This Virginia Beach woman played this game for the first time and won — big time

Maria Imperial (Southside Daily/Courtesy of the Virginia Lottery)
Maria Imperial (Southside Daily/Courtesy of the Virginia Lottery)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Talk about beginner’s luck.

Maria Imperial said she wanted to try something different for her birthday. So she played the Virginia Lottery’s Cash 5 game for the first time and won the top prize.

The woman matched all five winning numbers in the April 1 night drawing.

She bought the winning ticket at the 7-Eleven at 3673 Virginia Beach Blvd. She used Easy Pick and allowed the computer to randomly select the numbers on her ticket: 7-18-19-24-34, lottery officials said.

Imperial said she has no immediate plans for her winnings except to pay bills and possibly renovate her kitchen.

Cash 5 drawings are held daily at 1:59 p.m. and 11 p.m. The odds of winning the $100,000 top prize are 1 in 278,256, lottery officials said.

Imperial lives in Virginia Beach, which received nearly $32.8 million in Lottery funds for K-12 education last fiscal year.

For more information and a complete list of Lottery funds distributed to Virginia school districts, visit the Virginia Lottery’s Giving Back page.

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.