TRIANGLE-AREA (WTVD) -- Several people have struck it big recently with their lottery wins. But what are your chances of getting so lucky?
GARNER COUPLE WINS SCRATCH OFF
"I thought I was going to have a heart attack," said Dennis Morian.
Just last Monday Dennis was with his wife Susie.
It was in the morning and they had just stopped at Bojangles off Highway 42 in Johnston County for a breakfast sandwich. Their next stop was the nearby Marathon gas station.
That's where his wife wanted to buy some scratch-off tickets. She did and then the clerk turned to them with some big news.
"He said, 'Dennis, I believe you guys won $4 million,'" recalled Morian. "I really had no intentions of retiring next year but it just kind of happened."
Morian just recently turned 60-years-old. He served in the U.S. Marines and he's a father and grandfather.
He said they plan to vacation a little but donated some of their winnings to the Ronald McDonald House charities in honor of a granddaughter they lost. They also plan to donate money to their church.
GRANITE FALLS WOMAN WINS MULTIPLE SCRATCH-OFFS
A North Carolina woman hit the jackpot with two scratch-off lottery tickets, marking the second such instance in three weeks.
Michelle Shuffler, of Granite Falls, won $10,000 with one scratch-off ticket and $1 million with another on Sunday.
Shuffler said in a statement that she and her husband purchased the winning $10,000 ticket in Lenoir.
"We don't normally play the lottery," Shuffler said. "My husband just happened to have some cash in his pocket. At the last second, he decided to buy a ticket."
When Shuffler scratched the Million Dollar Fever ticket, she saw that it was worth $10,000.
"I was in complete disbelief," Shuffler said. "I still am."
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Feeling lucky later that night, they decided to get another scratch-off ticket 22 miles away in Granite Falls.
"We saw that the game had a million dollar prize," Shuffler said. "So we decided, 'Why not try to beat the odds again?'"
When she scratched the second Million Dollar Fever ticket, she realized she had, in fact, beat the odds and won $1 million.
"It's quite astonishing," Shuffler said. "It's a miracle!"
Shuffler claimed both prizes Monday afternoon at lottery headquarters in Raleigh.
For the $1 million prize, she had the choice of taking an annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the annuity.
She received her first payment of $50,000. After required state and federal tax withholdings, she took home $34,753. She will get an additional payment each year for the next 19 years.
Shuffler plans to use the money to save for retirement and add to her children's college funds
Kimberly Morris, of Wake Forest, also won the lottery twice at the end of October.
ODDS OF WINNING- NC LOTTERY COMMISSION
While these stories may have people running to their nearest convenience store to start scratching off some winners, the state's lottery commission said there are some odds to consider.
How to play and odds of winning
"We have $10,000 wins, $5,000 wins, and million dollar wins and cash five jackpots daily," said Townley Cheek, spokesperson for the North Carolina Lottery.
For example, one of the recent winning games played was the Diamond Dazzler for $4 million.
"In the $4 million Diamond Dazzler, of course, the top prize is $4 million and we have three of those in that game," explained Cheek. "We also have six $1 million prizes and 175 $10,000 prizes, so the odds of winning on that ticket including break-even prizes are 1 in 2.98 (million)."
But they point out that the approximate overall odds of winning, including break-even prizes, are 1 in 2.98.
On the same day as one of the recent winners, Cheek said there were 18 $5,000 prizes claimed on the same day. She said there were another 12 $10,000 prizes.
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Garner couple, Wake Forest woman, Granite Falls woman - all with big lottery wins. What are your chances?