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2743 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Nov 2012 at 10:29 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:    more»

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What a lot of people don't understand about winning the lottery is that it really isn't all that hard as long as you understand one key element of the entire equation: it's math, not luck, that matters. Specifically, it's the extrapolatables. You have to understand how the extrapolatables work to really get a clear picture of your real chances and what a sound investment in your lottery strategy will be. See, it's popular in news media to quote a figure you may have heard before: each player has a 1 in 175,000,000 chance of winning. Which sounds, let's be frank, pretty bad. But that's just the raw data with no extrapolatables added to it!

So let's examine what this truly means. 1 in 175,000,000 means that every time you play the lottery, you've got to play 175,000,000 times before you win. Which gives a totally advantage to people who've been playing for a long time -- I mean, some guy who's been buying tickets for years versus you, when it's your first time? Why is that even allowed? It shouldn't be if they want a fair competition. So, to even the playing field, what you really want to do is assemble a team of people who've been playing the lottery for a long time. So, like, say you have five friends who are experienced lottery players:

Buford: has played a total of 43 times
Henrietta: has played 112 times
Artie: has played 89 times
Gomer: has played 1,122 times, but those are just scratch-offs so they only count half (561)
Lucinda: has played 321 times

Now, add up (extrapolate) the total plays you have on your team: 1687.

So, now your chances, including yours, would appear to be 1688 in 175,000,000. But extrapolate that again and you find that that it's really works down to about 1 in 103,672. A great improvement, I'd say! So now each member of your team only needs to buy that many tickets (103, 672) to have a virtually 100 percent chance of winning.

Yes, of course, that still represents a significant investment. Tickets cost \$2 each, so if you extrapolate that cost across each player, it works out to be a \$207,344 investment. But consider this: The jackpot, after taxes, will amount to about \$273 million. Divide that among your six team members, it's works out to \$45.5 million apiece. A \$45.5 million return on an initial investment of under a quarter million? Banks would salivate at the opportunity to loan on that sort of return. And you could of course decrease the initial investment by adding members to your team, although in the scenario described above it would be even a better idea to just dump Buford, who's kind of a jackass anyway, and replace him with someone who's been playing the lottery longer. Remember, in the end, it's not the *number* of people in your team that matters -- it's how many chances they've already used up. Always consider the extrapolatables, people. Always.
Who actually plays the lottery with a strategy to win? If you're doing that then you've got bigger issues than which numbers to play. Just do it for fun, to let yourself dream a little. That's what I'm paying for when I buy a ticket.
It makes perfect sense. People use those numbers more, meaning that if those numbers DO win, you'll have a greater chance of having to share. It doesn't have anything to do with the probability of winning at all.

The best chance is playing the same numbers every single drawing without fail. Still shiatty odds tho.

PROBABILITIES DO NOT WORK THAT WAY
You either win or you lose, so buy at least two tickets.

SurfaceTension: Who actually plays the lottery with a strategy to win? If you're doing that then you've got bigger issues than which numbers to play. Just do it for fun, to let yourself dream a little. That's what I'm paying for when I buy a ticket.

 1 vote:

havana_joe: editer: SweetMama: Actually, the tip is mathematically correct. It's about expected value. Sharing the award reduces the expected value. To maximize the expected value, you try to avoid sharing the award. Granted, it's not a very good strategy. But it's the only strategy. There isn't anything else. You can't improve your chance of winning, but you can increase your expected value. So the advice, while counter-intuitive, is technically correct.

FINALLY. It really took three pages for someone to bring up expected value? Nice work.

To expand/restate: A ticket with "popular" numbers such as the date of the drawing is worth less than one without, because if it wins you get less money.

Ummm... If it wins you get less money... Wouldn't you get more money since the ticket won? In other words, while you may need to split the winnings with other people the fact that the ticket won makes it more valuable than all the other tickets that lost. Does not matter if the numbers were popular or not- only 1 sequence out of 175,000,000 will win, making that ticket worth more than the other 174,999,999 tickets. Sequence 123,456,789 is worth just as much as sequence 146,246,790 if they both lose- both are worht \$0 regardless of the popularity of their numbers.

