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Can you afford to say no to the Mega Millions office pool?

The Mega Millions jackpot soared to an estimated $636 million on Tuesday, making it the second largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. KIRO Radio's Kim Shepard, Brandi Kruse, Libby Denkmann, and Ursula Reutin show off their tickets. (KIRO Radio)

The Mega Millions jackpot soared to an estimated $636 million on Tuesday, making it the second largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. Inevitably, hats will be passed around desks collecting for office pools. Can you afford to let it pass by?

The hosts of the The Tom and Curley Show disagree on this. John Curley says there’s such a small chance of winning, it’s not worth it. The chances of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 259 million. But Tom Tangney says while unlikely, he doesn’t want to be the odd man out should the office poolers win.

“I don’t want to be left out. I think there’s no chance of us winning, but on the off chance I’m wrong,” says Tom, “it’s called insurance.”

Tom says he’d be kicking himself if he didn’t chip in and other members of the office won. “Somebody actually came up to me and said ‘Tom, here’s a chance to win $100 million and I didn’t.'”

“But you’re given that chance by going to the local supermarket,” says co-host John Curley.

“I would never do that [buy a ticket himself] because that is stupid,” says Tom, who doesn’t normally buy tickets on his own.

KIRO News Anchor Ursula Reutin, who is managing collections for the KIRO pool, says she does it for a whole other reason: it’s just fun.

“We’re not going to win,” says Ursula. “But you know what, it is still that fun from here until we find out tonight. And we can talk about tomorrow morning how we all have to share 96 cents. I mean it’s just the fun. It costs us a dollar.”

Ursula says there was no shortage of folks in the KIRO newsroom who wanted to participate.

“In my effort to impose forced fun on everybody, I merely said, ‘Oh wow look the jackpot is now $636 million.’ I said this as I was writing my last newscast. I just threw it out in the newsroom, ‘Hey anyone interested in an office pool?’ Within seconds, people were coming up to me with $1 bills in hand. I’m up to $14.”

John stands firm that he will not be joining the office pool this time around. So should you tune in Wednesday, and hear John flying solo, it’ll be clear what happened.

If a winner isn’t selected either Tuesday night or for Friday’s drawing, the jackpot could hit $1 billion. Let’s see whether John will be able to stay out of that pot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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