Stefan Mandel, a Romanian-Australian economist, developed a mathematical algorithm that allowed him to predict five out of the six winning numbers, leading him to 14 lottery wins. In this article, we’ll delve into the story of Stefan Mandel and his unique approach to playing the lottery.

Stefan Mandel Lottery Strategy
Stefan Mandel Lottery Strategy

Who is Stefan Mandel?

Early Life

Stefan Mandel was born in Romania, likely in the early 1930s, though exact details about his birthdate are scarce. He grew up in a time when Romania was facing economic hardships, and this environment likely shaped his interest in economics and mathematics.


Mandel’s passion for numbers led him to pursue a career in mathematics. He studied economics and mathematics at a university in Romania, where he honed his analytical skills. His understanding of probability theory and combinatorics would later become the foundation of his lottery strategy.

First Lottery Win

Mandel’s interest in the lottery began as a mathematical challenge. He wanted to find a way to guarantee a win, and he realized that a systematic approach could achieve this. His first win came in the Romanian lottery, where he won a substantial sum that allowed him to leave the country and move to Israel.

Moving to Australia

After spending some time in Israel, Mandel moved to Australia, where he formed a lottery syndicate. He applied his mathematical strategy on a grander scale, targeting lotteries that met specific criteria. His success in Australia attracted attention, and his method was scrutinized but found to be legal.

The Big Win in Virginia

Mandel’s most famous win came in 1992 when he targeted the Virginia Lottery in the United States. His syndicate bought over 5 million tickets, guaranteeing a win. They won a $27 million jackpot, along with numerous smaller prizes. This win brought international attention and led to changes in lottery regulations.

While Mandel’s lottery strategy was legal, he faced legal challenges later in life. He was charged with fraud in Israel related to an investment scheme, though these charges were unrelated to his lottery wins. He reportedly spent some time in prison and faced financial difficulties.


Stefan Mandel’s legacy is a complex one. On one hand, he is celebrated as a mathematical genius who found a way to beat the system legally. On the other hand, his method led to changes in lottery regulations, and his later legal troubles have somewhat overshadowed his earlier achievements.

His story continues to be a subject of fascination, and his method is often studied as a unique application of mathematical principles.

Stefan Mandel’s life is a blend of mathematical brilliance, entrepreneurial spirit, and legal complexity. His ability to apply mathematical theories to real-world challenges made him a millionaire and a legend in the world of lotteries. His story is a testament to the power of analytical thinking and a reminder of the fine line between innovation and regulation.

Mandel’s Winning Lottery Strategy

  1. Mathematical Analysis: Mandel’s strategy began with a mathematical analysis of the lottery. He would identify lotteries where the jackpot was at least three times the total number of possible combinations. This ensured that even if he bought every combination, he would still make a profit.
  2. Identify the Right Lottery: Mandel would look for lotteries with a relatively small number of total combinations. The fewer the combinations, the more feasible his strategy would be.
  3. Calculate All Combinations: Using his mathematical background, Mandel would calculate all possible combinations for the chosen lottery.
  4. Print Tickets: Mandel would then print out tickets for every possible combination. This was a massive logistical task, requiring careful coordination and attention to detail.
  5. Purchase Tickets: Mandel and his syndicate would purchase tickets for every combination. This required significant upfront investment and coordination with various retailers.
  6. Win and Collect: Since Mandel’s syndicate held tickets for every combination, they were guaranteed to win the jackpot, as well as many smaller prizes. They would then collect their winnings.
  7. Pay Taxes and Investors: Mandel’s strategy involved paying taxes on the winnings and distributing profits to investors. His syndicate was a legal entity, and everything was done according to the law.

The Aftermath

Mandel’s strategy was legal at the time, but it led to changes in lottery rules. Many lotteries now have regulations in place to prevent such a coordinated buying scheme.

His method is often cited as a remarkable example of using mathematical principles and strategic thinking to achieve a seemingly impossible goal. However, it’s essential to note that Mandel’s strategy is no longer applicable in today’s lottery environment due to changes in rules and the sheer complexity of executing such a plan.


Stefan Mandel’s lottery strategy is a unique chapter in the history of gambling and mathematics. It showcases how a deep understanding of mathematics, combined with strategic planning and execution, can lead to success in even the most unlikely of arenas. His story is a testament to human ingenuity and the power of mathematical thinking.


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