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Elkader Man Plays Birthday Numbers, Wins $36,000 In Lottery Prizes

Richard Dinan Wins Big Playing 'Pick 4' Game

Richard Dinan   Hear Richard tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A northeast Iowa man won a total of $36,000 in a lottery drawing last week after playing a set of numbers related to his birthday.

Richard Dinan, 64, of Elkader played the numbers 7-1-4-7 in the evening drawing of the Iowa Lottery's Pick 4 game on Jan. 1. Dinan matched all four numbers in the exact order as drawn to win a $24,000 prize. And, he also matched three of the four numbers on two additional plays to win another $12,000.

Dinan, a farmer, said he's played a similar number combination for the past few weeks. His birthday is July 14, and then he chose to repeat either the "7," "1," or "4" as his fourth number.

"I've been doing that for the last two or three weeks now on Wednesday and Saturday just because I had a feeling on my birthday numbers coming up," he said.

Pick 4, which has been offered in Iowa since September 2003, features a top prize of $30,000, with odds of just 1:10,000 of winning it. Another intriguing aspect of the game comes in the variety of ways players can choose to play it. Plays in Pick 4 range from 50 cents to $5 for the chance to match a four-digit combination of numbers from 0000 to 9999.

There are several ways to win in Pick 4. A player can choose a straight play, meaning that if the winning numbers are 1-2-3-4, the player wins a prize for matching that combination exactly: 1-2-3-4. Another option is to choose a box play, which allows players to win for matching the winning numbers, but not in the exact order drawn (if the winning numbers are 1-2-3-4, you can win for a combination of those numbers, such as 4-3-2-1). You also can choose a straight/box play, which allows you to win for matching the numbers in the exact order drawn or in any order.

Dinan won multiple prizes on Jan. 1 by matching the numbers in the exact order drawn and in any order. He said he was playing a computer game that night when he decided to check his Pick 4 tickets for that evening's drawing on the lottery's website.

"I got to the Pick 4 and I went, 'Holy cow!'" he said.

After double-checking the numbers on his tickets, Dinan woke up his wife, Betty, and had her look at the Pick 4 numbers on the computer.

"She said, 'Did you play it?'" he said. "And I said, 'Yes I did!'"

Dinan claimed his prizes Thursday at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids. He purchased his winning tickets at Zapf's Pronto Market, 107 First St. in Elkader.

He said his lottery winnings will be used for traveling and to make repairs around the couple's farm and home.

Pick 4 drawings are held seven days a week. The game's midday drawings are at 12:40 p.m. with evening drawings at 9:20 p.m.

Winning numbers may be checked at the lottery website at or through the winning numbers' hot line at (515) 323-4633. Winning numbers may also be checked with lottery retail outlets or by calling the lottery at (515) 725-7900 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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