Last year, the New York Lottery announced that Uniondale man Juan Hernandez had won the state’s $10 million scratch-off prize. The catch? This was the second time Hernandez has won the game in three years.

For context, the odds of winning the game just once are 1 in 3.52 million. Winning the game twice? The odds are exponentially higher.

In 2019, Hernandez won $10 million after playing the same game. Just like this time around, Hernandez’s total winnings after withholdings were $6,510,000. Back then, Hernandez was over the moon at this luck.

“I was so happy when I won,” he told New York State News. “I scanned the ticket in the checker and then signed it right away!”

At the time, the then 54-year-old said that he was planning on paying off the mortgage on his house

And Hernandez is not unusual for that decision. One survey found that 35% of American people say they would pay off outstanding debt first if they won the lottery.

The second most common response? Share their winnings with friends and family (23% of Americans chose this option).

The second time around, Hernandez didn’t comment on what he was going to spend the money on, probably because he was out of ideas. “I’m still trying to spend the $10 million I won in ’19,” he told the New York Lottery website.

Despite the common statistic that 70% of lottery winners spend all of their money in five years or fewer, that widely-held theory is untrue. New York University economics professor Dr. Daniel Cesarini found that lottery winners “actually retained their wealth well over a decade after the jackpot.”

In fact, the “curse of the lottery” is a complete myth

Lottery winners are found to self-report higher levels of happiness than their less-lucky peers.

When the news of Hernandez’s statistically improbable win hit social media, people seemed torn between awe and suspicion at his luck.

“This gives me hope,” someone wrote in celebration of Hernandez’s double win. Another much more skeptical person wrote: “Somebody investigate this man.”

Another believed there is a method behind the madness: “I watched a video on lotteries on YouTube a while back. Apparently, this happens pretty often where past winners will win again,” wrote one Twitter user. “They claim that there’s a pattern to it, and once you figure it out, it increases your chances of winning.”

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While some people have won the lottery more than once, it is still rare.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spend $71 billion a year on lottery tickets, meaning many people play and play often.

This note was originally published on February 28, 2022.