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3309 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Jul 2022 at 1:50 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:

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Still, there's an element of luck

Is there?  Really?

Many lottery games can be... uh... gamed, depending on how they are designed. Even though there is still a large  element of luck, you can maximize your odds. And even if you lose an individual game or two, over repeated play your return will be expected to be positive. As this winner says in TFA:

"We figure out which scratch-off games have been on sale for a long time but still have a lot of big-money prizes,"

And in some cases, the design of the lottery makes it possible to guarantee a positive return every time you play. This was the case with Jerry Selbee, who found the legal loophole in one specific game: see Jerry Selbee: I Cracked the Lottery and Won \$26 Million (lottoanalyst.com) His story is now a movie starring Ben Cranston.

Lotteries - as with all firms of gambling - are a math problem.  The trick is having the knowledge to figure out the equation and the variables necessary to solve it.

The lottery jackpot this Tuesday here is £185 million. That would be like winning \$750 million US. I might buy a ticket.

thecactusman17: Lotteries - as with all firms of gambling - are a math problem.  The trick is having the knowledge to figure out the equation and the variables necessary to solve it.

This is certainly true for games with relatively* low prizes, like most scratch-offs. However, a different "equation" applies to the mega-prizes, because at the limits of low and high the "marginal value" or utility of money is non-linear. What does that mean?

Suppose you can afford \$8 to \$10 a month playing the Megamillions game without it putting a dent in your lifestyle. If you're middle class, that's the kind of money you routinely overspend in the form of not collecting store coupons, driving less efficiently than you might, paying for a subscription you don't really use**, and so on. Clearly, you don't notice it enough to care. So the "marginal cost" of playing the game is, in effect, zero dollars.

Now suppose that, against massive odds, you win. The current Megamillions jackpot is \$370M, but it doesn't even need to be that high. If I won that prize, the actual number would not matter: it would be so much money that I would never think about money again. Ever. So the "marginal value" of winning the game is, in effect, infinite dollars.

So that's the "effective" equation for a megagame: a cost too small to notice vs. a win so large the number doesn't matter; or zero to infinity.

Of course, none of this applies if the \$10 for tickets does actually matter to your standard of living.

By the way, some Farkers will respond to this by telling me am bad at maths because they don't understand the argument. For the record I have a Bachelor's from Cambridge University where I studied Maths.

*"relative" to the player's wealth and income.
**Or gym membership, for many of us

thecactusman17: Lotteries - as with all firms of gambling - are a math problem.  The trick is having the knowledge to figure out the equation and the variables necessary to solve it.

The other thing that's fascinating about Fark is that most people here are happy to accept that people losing money in Vegas are having fun, and the losses are just the price of playing; if you happen to win, that's a bonus. However, people losing money on a lottery ticket are fools who are bad at maths. I've never understood that attitude other than as a form of snobbery.

Remember the McDonald's Monopoly game scam?  You could only get Park Place on one coast and Boardwalk on the other coast.

Strategy schmategy. She's very lucky.

Scratch offs take too long.  Just buy the scratch off and have the clerk scan the bar code.  Scratching is 100% voluntary.

I hate going to the gas station or convenience store in the morning for a pack of smokes and a chocolate milk and some dickbag is playing scratch a mania like it's their own private casino.

scotchcrotch: Scratch offs take too long.  Just buy the scratch off and have the clerk scan the bar code.  Scratching is 100% voluntary.

The people who purchase these things are stupid.  I've been stuck in a line up behind one of these fools who has just bought \$200 worth and insists on scratching them off there and then holding up the line

That's why I avoid convenience stores like the plague and pay for fuel at the pump.

"We figure out which scratch-off games have been on sale for a long time but still have a lot of big-money prizes,"

There are quite a few websites that post what prizes are still out there.

I HAVE A SYSTEM!!!

It's called losing. But it's still a system.

Jake Havechek: Remember the McDonald's Monopoly game scam?  You could only get Park Place on one coast and Boardwalk on the other coast.

Remember the Olympic promotions?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald%27s_1984_Olympics_promotion

To anyone reading this, if you win the Powerball, please Google up the name Jack Whittaker, and do the exact opposite of what he did.

You're welcome.

Why is it you never hear about anybody fooling around with a Ouija board asking for the winning lottery numbers?

Is the strategy not admitting to how many losing tickets you bought?

"I landed quite a few standard deviations to the left by pure chance, so here is my strategy where you too can reap the rewards of pure chance."

As for the prize money, the lucky woman says she's putting it all in the bank for her children.

If she keeps winning like that, she may be able to send one of those kids to college some day.

Why is a link like this in Main?  It belongs in STEM

Ways to win the lottery:

•  Find a particularly badly designed scratch lottery system
•  Be the programmer who writes the RNG system used for drawing the numbers

I don't believe in luck or a system when it comes to the lottery but some people have an uncanny knack for it.  I used to work with this old lady and she played scratchers and the daily numbers like mad.  She'd say, "I'll be right back, I have to get my rent money", and she'd come back with \$500 or more scratch ticket winner.  She usually broke even with the daily numbers though.

