Encore lottery winner doesn't sleep for days after 'life-changing' jackpot: ‘I keep crying tears of pure joy’

Upon learning the news, Mahendren Krishnapillai first thought that his grandson was joking.

Man holding a $100,000 lottery cheque.
Mahendren Krishnapillai now plans on buying a house following his $100,000 prize. (Courtesy: OLG)

The excitement of winning an Encore jackpot kept a resident of Pickering, Ont., sleepless for days.

Mahendren Krishnapillai experienced a "life-changing moment" when he matched the last six of seven Encore numbers in exact order in the Dec. 1, 2023 Lotto Max draw. The 69-year-old grandfather was so excited about his $100,000 win that he couldn’t sleep for days.

“I kept staring at my ticket all day and night!” said Krishnapillai while at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto to pick up his winnings.

“It’s a life-changing moment. I keep crying tears of pure joy. It’s a blessing to win.”

Krishnapillai has been playing Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49 for 12 years, but this was his first big win. He was with his grandson when he decided to check his lottery ticket online. At first, he thought his grandson was joking and couldn’t believe he had won.

“I showed my grandson my ticket and he scanned it on his phone. When he told me I won, I said, ‘Get out of here!’ and thought he was joking,” said Krishnapillai.

“He laughed and said, ‘Grandpa, I’m not lying — $100,000!'”

The ticket was in fact real, and Krishnapillai now plans to purchase a house with his winnings.

The winning ticket was purchased at Ins Market on Bass Pro Mills Drive in Concord, Ont., where Krishnapillai decided to add Encore to his Lotto Max ticket. His lucky numbers were 88899109, where he matched the last six out of seven.

Lotto Max is $5 per play and draws take place every Tuesday and Friday. It gives players the option to select seven numbers from a field of 1 to 50. Alternatively, players can also opt for a quick pick where the system generates a randomized number for you. The objective is to match as many numbers as possible during the bi-weekly draws.

Krishnapillai's win happened thanks to the ENCORE system, which allows players to pay an extra $1 as a bonus game to attach to their already purchased ticket for a host game. It can be played in conjunction with most games, and there's an ENCORE draw everyday.

Lotto Max players in Ontario have won over $7.6 billion since 2009, including 96 jackpot wins and 843 Maxmillions prizes across the province.

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If you're looking to take a break from gambling, self-exclusion programs can be effective tools. See here for resources that are available across Canada.

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