Powerball fever grips Colorado as many rush to registers

DENVER — You might have noticed people at work acting a little more excited than usual, maybe a few daydreaming.

It’s likely they’ve got a case of Powerball Fever.

Millions infected with the hope they can win a record Powerball Jackpot of more than $550 million.

The last biggest Powerball jackpot was $365 million in 2006, shared by several ConAgra Foods workers in Lincoln, Neb.

It’s a small piece of paper that holds big dreams.

“Half a billion dollars. There’s a good chance of winning that. I’m trying to get in on that money,” laughs Lawrence Washington of Denver.

Odds of winning are just 1 in 175 million.

You have a better chance of becoming President of the United States or becoming a supermodel.

“Even though those odds are astronomical, I feel compelled because everybody else is doing it,” says Denver resident Steve Duran.

So we asked Richard Lustig, whose won seven lottery grand prizes, how to better your odds.

“People are lazy. They want the quick way out,” he said, through a Skype interview.

He said first of all, don’t buy Quick Picks.

“Every time you buy a Quick Pick, you get a completely new set of numbers. So your odds are really going to be at the worst they can possibly be,” he said.

He also said play the same numbers every week.

“Been playing a long time. Maybe this is it,” said Denver resident and regular Powerball player Tony Valdez.

He knows what he’d do with his winnings.

“As bad as my arthritis has been hurting me, I’m going to look around and see if I can buy another body, put this good-looking head on it,” joked Valdez.

But most winners, 7 out of 10, will burn through their money within a few years.

“The biggest misconception about any windfall is you never have to worry about money again. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll worry about money more than ever before,” said Paul Golden with the National Endowment for Financial Education, which helps people manage their emotions after coming into lots of money.

“The best thing to do is take a time out. If you get a large sum of cash, take six to twelve months of living expenses. Put the rest aside. Sometimes, it takes that long to overcome the emotional swing you’re going through,” said Golden.

Bus odds are, most probably don’t have to worry.

Lustig has written a 40-page book explaining his winning formula. It’s called “Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery.”