In the 40 years my state has had the lottery, I can probably count less than 10 times I've played
the lottery.  When coworkers get an "office pool" together, I toss in a buck.  Never bought a
scratch off ticket either.  Gambling just isn't my thing.
Don't care if you like it...just isn't my thing.

We figure out which scratch-off games have been on sale for a long time but still have a lot of big-money prizes

I guess you could say that's a crude form of card counting. Given that she's won several times perhaps there's something to it. Perhaps.

You can't change the odds, but you can change your expectations. Using psychology you can reduce your chances of sharing a big win.

downstairs: Still, there's an element of luck

Is there?  Really?

Yeah, luck is the only element there is. And chances are that even with three wins she has probably not broken even yet

HugeMistake: **Or gym membership, for many of us

heh! Dude, you had me going for most of that and I actually stated to buy in to what you were saying until I read the part about gym memberships for most of us. LOL. Gym memberships for many of the Farkers here? Really? Ha! Gym memberships!

If sedentary fat slob assholes could fly, this place would be an airport!

I would like to continue on, but have to be at, uh, someplace in 26 minutes.

HugeMistake: Many lottery games can be... uh... gamed, depending on how they are designed. Even though there is still a large  element of luck, you can maximize your odds. And even if you lose an individual game or two, over repeated play your return will be expected to be positive. As this winner says in TFA:

"We figure out which scratch-off games have been on sale for a long time but still have a lot of big-money prizes,"

And in some cases, the design of the lottery makes it possible to guarantee a positive return every time you play. This was the case with Jerry Selbee, who found the legal loophole in one specific game: see Jerry Selbee: I Cracked the Lottery and Won \$26 Million (lottoanalyst.com) His story is now a movie starring Ben Cranston.

Carter Pewterschmidt: The lottery jackpot this Tuesday here is £185 million. That would be like winning \$750 million US. I might buy a ticket.

£185,000,000
=
\$223,000,000

HugeMistake: thecactusman17: Lotteries - as with all firms of gambling - are a math problem.  The trick is having the knowledge to figure out the equation and the variables necessary to solve it.

This is certainly true for games with relatively* low prizes, like most scratch-offs. However, a different "equation" applies to the mega-prizes, because at the limits of low and high the "marginal value" or utility of money is non-linear. What does that mean?

Suppose you can afford \$8 to \$10 a month playing the Megamillions game without it putting a dent in your lifestyle. If you're middle class, that's the kind of money you routinely overspend in the form of not collecting store coupons, driving less efficiently than you might, paying for a subscription you don't really use**, and so on. Clearly, you don't notice it enough to care. So the "marginal cost" of playing the game is, in effect, zero dollars.

Now suppose that, against massive odds, you win. The current Megamillions jackpot is \$370M, but it doesn't even need to be that high. If I won that prize, the actual number would not matter: it would be so much money that I would never think about money again. Ever. So the "marginal value" of winning the game is, in effect, infinite dollars.

So that's the "effective" equation for a megagame: a cost too small to notice vs. a win so large the number doesn't matter; or zero to infinity.

Of course, none of this applies if the \$10 for tickets does actually matter to your standard of living.

By the way, some Farkers will respond to this by telling me am bad at maths because they don't understand the argument. For the record I have a Bachelor's from Cambridge University where I studied Maths.

*"relative" to the player's wealth and income.
**Or gym membership, for many of us

Suppose I play and lose. I have expended no meaningful money, but tiny amount has been added to some other bastard's winnings, and to the advertising budget of the gambling company. Both things actively work against the public critically thinking about the odds of winning. I've slightly increased this tarnish on society to no gain of my own.

Carter Pewterschmidt: The lottery jackpot this Tuesday here is £185 million. That would be like winning \$750 million US. I might buy a ticket.

These are scratchers

AAAAGGGGHHHH: To anyone reading this, if you win the Powerball, please Google up the name Jack Whittaker, and do the exact opposite of what he did.

You're welcome.

Hey he was a fark legend, I remember when every screw up he did was a fark story.
There were a couple good shows about lottery winners, one was How the Lottery Changed my Life and it showed winners and what they did with the money. Some you could just tell were going to go broke. The other was Curse of the Lottery which just showed the shiat show people's lives became after winning.

HugeMistake: Many lottery games can be... uh... gamed, depending on how they are designed. Even though there is still a large  element of luck, you can maximize your odds. And even if you lose an individual game or two, over repeated play your return will be expected to be positive. As this winner says in TFA:

"We figure out which scratch-off games have been on sale for a long time but still have a lot of big-money prizes,"

And in some cases, the design of the lottery makes it possible to guarantee a positive return every time you play. This was the case with Jerry Selbee, who found the legal loophole in one specific game: see Jerry Selbee: I Cracked the Lottery and Won \$26 Million (lottoanalyst.com) His story is now a movie starring Ben Cranston.

I mean, IF you are going to play, doing that research (all lottery state websites have the info on tickets out and prizes redeemed on every scratch game).   Play the ones with the most % of prizes to tickets still outstanding.

