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Winning the Lottery Never Gets Old for Fort Mill Player
1/25/2012 8:53:00 AM

COLUMBIA, SC (January 25, 2012) – Winning comes easy for Antonio Estrada.

He won $5,000 the first time he played the Lottery. That was eight years ago, and he’s been winning off and on ever since.

“I’ve been told that everybody can’t win all the time,” Estrada said. “But I’m not everybody.”

His ability to pick lucky numbers has earned him legendary status at the South Carolina Education Lottery.

Mention his name or that you haven’t seen him in a while, and, on cue, Estrada will show up at the Lottery’s claims center with a winning ticket. Always dressed the same, in a blue work shirt with “Tony” printed over the pocket, he hands off a ticket worth anywhere from $600 to $5,000. He visits a few times a year.

For every win, he has his picture taken, smiling, holding his winning ticket. Sometimes he’ll wait to take the photo home with him. Other times the Lottery mails him a copy to Fort Mill. Estrada saves every one.

Flipping through his scrapbook, you wonder how one man can be so lucky. Memories of winning lottery tickets fill the album, page after page provide evidence of his Midas touch.

“I have a knack for it,” Estrada said, letting us in on a little secret.

“I pick my own numbers,” he shared.

But even he has a hard time explaining his methodology.

The first time he won $5,000 he picked the numbers 7, 7, 7 and 3 out of thin air. Estrada confessed he was testing his luck following a hot streak at a casino. Since, he’s developed a habit of studying lottery numbers and looking for patterns to try when he plays Pick 4. For Powerball®, he plays his birth date.

Whatever he’s doing, it works for him. In 2005, Estrada had five lottery wins. One ticket was worth $5,000. In 2010, he posted five wins again. Last time around, in September, he collected on a $600 Palmetto Cash 5 ticket, missing the $100,000 top prize by one number.

His winning percentage has to be decent.

“I always come out ahead,” he claims.

Estrada admits he’s not getting rich off the Lottery. He hasn’t won enough to quit his maintenance job. He and his wife have been saving for years to build a new house, and his lottery winnings have certainly helped their cause.

“I’m hoping for the big one,” he said, adding he’s come within two numbers of the multi-million dollar, life changing Powerball® jackpot.

He’ll continue picking numbers and enjoying what luck he has and others can only hope for.

“It’s never dull to win,” he said.

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