Thousands scored cash prizes Friday in popular NC lottery game. Thank the Yellow Ball.

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N.C. Education Lottery

Holders of 4,357 tickets in Friday’s popular Pick 3 N.C. lottery drawings scored cash prizes totaling more than a half-million dollars, N.C. lottery officials said Saturday.

“Friday’s Pick 3 drawing guaranteed a Double Draw, and it paid off for players who held one of the winning tickets,” according to a lottery news release. “Congratulations to the thousands of winners. That’s a nice way to start the weekend.”

The two drawings combined paid out more than $550,000, officials said.

And more winners may be out there, according to the lottery.

Check your numbers closely because of the two sets of winning numbers, officials urged.

The odds of matching the balls in order is 1 in 1,000, according to the Pick 3 page on NCLottery.com.

In the first-chance drawing, 1,745 tickets matched the winning 4-5-8 combination and collectively earned $230,821, officials said.

The second-chance Double Draw paid a total of $332,142 to the holders of 2,612 tickets with the winning numbers 2-3-9, according to the release.

The maximum prize in Pick 3 is $500, according to the lottery website. The average prize for the 4,357 winners Friday night works out to $129.

Because the Yellow Ball was drawn, the Double Draw machine was reset, and Saturday night’s drawing will have six white balls and one yellow, officials said.

“The Double Draw is guaranteed to happen at least once a week and has already occurred four times this month,” according to the news release. “Will it happen two times in a row Saturday night?”