How is the PCH SuperPrize Winner Selected?

The PCH SuperPrize winner will be announced in just a few days and some folks are wondering how the winner is selected.

The PCH SuperPrize winner will be announced in just a few days and some folks are wondering how the winner is selected.

I’m Maryann Carter, Manager of the Publishers Clearing House Contest Department. You may recognize my name from some of the PCH Bulletins. I’m responsible for overseeing contest planning, processing and integrity, including the coordination of all sweepstakes drawings and prize awards. My staff is a specially trained group that registers the sweepstakes, keeps track of all the giveaway details, writes the Official Rules, issues processing instructions and makes sure the winners receive their prize awards in a timely fashion.

This past week has been incredibly busy for us because of all the winner selections going on. With random drawings for the 211 “Short List” DMA contest and an online-only $10,000 prize in Giveaway 1804, plus the Matching Winning Number Sneak Peek for Giveaway 1830, and a Matching Winning Number drawing for Giveaway 1831, 214 winners were selected!

In a random drawing, such as the 211 Short List and online-only $10,000 prize, the computer randomly selects a winner from among all eligible entries. Matching Winning Number drawings have a different winner selection process.

In preparation for a Matching Winning Number drawing such as the recent Sneak Peek for $1 Million A Year For Life, the Contest Department compiles the total participating universe of numbers for the giveaway and defines the eligible SuperPrize Number range for the Sneak Peek event, as well as all other promotional entry information pertaining to the giveaway. This information is distributed to an independent auditor, the PCH Board of Officials, our internal control department, prize award underwriters and the contest programmers in our PCH IT Department. This information is then loaded into the mainframe computer to run PCH’s Winning Number Generator Program. Once a winning number is randomly selected from the participating universe, we check to see if it’s from the Sneak Peek eligible range and if an eligible matching winning number was returned. If so, then we have a winner of the big SuperPrize! If not, then we go to a second chance random drawing to select a winner of a base prize, as advertised. In the case of this Giveaway 1830 drawing, a base prize of $1 Million was advertised.

Everyone involved in the prize drawings works very hard to ensure accuracy and security in how the winner is selected. Records are double- and triple-checked by many sets of eyes. When a PCH SuperPrize winner is finally determined, we all smile, because we know some lucky person’s life is about to be changed!

I’ve been in the PCH Contest Department for 16 years and I really enjoy my job. Even though it’s a lot of work, I still get a thrill every time I see the excitement on a new winner’s face when surprised by the Prize Patrol. My team and I know that we helped, from behind the scenes, to contribute to the happiness in each winning moment. With over $225 Million in prizes awarded since the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes began in 1967, that’s a lot of happiness!

Good luck to all of our PCH Blog readers and sweepstakes entrants!

Maryann Carter

Manager, PCH Contest Department

Leave a Reply


  1. Nevermind, after re-reading the blog it does indeed look like there is a chance for me and all those who entered before the 2-15 deadline to win the SuperPrize Sneak peak for #1830 .
    “So you are saying there’s a chance!?!”

    1. Hi Dana,

      Each Giveaway has an official end date. For example, Giveaway 1400 will officially end on 02/29/12. We will try to award this prize at an earlier date through Sneek Peek Events or Special Early Look draws.

      As for Giveaway 1830, this is a Special Early Look event for February 28 that is taking place. However, the official end date is 02/28/15.

      Addison @ PCH

  2. Thank you, Maryann! It is really amazing all that goes on to select the winner. Every procedure is so involved and it is comforting to know that actual ‘human’ eyes check and double and triple check for accuracy. The outside world has no idea of all that is involved. Again, Thank you for taking the time to enlighten us all on the internal and complex workings of the selection process. It was very kind of you to take the time. I’m sure that is not part of the job requirement.. ;D I can only hope and pray that I get a piece of the pie.. DVP

  3. So if I didnt receive a letter 🙁 I could still be the Big winner if one of my SuperPrize Number matches the one that is drawn?

    1. Hey Dana,

      If you didn’t receive a letter for Gwy 1670 indicating you’ve won at least $1,000, then not to worry! You are still eligible to be the winner of Gwy 1830 – $1 Million A Year For Life.

      Best of luck!
      Alanna @ PCH

    2. OK, let me ask a few questions here? How come you always see them pull up to a home, never an apartment building? What do you do if no one is home? What real chance is there for an average person to win anything? Should I call the guy on the Today Show (Rossen Report) to have this explained further?. I entered contests for over a year, got plenty of ‘someone in your zip or area code is going to win’. Real or just a come-on? I kept them all in a folder. Lets hear the truth here? Miss Julie, Largo, FL

  4. The responses from the 2/23 blog says only 210 were sent for a $1000 win. What happened to the 211th letter, did it not go out? Is that the person that could win the million for life or does all 211 have a equal chance of winning even though the received $1000 letters?

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      The list includes the 210 people that won $1,000 from the Local Awards Giveway #1670. So the short list includes the Local Award winners plus the Million dollar winner which makes it 211 people on the list. The letter does not say who won the grand prize though. On February 28th, one person on this list of 211 will receive a surprise visit from the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol, with the good news that he or she is the $1 Million SuperPrize winner. This announcement will be broadcast during the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Hope this helps!

      Rod @ PCH