Based on a true story of a retired couple finding a loophole in the US state lottery system and winning $26 million, Jerry & Marge Go Large will lift your spirits and reinvigorate your zest for life. It’s a feel-good movie in the true sense of the word!
The Real Story of Jerry and Marge Selbee
Looking at the life story of Jerry Selbee and his wife Marge, you could describe it as all-American. These high school sweethearts have been together since they were 17 and they were able to build a nice life for themselves and their 6 kids. Actually, the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in November 2021.
Jerry was a materials analyst at a Kellogg’s cereal factory but in 1984 he and Marge opened a local convenience store. They ran it for 17 years before deciding it was time to retire so they sold it. In the movie, they skipped the part about the convenience store and Jerry retires right after leaving the factory.
Finding a Lottery Loophole
Retirement was not going as planned! Selbees and their marriage was in the rut and the lives of their friends and neighbors were not any better. But all that changed one day when Jerry realized there is a loophole in the new Michigan state lottery game – WinFall.
It took him only 3 minutes to “crack the code”. He was going through the game’s brochure in his old convenience store when it hit him – he could actually make a profit playing this game. It was not a matter of luck but of simple arithmetic.
The key for making a profit on WinFall was not in the jackpot but in the game’s additional feature called Roll-down. Differently from other lottery games where the jackpot amount grows until someone wins it, the Michigan Lottery went for a different system. Once the jackpot hits $5 million and if no one had all 6 numbers, the prize would roll down to those who matched 5, 4, and 3 numbers. This roll-down would happen every 6 weeks or so and the Michigan Lottery would announce it ahead of time as a marketing move.
The key for making a profit on WinFall was not in the jackpot but in the game’s additional feature called Roll-down.
By doing simple math, Jerry realized that you have a 1 in 54 chance to pick 3 out of 6 matching numbers and 1 in a 1,500 chance to pick 4 matching numbers. The 3 number combo would get you $5 while the matching 4 numbers would bring $100. And then it hit him – on average, a player who would wait till roll-down has a chance to win more than he lost. Of course, the condition being that no one actually got all 6 numbers right that week. With the jackpot rolling down, a player would get $50 instead of $5 and $1,000 instead of $100.
Testing The Winning Theory
Before telling his wife Marge about his theory, Jerry decided to test it in secret. When the next roll-down was announced, Jerry decided to drive 47 miles and buy tickets in a convenience store in Mesick so he could avoid any questions. He spent $2,200 on tickets and when the roll-down was finished he ended up winning almost that exact amount – $2,150. Although this was not really an encouraging result, Jerry decided to give it one more try. After all, just because odds say you’re likely to win, it is not a guarantee. This time, he decided to invest $3,400 and won $6,300. He waited for another roll-down and bet $8,000 and ended up winning a stunning $15,700.
After this win, Jerry told Marge his secret – he hacked the lottery system! He knew how to beat it! After a long pause, Marge smiled and backed him up. After all, she knew her husband well and she knew how good with numbers he actually is.
Sharing Good Fortune With The Community
In June 2003, Jerry decided to create a corporation GS Investment Strategies LLC and started selling shares for $500 a piece to his family members and friends. People who played it used the money to secure their kids’ education and grandkids’ future. By spring 2005, the corporation played 12 roll-downs and landed significant profits. However, that same year, the Michigan Lottery decided to end WinFall so Jerry had to find a new game. Fortunately, there was a brand new game in Massachusetts called Cash WinFall and the lottery adventure started all over again.
Ending With $26 Million in Prize Money
The whole thing lasted for the entire decade and this exclusive club with 25 members ended its run with $26 million won. The Boston Globe journalist got the tip that something weird was happening with Cash WinFall and he discovered not only Selbee’s group but also the group of MIT math students who did the same thing. In the 7 year period, the MIT group bet around $18 million and reportedly ended up with a profit of at least $3.5 million.
When the Boston Globe story hit the stands, it became a sensation. Of course, it raised questions and people were commenting that the game must be rigged so The Massachusetts State Treasurer started the investigation. The result of the investigation was that these groups found a completely legal way to win millions. Even more than that, the state was not harmed as it earned $120 million.
After this, the Cash WinFall ended so Jerry and Marge had to go back to retirement. They are enjoying their quiet life in Evart.
Jerry and Marge Hit The Screens
What Jerry and Marge did is something most people think happens only in movies. Till this day, Jerry is surprised no one else saw the loophole. However, their amazing lottery adventure is definitely worth being portrayed on screen and shown worldwide. Brad Copeland read this story in the newspapers and was inspired to create a script and Paramount+ decided to stream it on its platform.
It was definitely a good decision putting Hollywood veterans such as Annette Bening and Bryan Cranston at the helm of this cinematic creation, as both are famous for their impeccable dramatic and comedic timing. With these two acting masters taking the center stage in this dramedy, viewers can expect layered performance of the highest quality.
Behind the camera is another reputable name – David Frankel, director known for movies such as Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me. Wanting to stay true to the original story as much as possible, screenwriter Brad Copeland went and visited the real-life Jerry and Marge in their hometown of Evart, Michigan and met their family and friends. Bening and Carnston also spent the whole week with the couple, all in the attempt to portray them on the big screen as authentically as possible.
Feel-Good Lottery Winner Movie for All Generations
The Jerry & Marge Go Large movie makes it obvious that life doesn’t stop after you retire! There are so many wonderful things left for you to discover and experience even later in life! Like how to hack a lottery system and win millions! Main as well as the supporting cast bring leveled performances throughout the entire movie and elevate the whole experience to the next level. The smile will not leave your face while watching this movie and you will definitely get a healthy dose of positive energy as well as a more joyful outlook on life in general no matter what your age is at the moment.