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Cedar Rapids Man Wins 42 Prizes Totaling $200,000 Playing Pick 4

Wiley Tuley Won Big, All In Thursday Evening Drawing Of Pick 4

Wiley Tuley   Hear Wiley tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - It's a story of incredible luck: A Cedar Rapids grandfather playing numbers representing the year of his birth won 42 prizes totaling $200,000, all in one drawing of the Iowa Lottery's Pick 4 game. And he said his big win came together just as he hoped it would.

"I figure there's a little science to it and a little luck," Wiley Tuley said with a chuckle as he claimed his prizes Friday at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids.

Tuley won his prizes in Thursday's evening drawing of Iowa's Pick 4 game. The winning numbers that night were: 1-9-4-3. Tuley matched all four numbers on each of the 14 tickets he'd purchased at two different Cedar Rapids locations.

"Just execute a plan - that's what I did, and it worked!" said Tuley, 70, who is retired. "But it's random, there's no question about it."

Here's how it all came together:

Tuley bought seven tickets at Hy-Vee at 20 Wilson Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids, and then went across the street to the Hy-Vee Gas at 2300 Bowling St. SW and bought the same set of tickets there. Each of his tickets contained three plays for Thursday's evening Pick 4 drawing. He chose his own numbers and they were: 1-9-4-3, representing the year he was born. All four of those numbers ended up hitting that night, so each of his plays won a prize. In all, he won 32 prizes of $6,000, two prizes of $3,000 and eight prizes of $250. The prizes were for different amounts because of the way he played the game.

Tuley claimed his latest prizes just before the lunch hour on Friday and said he was going home to surprise his wife, Carol, with the news of his big win.

"I'm going to tell her when she gets home," he said. "She's going to have a heart attack, just like I did this morning!"

For those who aren't familiar with Pick 4, it's a numbers game with a long history along the East Coast. But it also is offered by numerous other lotteries across the country, including the Iowa Lottery. Pick 4 players choose combinations of four numbers from 0000 to 9999. The prize that a player could win depends on the type of bet made.

For example, players can choose the option of winning a prize only when their numbers match the winning numbers in the exact order selected in the drawing. That's called a straight play. Or, players can choose the option of winning a prize if their numbers match the winning numbers in any order. That's called a box play.

It's statistically harder to match the numbers in the exact order drawn, so the odds of winning on a straight play are higher and the prizes that players can win with that option are larger. For example, the odds of winning a prize on a $1 straight play are 1 in 10,000 and the prize at that level is $6,000. The odds of winning a prize on a $1 box play to match the numbers in any order are 1:417 and the prize at that level is $250.

Pick 4 players tend to be loyal to a particular set of numbers and often play them more than once for a particular drawing, just as Tuley did.

Tuley said he plays Pick 4 only occasionally, and his decision to play is based upon what he sees occurring in the game's drawings. He tracks the Pick 4 winning numbers and when some of his numbers are selected in a drawing, he buys tickets for the next drawing. On Wednesday, three of the numbers that he plays were selected in the Pick 4 evening drawing. The results that night were: 8-4-3-1.

"I have a certain criteria I have to play the numbers, and that's like the fifth time this year that I've played those numbers in the evening," Tuley said.

He made a combination of straight and box plays for the Thursday evening drawing so that if all of his numbers hit, his winnings would total $200,000.

"When I do it the way I did it, it comes up to an even $200,000," Tuley said. "It's a nice, even number."

This isn't the first time Tuley has had good luck playing the Pick 4 game: In July 2009, he won a total of $24,000 in prizes in one drawing. And in January and February of 2010, he won a total of $9,125 in prizes in two separate drawings.

He predicted that Carol would have fun sharing the news with their two adult sons and their families.

"I don't think she's going to believe me when she sees it," he said. "The last time, when I won $24,000, she sent an email saying, 'This isn't one of your dad's tall stories.'"

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. Plays in Pick 4 range from 50 cents to $5 for the chance to match a four-digit combination of numbers. Pick 4 drawings are held Monday-Saturday. The game's midday drawings are at 12:40 p.m. with evening drawings at 9:20 p.m.

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