Bob and James Stocklas: Two Brothers, Two Very Different Powerball Prizes

Sometimes, life has a cruel sense of humour. It can cause something to happen that may be hysterical to the masses but is a real sore point for the person it is happening to. This is precisely how Bob Stocklas must have felt when he became a US Powerball winner—we’ll explain why later on. On the flip side, you have some people who have all the luck and just seem to be able to strike it rich. One person that fits this bill is Bob’s brother, James. Any guesses where this is heading?


Bob and James Stocklas are brothers that live near one another in Pennsylvania. James, a district judge for over 30 years, and his brother Bob, whose occupation is unknown, decided one day to go on a fishing trip to Florida. The duo thought that they could use the time to bond and relax while doing something that they both loved to do, so they spent an entire month in Florida Keys fishing and relaxing. On the way home, however, they stopped at a Tom Thumb store to purchase some ice. Being avid lottery players, they also bought some lottery tickets for the upcoming US Powerball draw. Bob bought his tickets, and then James—who was in a long-term lottery pool with two of his friends—purchased his.


Powerball Brothers Bob and James StocklasThe two unknowing lottery winners continued on their way home and carried on life as usual. Shortly after the Powerball draw, which took place on March 4, 2016, James went out for breakfast to a local diner with one of the friends that he was in the lottery pool with, Anna. James decided that while they were together it would be an excellent time to check whether their combined lottery efforts had come to fruition, and so he pulled out his smartphone and checked the results.

To his disbelief, the last of the five lines on his ticket had the numbers 12, 13, 44, 52, 62, and the Powerball number 6—the exact same numbers as those that were drawn. This meant that James had won a whopping $291 million! James (and Anna) immediately began jumping around, shouting, and celebrating their massive win. As a gesture of kindness to everyone who shared the moment with them, James and Anna paid for the breakfast of everyone that was in the diner.


Lottery Winners Stocklas Brothers Private JetJames quickly contacted a friend, who happened to own a private jet, and asked if he would fly him to Florida in order to claim his prize. His friend agreed—for a hefty price of $20,000—and James, Anna, his brother Bob, and his other lottery pool friend Barry all flew to Florida to claim the jackpot. Upon arriving in Florida, Bob announced that he was also a winner but that his win was substantially less. In fact, it was only $7. The lottery office in Florida thought that two brothers winning on the same lottery was a great story and even organized photoshoots of the brothers claiming their prizes together.

James, aged 67 at the time, choose to receive the payout in a lump sum and ended up with $191,470,307.58. Bob, however, was allowed to keep his full winnings of $7—what a lucky guy!


Because James purchased the lottery ticket as part of a lottery pool, the winnings were split between him, Anna, and Barry. Each of them landed up with around $40 million after all taxes had been deducted—a respectable amount indeed. James then stated that he would use his money to help his family live a better life. He immediately purchased a handicapped-accessible home for his blind and disabled son, Jimmy.

Thankfully, unlike some siblings who are estranged, James and Bob had a great relationship, and so James also ensured that his brother Bob would be taken care of and would never have to worry about money again.


The fact that the two brothers happened to win the same lottery, fuelled by the fact that there was such a vast difference between the two winning amounts, instantly rocketed the duo to Internet stardom. Numerous memes that featured the brothers were spawned, and people still speak about the brothers in a joking manner today whenever two people’s lottery wins result in significantly different outcomes.

James, when asked about whether he would retire now that he had a fortune, responded that he would be back on the bench without a doubt. He openly stated that he loved his job and had no desire to give it up just because he could afford to.


While some families have siblings that battle to get along for the duration of a Christmas dinner, James and Bob were fortunate enough that they loved spending time together. The two got to share the joy (and the cash) of a huge lottery win and, even though Bob could have easily become bitter due to his unfortunate luck, the two are closer now than ever before. So if you have a sibling out there somewhere that you have not spoken to in a while, it may be a good idea to reach out and see how he or she is doing—especially if they regularly play the lottery!

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