He's the first $100,000 keno winner Real estate agent amazed but happy at 'shot in the arm' BALTIMORE COUNTY

September 30, 1993|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

After nearly nine months and some $143 million in bets, the Maryland Lottery announced its first $100,000 Keno winner yesterday -- a real estate salesman from Timonium who was amazed that no one had done it before.

"I very, very much needed this money," said 41-year-old Michael L. Griffee, who had to borrow his daughter's old car to claim the prize and now plans to shop for his own. "This is a tremendous financial shot in the arm."

Mr. Griffee, a sales agent for Long & Foster Realtors in Hunt Valley, said he had been playing the game about five months -- a few dollars, once or twice a week during lunch -- and enjoyed modest successes, including several $50 payoffs.

In keno, bettors choose from numbers between 1 and 80 -- and the odds and size of the prize depend on how many numbers they bet, as many as 10 or as few as one.

In trying to pick 10 numbers, to win the top prize, Mr. Griffee overcame odds of 8,911,711 to 1.

"What I found out in just talking to people, most people don't even play 10 digits -- they don't even try," Mr. Griffee said.

"If you play three digits to win $25, that's what you win."

Initially, Mr. Griffee said, he was playing the "6 Spot" game, betting on six numbers derived from the birthdays and ages of two children, a sister, his 69-year-old parents and himself.

More recently, he used the same numbers to play the richer "nine-spot" game with a top prize of $25,000 -- until his mother turned 70 last month, giving him a 10th number to shoot for.

Mr. Griffee said he was having lunch with a friend at the Ashland Cafe in Hunt Valley when he played the game Tuesday and saw all of his numbers (01-12-19- 21-22-25-40-45-69-70) appear on the video screen.

Others who were in the cafe may disagree, he said, but "I was amazed at how calm and collected I was."

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