Conneticut statistics professor uses $100,000 lottery win to teach students a lesson

Nick Kapoor, 26, from Monroe, Connecticut wins $100,000 lottery prize with winning Powerball ticket.  (Photo Credit: Nick Kapoor)
Nick Kapoor, 26, from Monroe, Connecticut wins $100,000 lottery prize with winning Powerball ticket. (Photo Credit: Nick Kapoor)

Monroe, Conn. (CBS News) – When it came to playing Powerball this month, the odds were not exactly in 26-year-old statistics professor Nick Kapoor’s favor.

The probability of winning with the type of ticket Kapoor bought was roughly one in a million. But he ended up being that lucky one.

The professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut accepted his check for a jaw-dropping $100,000 last week.

“I mean, imagine the odds,” Kapoor told CBS News. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Now the math whiz is using his lottery win as a lesson for students in his accelerated statistics class.

“The lottery is a really cool way to teach theory and applications of math and discuss something that happens in real life,” Kapoor said. “At some point in our lives the lottery hits all of us.”

Whether you’re stepping into a gas station or a Dunkin’ Donuts, chances are a lottery ticket will be close by. And Kapoor is no stranger to making an impulse purchase.

For years, he has been picking up a lotto ticket at least once a week, usually when he fills his car up at the local Gulf gas station in Monroe, Connecticut. In fact, that’s exactly where he purchased his $15 winning ticket Nov. 4.

The chances of winning are slim, Kapoor admits. But when he told his students about his recent good luck, he gave them the only valuable tip he could: Play to win.

“If you don’t play, you don’t win,” Kapoor said.

Kapoor recalled a professor he had as an undergrad who taught probability and told the class that the lottery was a scam that “no one should ever play.”

“He showed us all these different things that would happen to you first before you would win the lottery,” Kapoor explained. But even then he disagreed. “I said, ‘Yeah, but somebody has to win. Why is this person not me?’”

Fast-forward a few years, and Kapoor’s logic sure paid off.

Everyone is now asking to know his trick so they can one day be winners, too. Kapoor says it doesn’t take tricks — just luck.

“Everybody keeps saying, ‘Good job,’” he said. “I say, ‘Thanks, but I didn’t really do a lot.’”

Kapoor is going to continue playing the lottery every week, because why not?

“The lottery is an extra; it’s not something we can all afford, but if you can, support your state and good luck,” he said.

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