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1,400 people picked all 2s as their lottery numbers—now they're splitting a $3.4 million prize

A customer purchases lottery tickets in Richland County, South Carolina.
Tim Dominick | The State/MCT | Getty Images

More than a thousand people in South Carolina are at least a couple of thousand dollars richer this week after they all played the same combination of winning lottery numbers in a record-breaking drawing.

The South Carolina Education Lottery is paying out a total of $3.4 million to almost 1,400 lucky winners, a record prize for the state's Pick 4 lottery, according to state lottery officials. What's more, every single one of those winners picked the same number combination: 2-2-2-2.

The drawing took place on Saturday and dozens of winners were lined up at the state lottery's headquarters on Monday morning to claim their prize money. State lottery officials even tweeted a video showing the line wrapping around the block on a warm morning in Columbia, South Carolina.

One of the lucky Pick 4 winners actually played the 2-2-2-2 number combination 16 times on Saturday, which resulted in a total prize worth $80,000, said the state lottery officials, who did not reveal that winner's name. South Carolina is one of nine U.S. states that allow lottery winners to remain anonymous.

But payouts vary per winner based on how much they paid for their Pick 4 tickets, with most winners receiving anywhere between $2,500 and $5,000, the South Carolina Education Lottery said in a press release. Lottery players can pay anywhere from 50 cents to $24 for a Pick 4 ticket, with higher prices resulting in better odds of winning. Still, the odds of winning a top prize from Pick 4 range from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 417.

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So, why did so many players pick all 2s on their Pick 4 tickets? Some winners told lottery officials they'd been playing all 2s "for years" while at least one winner said she picked the numbers because her birthday is February 22 (aka 2/22).

For what it's worth, lottery experts say that playing the same numbers over and over again doesn't improve your odds of eventually hitting a jackpot, because your odds of winning the lottery reset each time you play and so do the odds of a particular number combination being selected.

Still, this isn't the first time a large group of lottery winners have lucked out by playing a sequence of identical numbers. More than 650 people won the Pick 4 with the 2-2-2-2 combination in 2012, according to the South Carolina Education Lottery, while more than 2,000 people in North Carolina split $7.8 million from a Pick 4 drawing with the numbers 0-0-0-0 in June.

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