The Story Behind Jerry and Marge Go Large

Jacob Rebb

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When Jerry Selbee met his high school sweetheart, Marge, he never could have imagined that they would become multi-millionaires in their later years, but that is precisely what happened to the two. The true story of Jerry and Marge Selbee is one to remember as the retired couple found a loophole most other people would never have seen in a lottery game called WinFall.

Let’s dig into the true story of Jerry and Marge Selbee.

Simple Math

The pair were living in a modest home located in Evart, Michigan. It was 2003, and Jerry, who was out running errands, saw a new lotto game called WinFall. This lotto game was much different than the others, like MegaMoney or Powerball. In this game, if the top prize of $5 million was reached with no grand prize winner, the prize money would roll down to contestants with fewer matching numbers. Jerry, who had a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, ran the numbers in his head and knew that if he had enough tickets, he would be able to collect the lesser prizes. 

“I did not have to be lucky to win. I had to be unlucky to lose.” Jerry told 60 Minutes. Jerry knew that he had a one in 56 chance to win a three-number ticket and one in 1,032 chance to win the four-number draw. These are much better odds than some of the other games out there, like Mega Millions, which has a one in 302,575,350 chance of winning. 

Jerry began to secretly siphon off his retirement funds so he could purchase the amount of tickets needed to ensure a winning draw. Jerry’s next ticket purchase would total $15,000, so he knew it was time to tell his wife what he had been up to.

Time to Win

Jerry Selbee had always been honest with his wife. So, he knew it was time to tell her what he had been doing in his free time — standing at a convenience store counter printing hundreds of lotto tickets worth thousands of dollars. Marge had always trusted her husband, so to his surprise, she was immediately on board. 

For Marge, it wasn’t about winning. “It was not about what he would buy, it’s about the joy of winning, of playing the game, of being involved,” she told 60 Minutes. By the time Jerry spilled his secret to his wife, he had already netted $16,000. Now that she was totally on board, it was time to really start winning.

Jerry and Marge started to win so much that they set up a corporation so family and friends could get involved in their new business venture (GS Investment Strategies LLC). They sold shares of their corporation and split the winnings between company investors.

Going National

Jerry and Marge had been dominating the Michigan State lottery. So much so that they began to draw the attention of lottery investigators. Since Jerry and Marge were doing nothing illegal, the Michigan State Lotto could do nothing except close the loophole. Around this time, Jerry had found a similar game in Massachusetts, so they packed up their car and headed to Massachusetts.

Jerry and/or Marge would spend hours at convenience stores in Michigan and Massachusetts since printing thousands of dollars worth of tickets would literally take a whole day. Jerry would start when the store opened and would stop at dinner time. This was his new life, and he loved it.

Both states would eventually shut down this game by 2012, ending the incredible run of GS Investment Strategies LLC (Jerry and Marge). By the time both lottery games were shut down, the pair had netted an incredible $26 million for themselves, their family, and friends.

Hollywood Comes Calling

The story of Jerry and Marge was initially covered by the Huffington Post in 2018. Named the “Lottery Hackers” by the Huffington Post, the story went viral. The rights to their story had as many as 17 bidders. It was such an incredible story that screenwriter Brad Copeland turned it into a script, which was picked up and turned into a movie. 

Starring A-listers Bryan Cranston as Jerry and Annette Bening as Marge, the two put on a masterpiece of a performance, really nailing the hometown feel that the real Jerry and Marge exude. 

Where are they now?

Even after winning millions of dollars, the lives of Jerry and Marge Selbee changed very little. They used most of their winnings to pay for their children’s and grandchildren’s educations and futures. They loaned money to builders in their hometown to help reinvigorate their community. Other than that, they lived normal lives. 

When the lottery games that netted them a fortune were shut down in 2012, Jerry tried to find other loopholes but to no avail. So, instead of wasting money on finding new games that would lose, Jerry went back to enjoying his golden years. 

According to TheCineamaholic.com, who touched base with the couple in June of 2022, when their movie was added to Paramount+, Jerry, and Marge still go to breakfast together every day. Jerry enjoys playing poker with his friends, while Marge enjoys a quiet life out of the public spotlight.