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Mega Millions fever running high in Bakersfield ahead of record drawing

A Mega Millions jackpot estimation is seen at a Bakersfield, Calif., convenience store Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - There's a possibility Tuesday night that someone is going to win the biggest jackpot in lottery history. And chances are even better that it won't be you - unless you're the lucky one-in-302-million.

People in Bakersfield are flocking to Howard's Mini Mart on Belle Terrace, listed on the California Lottery website as one of Bakersfield's supposedly lucky stores for winning tickets.

Last year, Howard's Mini Mart paid out an average of $4,000 or more worth of winning tickets per week, according to the lottery website.

Bakersfield resident Tim Maples has gone to several stores to purchase lottery tickets and has spent more than $600 on this giant jackpot: estimated at $1.6 billion.

"You can't win if you don't play," Maples said.

Win or lose, businesses like Howard's Mini Mart are cashing in on the extra foot traffic. Store owner Justine Sort brought in a third employee to manage the long lottery ticket line Tuesday.

"It's been crazy," Sort said. "On Friday, we had three lines going, the parking lot was full. Everybody's buying $20, $10 worth, even $100 worth."

Patrick Serpa teaches math at Bakersfield College. He crunched the numbers to find the strategy behind picking the right ones.

Serpa said it's best not to play numbers that others might pick, and most people choose low numbers, between one and 10.

Statistics would say why bother. But even Serpa, the mathematician, said he bought a ticket.

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