You're thinking about it after the results are known. Before the drawing, you don't know what the winning numbers are. In that case, all results have equal probability of occurring. By choosing "unpopular" numbers, you can increase the share of the pot you get if you do win.
 1 vote:

SweetMama: Actually, the tip is mathematically correct. It's about expected value. Sharing the award reduces the expected value. To maximize the expected value, you try to avoid sharing the award. Granted, it's not a very good strategy. But it's the only strategy. There isn't anything else. You can't improve your chance of winning, but you can increase your expected value. So the advice, while counter-intuitive, is technically correct.

FINALLY. It really took three pages for someone to bring up expected value? Nice work.

To expand/restate: A ticket with "popular" numbers such as the date of the drawing is worth less than one without, because if it wins you get less money.
 1 vote:
Pocket Ninja: 10/10

/Well done
//Can't believe how many bit
 1 vote:
Actually, the tip is mathematically correct. It's about expected value. Sharing the award reduces the expected value. To maximize the expected value, you try to avoid sharing the award. Granted, it's not a very good strategy. But it's the only strategy. There isn't anything else. You can't improve your chance of winning, but you can increase your expected value. So the advice, while counter-intuitive, is technically correct.
 1 vote:

sid244: ginko: My boss is collecting \$2 from us for the office pool so I'm getting a kick out of these replies.

Who plays stratagy? EP the numbers and let them ride. The idea is that you're not a part of half of the building that is left behind when the other half wins and quits. (\$2 is ok for my santiy of not cleaing up the mess left behind).

Make sure you get a copy of tickets.

We do, he's very straight forward and emails us the tickets in a PDF so we can check them at home. If I come in and no one else is my dept the next morning, I know I missed the numbers.
 1 vote:

zipdog: Tip #7: Don't play unless you can afford to pay the millions of dollars in taxes that will be levied against you.

Tip #7b: Do not ever take tax advice from zipdog.
 1 vote:
If I win. I'm going to dissappear for one year.
Talk only to my financial planner.
Enjoy a long vacation.
Come back and bulldoze my entire property.
Dig it out to bedrock and springs.
Build an underground home with bat cave garage doors, swimming pool, and indoor fireplace where I can burn whole logs and stack the fire with a fron end loader.

Put Mr. Bonestripper out back.
 1 vote:

Jon iz teh kewl: you'd have to print ahead of time, and SPECULATE the lotto drawing going up.
some people have that kind of vision, like bill gates

I'd laugh if someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet bought a ticket and managed to win it all.
 1 vote:

NeoCortex42: I don't get why everybody gets so excited about the giant jackpots and suddenly puts down tens or hundreds of dollars on tickets. Was \$40 or \$50 million not enough? Is it not worth the cost of a cup of coffee until it hits ludicrous speed?

I'll buy an occasional ticket. I figure I'd be fortunate to hit that million dollar second prize. A jackpot, regardless of size, would be plenty for me for life.

I wait until they go plaid

 1 vote:
I don't get why everybody gets so excited about the giant jackpots and suddenly puts down tens or hundreds of dollars on tickets. Was \$40 or \$50 million not enough? Is it not worth the cost of a cup of coffee until it hits ludicrous speed?

I'll buy an occasional ticket. I figure I'd be fortunate to hit that million dollar second prize. A jackpot, regardless of size, would be plenty for me for life.
 1 vote:

hugram: I once watched a TV show regarding a guy that would wait until the lottery jackpot would get so big, that he would buy every possible combination. He used a computer program to do this. One time, his computer had a glitch and he was only able to buy about 80% of all possible combos.

Lucky for him, the winning numbers were on the 80% combo.

Where was he playing? It would be impossible for one person to actually buy/print all the combinations to powerball in the time between drawings.
 1 vote:

NeoCortex42: if you play "special" sequences, like the Lost numbers or Fibonacci numbers, you're probably going to end up splitting with a ton of people.

