The Odds of Being The Unluckiest Man in the World YouTube

How the world’s unluckiest man defied 12.7 undecillion odds in one lifetime


Frane Selak – named the world’s unluckiest man/luckiest man – cheated death on a staggering seven separate occasions, before winning more than $1 million on the lottery after buying his first-ever ticket.

Here at Mark Jarvis, we’ve calculated how likely it would be for the average person to survive each life-threatening event, and win the lottery on the first attempt, to reveal how many odds Selak defied in one lifetime.

We found Selak’s life read more like a blockbuster movie than the exploits of one unsuspecting teacher in Croatia, so we put together this video showing how the cinematic events unfurled.

Selak’s Seven Death-Defying Experiences:

1962: Selak’s train journey towards Dubrovnik took a turn when the train derailed and fell into a  river. Selak survived, beating the odds of 1.2%.

1963: A plane Selak was aboard crashed, with Selak blown out of a door at altitude. He landed in a haystack and survived, beating the odds of 44.4%.

1966: Selak’s bus careered into a ravine, yet he survived against odds of 21%.

1970: Selak’s petrol tank caught fire on the motorway, with him beating odds of 0.24% to survive the car fire.

1973: Selak’s car set alight for a second time after a faulty fuel pump sprayed petrol over the engine. He survived against odds of 0.24% with just singed hair. 

1995: A bus hit Selak in Zagreb, and despite the odds of 85%, he survived the collision.

1996: Selak avoided a head-on collision with a truck and survived his car crashing through the roadside barriers, beating the odds of 85%.

Our research found that the odds of experiencing and surviving all seven calamities is one in 72 octillion (that’s 29 digits), which swells to 12.7 undecillion (38 digits) with his lottery win taken into account.

By comparison, the odds of winning the UK lottery on the first try are one in 176 million.

What are the Odds of Winning an International Lottery?

Selak’s ‘Unluckiest Man/Luckiest Man’ story has inspired us to think about the lotteries on offer at Mark Jarvis, so if you think your luck is in after hearing this once in a generation story, then why not try your luck at one of these international lotteries. Using our fantastic lottery system, you can play any lottery and win in the UK.

Lottery Name Odds of winning jackpot (1 in…) Cost (£)
El Nino 100,000 4.99
El Gordo Primitiva 100,000 4.99
El Gordo de Verano 100,000 4.99
Mini Lotto 850,668 0.45
German Keno 2,147,181 1
KeNow 2,147,181 1
Austrian Lotto 8,145,060 1.5
Keno 24/7 8,911,711 1
Irish Lotto 10,737,573 2
Polish Lotto 13,933,816 0.75
Mark Six 13,983,186 1.5
1Million NOW 13,983,816 1
5Million NOW 13,983,816 2.5
French Lotto 19,068,840 2.2
Cash4Life 21,846,048 2.5
Quina 24,040,016 0.5
Mega-Sena 50,063,860 1.5
EuroJackpot 95,334,200 2
German Lotto 139,838,160 1.3
Powerball 292,201,338 3
MegaMillions 302,575,350 3
SuperEnalotto 622,614,630 2

Want to try your luck? Check out the Mark Jarvis Lottery Games.


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