Mamie Parker of West Baltimore bought two tickets Thursday afternoon — her first in years. With the winning ticket, she'd give to her church, she'd attempt to help the homeless and then she'd head out and buy every single person in her family a new home.

"You see the money building and you think, 'Hey! This is a good time to play,'" she said. "It could be my lucky day."

Workers at countless companies have banded together in ticket pools. "Let's face it," Everett said, "even in a big office pool, with this there's plenty to go around."

Corey Tinsley, 37, a data specialist working for the state, is in four office pools. And just to be on the safe side, he bought more tickets Thursday just for himself.

"It's a chance to be a millionaire," he said.

Who isn't trying for those magic, life-changing numbers? Even those who supposedly have the power to know such things are having a tough time conjuring those six elusive numbers.

Over at Psychic Insight by Sabrina on East Belvedere Avenue in Baltimore, the psychic of the house only wished she could do it. She played Mega Millions earlier this week and her ticket was just as much a dud as the rest of ours.

"I'm not able to see the numbers," she said. "But I got three out of six."

By the numbers

Estimated jackpot: $540 million

Estimated cash payout: $389 million

Estimated payout after taxes: $259 million

Amount spent on tickets in Maryland as of Thursday afternoon: $1,147,847

Odds of winning: 176 million-to-1

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