Joan Ginther has been labeled the luckiest woman in the world after winning the Texas lottery on four separate occasions, winning more than $20 million. Skeptics are questioning whether lady luck is shining down upon her or if she is gaming the system.
Ginther, 63, won her first multi-million dollar jackpot in 1993 with a win in the game 'Lotto Texas,' which she split with another player, walking away with $5.4 million.
She followed that pick-6 win with a pair of winning scratch-off tickets in 2006 and 2008 that earned her cash prizes of $2 million and $3 million respectively, according to the Texas Lottery Commission.
The third time she won might have been called "the charm" by some people, but for Ginther it was the prelude to bigger and better things, namely a fourth win in the lottery's game of chance.
In June, the Texas Lottery Commission announced Joan Ginther had scratched her way to another big win. She purchased a $50 "Extreme Payout" ticket at Times Market in Bishop, Texas and won $10 million to add to her previous winnings.
Ginther, who has asked the lottery commission for "minimal publicity," has become a celebrity in Bishop and has made headlines in newspapers across the U.S.
She was recently featured in the August issue of Harper's magazine where a writer questioned her string of good luck, saying the odds of her winning the lottery four times is 1 in 18 septillion.
The author of Harper's article, Nathanial Rich, pointed out that "Ginther is a former math professor with a PhD from Stanford University specializing in statistics – just the type of discipline one might want to master were one to game a lottery system," reports Forbes.
Rich offered his thoughts on Ginther's good fortune suggesting with her mathematical background "she could have figured out the algorithm that determines where a winner is placed in each run of scratch-off tickets." He went on to say it wouldn't be hard to figure out the shipping schedules for the lottery tickets to better her chances of purchasing the right ticket, at the right time, at the right location.
ABC reported, "Gail Howard, a lottery expert who writes books on how to maximize winning probability, said that while Ginther's luck is special, it is far from the first time someone has won big more than once. Unlike some of the pick-five or pick-six numbers games that she Howard studies, Ginther won three of her four big prizes with scratch-off tickets. As far as I know, there's no way to beat the odds with scratch-offs."
The Texas Lottery Commission does not suspect any wrongdoing on Ginther's part and lists a number of winners on their website who have been fortunate enough to win various lottery games multiple times.
Ginther joins an elite group of lottery winners who have won a jackpot worth millions more than one time. Lottery Post reported on a North Carolina family who beat the odds three times, winning more than $15 million; and a Panama City, Florida, man who won $13 million in less then six months with two winning tickets.
Forbes reported the people of Bishop, Texas, don't suspect Ginther is gaming the system or is just the recipient of good fortune; they give the credit for her winning to the Lord, believing that "God is behind it all."