St. John’s — In the last year, Newfoundlanders spent $85 million on pull-tab tickets, according to the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. With the province’s love-affair with the pull-tab, one man’s passion exceeded that of all others, gaining him the respect of gamblers across the land.
Wally Fowler, 68, said he retired a decade ago to take his pull-tab hobby to the next level. “Never dreamed it’d serve me so well,” he said. “Won almost a million bucks over the years with just them pull-tab tickets. Course, I spent near two million, but that’s neither here nor there. People started callin’ me the oracle, askin’ me my secrets. I’m no prophet or nothin’ but by god I loves the tab.”
Fowler’s followers now number in the hundreds, and he said he always gives the same advice to these gamblers seeking guidance.
“First, ya gotta get up early and get to the store when she opens,” he explained, “else there’ll be a lineup and all the good tabs might get snatched up. If there’s someone in the store buyin’ milk or somethin’, make sure you sneak up in front of them before they can make their purchase.
“Next,” he went on, “start chattin’ and sweet-talkin’ the cashier. Ways I sees it is you won’t get nowhere if they hate ya and try ta gives ya the bum’s rush. And you never know — they might keep the best tabs in the back somewhere and hand ’em over to you right away.”
Fowler also suggests people buy one of each type of pull-tab sold in a store; if any of those prove to be winners, he believes buying more of that particular type is advisable. He also suggests forgoing groceries and necessities such as fresh produce and toiletries in favour of more pull-tabs.
“Some tickets have cherries, bananas, other fruits behind the pull-tab — there’s yer groceries!”