Lucky Slip of a Pencil Leads to $178,197 Michigan Lottery Prize For Utica Woman

Mary Ellen Zielinski

Mary Ellen Zielinski, left, collects her The Jack prize at Michigan Lottery headquarters with her daughter, Denise, by her side.

A lucky slip of the pencil turned into a $178,197 Michigan Lottery prize for an avid Club Keno player from Utica.

Mary Ellen Zielinski said she meant to play The Kicker, but accidentally checked The Jack box on her playslip. “I was happy to win The Jack because I knew the jackpot starts at $10,000,” she said, adding that her excitement grew when she realized her prize was $178,197!

Zielinski still couldn’t believe her good fortune when she visited Lottery headquarters on Tuesday to claim her big prize: “I can’t believe this is happening. This can’t be happening.”

Zielinski bought her winning ticket at the M 59 Mart Inc., located at 45525 Van Dyke Ave. in Utica.

Zielinski plans to use her prize to go on a Disney Cruise with her six grandchildren and to help the older grandchildren with college expenses.

Zielinski, who has been playing the Lottery for 10 years, also has had some luck playing a special set of numbers: 05-14-23-39, her dog’s birthday and tag numbers. In fact, she won more than $700 with those numbers while playing Club Keno The Kicker.

The Jack is a Club Keno bonus game that players may add to their Club Keno wager for just $1 per draw. With The Jack players get eight easy pick numbers to match to the Club Keno numbers drawn. Players can win prizes ranging from $1 to the jackpot. The jackpot starts at $10,000 and grows until it is won. To win the jackpot, players must match all eight numbers.

Club Keno may be played at the 11,000 Michigan Lottery retailers across the state. Drawings are every three and a half minutes. Results and live drawings may be found online at

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