Beginner’s Luck: 18-Year-Old Wins $1K a Week for Life, Internet Gambler Wins $194K

Posted on: March 29, 2018, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: March 29, 2018, 03:10h.

A bit of beginner’s luck won two individuals considerable money this month and will make many others wonder why they haven’t been as lucky.

beginner's luck lottery online gambling
“If you don’t gamble, you don’t know how lucky you are,” is a popular saying in Asia. Two North Americans with an exorbitant amount of beginner’s luck are happy they decided to find out. (Image: Loto Quebec)

In Quebec, Charlie Lagarde celebrated her 18th birthday by purchasing a bottle of sparkling wine and her first-ever lottery ticket. When she scratched off the game, Lagarde discovered she had just won a jackpot worth either C$1 million or C$1,000 a week for life (she took the latter).

In New Jersey, bored on a Monday night, 33-year-old Anibal Lopes decided to see what online gambling was all about. His first slot machine win hit a progressive jackpot that paid nearly $194,000.

$1K a Week, or $1 Million?

Charlie Lagarde played a Quebec Lottery game that featured a grand prize of C$1 million ($775,000) or C$1,000 ($775) a week per life. The odds of her winning were one in six million.

Being just 18, Lagarde opted to take the $775 a week for life. According to financial advisors, it’s probably the best strategy due to her age.

“This removes all temptation to spend on things that feel like more of a priority at the age of 18 than they might later in life,” an investment expert told the BBC.

And while some might think taking the $775,000 and investing it is the better option, data says otherwise. According to financial experts, routinely investing the weekly payments will put her in front in the long run.

From a mathematical standpoint, Lagarde will need to live to see the age of 37 to reach the $775,000 lump sum. Should she live into her 80s, she’ll receive over $2.3 million.

New Jersey Online Win

Anibal Lopes of Woodbridge, New Jersey, created an online account at on his smartphone Monday night. The first game he selected was Divine Fortune, an interactive progressive slot.

On his very first spin, he hit the Mega Jackpot worth $193,737. It was the largest payout in SugarHouse’s online history.

Describing his big win to The New York Times, Lopes explained, “I thought, ‘This is not happening.’ I told my wife, ‘I don’t feel well. My legs are shaking.’ She said, ‘We need to get you to the emergency room.'”

Lopes plans to use the money to pay off bills and fix up their house. He said he had tested some internet casinos when they first became legal in 2013, but hadn’t made an online bet in a number of years.

SugarHouse Casino is located in Philadelphia, but the parent company operates in New Jersey through a partnership with Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget and its iGaming license.

Beginner’s Luck: Fact or Fiction?

Beginner’s luck is a supposed phenomenon defined by “novices experiencing disproportionate frequency of success against an expert in a given activity.” The term is also applied when no skill whatsoever is needed, as is the case in playing the lottery or a slot machine.

While the validity of beginner’s luck is certainly not an exact science, some statisticians believe the phenomenon arises “from a disconnect between the player and the pressure of the game,” as a novice is inexperienced and therefore has little expected positive outcome.