At least I will be splitting with educated people, rather than run of the mill rednecks.
 1 vote:

reillan: If I won \$425 million, I would give \$424 million to charity.

Then, know what I'd do with the remaining million?

16,000 years of total fark?
 1 vote:

doczoidberg: I plan to buy a ticket with the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6, Powerball 7.

Are my odds of winning the same?

Your odds of winning are always the same no matter what valid numbers you pick. But the odds of sharing the jackpot with X number of people can change and thereby change the payout.
 1 vote:

doczoidberg: I plan to buy a ticket with the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6, Powerball 7.

Are my odds of winning the same?

No, the lottery numbers are insufficiently random. They use actual physical objects with numbers painted on. The weights are different so some balls are favored over others. Single digit balls are the worst.
 1 vote:
Came here looking for someone calling out the submitter. I'm a little disappointed in you all. Obviously picking the winning numbers is the right choice, you only need to buy one ticket after all, and if the winning numbers are 3,7,11,1,31 then that's what you should pick.

So... let's say for a moment that you don't know what the winning numbers are. Then you're stuck guessing like a rube. You could guess 3,7,11,1,31 like every other shlub, and if those are the winning numbers than good on you, but 2,4,22,16,41 are just as likely to win and if that's what you guess and that's what comes up then you get more money. The article assumes that you can figure this out.
 1 vote:
Ive noticed that being old helps a lot...and when it comes to the Powerball lotto theres something about Michigan too.
 1 vote:
This just in, ABC News is reporting that 3, 7 and 11 are no longer numbers under 31.
 1 vote:

zipdog: Tip #7: Don't play unless you can afford to pay the millions of dollars in taxes that will be levied against you.

That's funny... but that's also how many tea baggers think...

"Why should I make more money? My taxes will increase anyway."

They sure are a bright bunch.
 1 vote:

Billy Bathsalt: I tried to play my lucky numbers 7,7,7,7,7 and powerball 7, but the evil lottery lady refused to sell me the ticket. Fascists.

duh. you only played 5 7's your supposed to pick 6
 1 vote:
If I win FREE TF FOR EVERYONE FOREVER!

/anyone here work for the lottery commission???
 1 vote:
The article also says
"However, the more people buy tickets, the worse a person's chances get."
Ummm...

Also, Pocket Ninja, I'm not a math whiz but it doesn't work that way. Your odds of matching the numbers are 1 in 175,000,000 EVERY TIME YOU PLAY, whether you play once or 100,000 times. The only way to bring that statistic down is to play different numbers for the same drawing. play 2 different numbers on 2 tickets in one drawing and your odds are halfed. Play 2 different numbers on 2 tickets in 2 different drawings and the odds are still 1 in 175,000,000 each time.
 1 vote:

Makh: I'm no expert in picking random numbers but I'm pretty sure, 'stay away from picking numbers' is a pretty fail strategy.

I stand corrected.
 1 vote:
You have to win first to worry about sharing, and we all know how low the odds of that are.

Really, you're buying some entertainment in the form of daydreaming. Why not skip the part where you actually buy the ticket go right to the part where you daydream about winning the lottery.
 1 vote:
Pretty sure there's no strategy in picking random numbers.

/Would take sharing a half billion \$ vs sharing zero \$.
 1 vote:
The only "strategy" I employ on the few occasions when I buy a ticket is for the benefit of my sanity: always autopick and never re-use set numbers. That way, when those set numbers come up two drawings after you decided to stop wasting your money, you won't have the urge to slash your wrists.
 1 vote:
Author wants to steer people away from his numbers so he doesn't have to share if he wins.
 1 vote:
Nearly half a billion - no wonder there is a global cash flow problem - most of the money is now in bank accounts earning interest that can never be spent fast enough..........
 1 vote:
That makes no logistical sense whatsoever.
 1 vote:
Because I'd hate to have to share \$425 million with even 10 people.

/people

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