ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Larry Martinez’s birth month and year, combined with some digits from an old work ID badge, won him the nation’s first $1 million prize in the newly revamped Powerball lottery.
Martinez, from Blanco, matched all five white balls in Wednesday’s Powerball drawing, but missed the red Powerball and the $80 million jackpot.
Had he matched all five white balls few days earlier, before the revised rules took effect, his prize would have been $200,000.
After reading a newspaper article a few weeks ago that advised against having a computer pick lottery numbers for you, Martinez said, he started playing numbers he picked himself.
While watching television Thursday night, Martinez’s wife Cynthia heard that a $1 million Powerball ticket had been sold in the state. After urging him to check his ticket, the couple learned they were about to be $1 million richer.
Martinez said he will use the money to pay off some debts and help the couple’s three sons, one of whom is a student at San Juan College in Farmington.
Changes to Powerball, operated by the Indiana-based Multi-State Lottery Association, went into effect Sunday. The changes doubled the starting jackpot to $40 million, quintupled the prize for matching all five white balls and slightly increased players’ overall odds of winning a prize. They also boosted the price of a Powerball ticket from $1 to $2.