,” McGuiness said. “I would say 95 percent is friends, or friends of friends.”

So how exactly does the situation shake out? The duo already have a CPA and attorney on hand. They also have a process to notify everyone in the pool of their lucky numbers.

“We have to scan all the tickets that are in the pool, up front. We have all the splits posted, that way there’s no question as to what tickets were in the pool,” McGuiness explained.

The physical printing is handled at the Metro Market in Ybor City. Mo Samhoury, who co-owns the store, couldn’t resist buying in himself. He and his family are clocking in long hours keeping up with the count.

“We literally had them deliver three extra boxes of paper today!” Samhoury laughed.

While they’re already flush with paper, the pair is hoping tonight just one ticket out of the 72,500 they printed beats the odds.

“We brought them all the way from 292-million-to-1 down to 4,450-to-1 for the whole jackpot. Winning a million dollars is down to 160-to-1 now. So still terrible odds, but great for lotto,” Krugman smiled.

According to their calculations, after taxes, if no one outside their group shared the numbers, each person in their pool would go home with about $3 million.

Powerball fever is hitting a new high, and one mega-pool in Tampa thinks they have the best odds of scoring big thanks to the 72,500 Powerball tickets they now hold.

Friends buy 72,500 Powerball tickets in pool

Posted: Jan 14, 2016 / 09:05 AM EST / Updated: Jan 14, 2016 / 09:05 AM EST

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It started out simple with one guy and a Facebook post. Then, the fever hit. And, boy did it hit hard.

Things changed fast for Ryan McGuiness. The Tampa financial planner told News Channel 8 he put out the call to his buddies on social media to form a Powerball pool. He wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

His group went gangbusters. “We had to finally close the pool altogether last night, turning people away. It’s so crazy,” McGuiness said with a laugh.

The rapid rate of requests to be a part of this friendly financial pool was chaotic. It grew so fast, McGuiness admitted, that it became “madness, pure madness.”

The Powerball players in his pool suddenly skyrocketed to 292 people. There was only one hard and fast rule – pony up $500 to join.

The billion-dollar dream took on a life of its own for McGuiness and his friends, one that goes back several Powerball drawings and requires diligent organization. Keeping track of everything, all that money and all those numbers, is no small feat.

In fact, when folks are filled in on the history of this headline-making mission, they are a bit awestruck. Gasps are audible from those who listen to the backstory and hear the total dollar amount invested in winning the big enchilada. The pool has now reached six figures.

That’s when the printing began – 72,500 Powerball tickets churned out by a busy machine at Ybor City’s Metro Market, literally spitting out thousands at a time. There were so many, in fact, the total number of tickets had to be broken up into multiple shifts before the big drawing. The store had to buy extra paper to keep up.

“We keep coming back to pick up the tickets,” McGuiness said, chuckling. “We have so many, they keep printing!”

And, if they win? “We would split it 292 ways, which still isn’t bad. We’d each get $3 million. We’d be millionaires,” McGuiness remarked with a massive, growing grin. “I never expected our pool to get this big. We’ll see what happens,” he added.

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It started out simple with one guy and a Facebook post. Then, the fever hit. And, boy did it hit hard.