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May 09, 2016

Forget Powerball. How many people hit '69' in Friday's Pick 2 drawing?

Investigation: Do nice Twitter memes lead to more lottery wins?

When I saw that the Pennsylvania Lottery’s daytime Pick 2 winning number on Friday was “69,” I immediately figured there would be trillions of winners, what with that whole Twitter meme about responding “nice” to any Tweet that references said number.

As is the case with the Crying Jordan meme, it’s difficult to pin down exactly why those nice responses keep finding their way into threads involving a number with prurient implications.

Still, I was genuinely curious as to whether it played into this limited sample of nice lottery selections – the Pick 2 has only been drawn since Jan. 2015 – so I left a message at the lottery’s Harrisburg press office on Saturday night to perform some due diligence.

Gary Miller, a Pennsylvania Lottery spokesman, called back on Monday morning (because normal people don’t make press inquiries with lotto questions over the weekend). He walked me through the lottery’s website, which keeps track of how many people have hit certain numbers on certain dates.

Miller noted that there’s no clearinghouse of popular winning numbers per se, but the site has a search-by-number offering.

So here’s what I learned about what happens when 69 hits in the day or afternoon drawing:

There were 124 winners in the Friday drawing, for a total prize pool of $4,770 ($50 for a straight hit, $25 for box). In previous victories, there were 242 and 241 winners on Feb. 5 and March 4 respectively.

So, yes, a bunch of folks have a little more cash in their wallets or purses because they made that nice pick. But is that more than usual? 

While it topped many other numbers in the lottery history, some lucky numbers outdrew 69. They include 88 (581 winners), 11 (564 winners), 13 (439 winners), 21 (413 winners), 22 (401 winners) and 77 (334 winners).

All of which is to say, yeah, a lot of people think the number 69 is their key to grabbing a $49 victory, but lucky numbers still reign supreme.