Well, speaking of Maryland scratch-off tickets, many years ago there was a concern (passing, I hope) that it was not good if there was too long a stretch of sequential non-winning tickets. Lotteries began to demand games be programmed with a limit on losing streaks.

They would pick a streak length that was just too short.

There was a specific Maryland game where one in every 17 tickets was a winner. I don't speak of overall odds, I mean that if ticket 10 in the book was a winner, so was ticket 27, and ticket 44, etc.

This was not a good idea, but it was the only way to meet the Lottery's demands.

/ I have sold many hundreds of millions of lottery tickets.
// I have since gone into more honest lines of work.

HugeMistake: thecactusman17: Lotteries - as with all firms of gambling - are a math problem.  The trick is having the knowledge to figure out the equation and the variables necessary to solve it.

The other thing that's fascinating about Fark is that most people here are happy to accept that people losing money in Vegas are having fun, and the losses are just the price of playing; if you happen to win, that's a bonus. However, people losing money on a lottery ticket are fools who are bad at maths. I've never understood that attitude other than as a form of snobbery.

Playing the lottery is akin to keno or slots, Playing table games is a much different experience

iambichop: Carter Pewterschmidt: The lottery jackpot this Tuesday here is £185 million. That would be like winning \$750 million US. I might buy a ticket.

£185,000,000
=
\$223,000,000

\$500 million off?  That's close by Carter's standards...

Day_Old_Dutchie: scotchcrotch: Scratch offs take too long.  Just buy the scratch off and have the clerk scan the bar code.  Scratching is 100% voluntary.

The people who purchase these things are stupid.  I've been stuck in a line up behind one of these fools who has just bought \$200 worth and insists on scratching them off there and then holding up the line

That's why I avoid convenience stores like the plague and pay for fuel at the pump.

To polite to tell him to get the fark out of the way, eh?

Is that a rough 30 or a lousy image?

dletter: HugeMistake: Many lottery games can be... uh... gamed, depending on how they are designed. Even though there is still a large  element of luck, you can maximize your odds. And even if you lose an individual game or two, over repeated play your return will be expected to be positive. As this winner says in TFA:

"We figure out which scratch-off games have been on sale for a long time but still have a lot of big-money prizes,"

And in some cases, the design of the lottery makes it possible to guarantee a positive return every time you play. This was the case with Jerry Selbee, who found the legal loophole in one specific game: see Jerry Selbee: I Cracked the Lottery and Won \$26 Million (lottoanalyst.com) His story is now a movie starring Ben Cranston.

I mean, IF you are going to play, doing that research (all lottery state websites have the info on tickets out and prizes redeemed on every scratch game).   Play the ones with the most % of prizes to tickets still outstanding.

In Michigan they do not release the number of tickets outstanding (winners/losers).

They do list the date a game started the total number of winners (by prize amount) available at start and the total number of winners (by prize amount) still available.

This info could be helpful, but without knowing the total number of tickets (winners and losers) not super revelatory.

Might be different in for other states, but kinda doubt it.

Jake Havechek: Why is it you never hear about anybody fooling around with a Ouija board asking for the winning lottery numbers?

I was once offered a job as a psychic.

I'd be paid based on how long I could keep people online.

I turned it down though, since I have morals. Other wise I guess I'd be predicting lotto numbers, and talking with dead people for a living.

brantgoose: You can't change the odds, but you can change your expectations. Using psychology you can reduce your chances of sharing a big win.

You can calculate where you have better odds, as this lady did.

iambichop: Carter Pewterschmidt: The lottery jackpot this Tuesday here is £185 million. That would be like winning \$750 million US. I might buy a ticket.

£185,000,000
=
\$223,000,000

He is aware that Americans, for some farked up reason, pay tax on winnings.

I think that is quite unique for USA.

Ketchuponsteak: iambichop: Carter Pewterschmidt: The lottery jackpot this Tuesday here is £185 million. That would be like winning \$750 million US. I might buy a ticket.

£185,000,000
=
\$223,000,000

He is aware that Americans, for some farked up reason, pay tax on winnings.

I think that is quite unique for USA.

Your point is taken, but winning 750 million US would not be reduced to 223 million after taxes.

Do people still remember the movie War Games?

Carter Pewterschmidt: The lottery jackpot this Tuesday here is £185 million. That would be like winning \$750 million US. I might buy a ticket.

Also tax free in the UK.

It was quite exciting a few weeks ago, with an unclaimed £100m prize a week later on the Euro lottery. I happened to have a ticket (mainly to avoid loose change when buying something else, but totally forgot about it).

At that point it had been a) Confirmed there was a winner, b) Was in the UK, c) Was a paper ticket bought in a shop, d) had not been checked in over a week.

That slashes the odds enormously, down from one in tens of millions to one in under 10s of thousands.

I did not win.

HugeMistake: By the way, some Farkers will respond to this by telling me am bad at maths because they don't understand the argument. For the record I have a Bachelor's from Cambridge University where I studied Maths.

The problem isn't fundamentally with big or small lotteries.  In this example a geologist cracked the code on small ticket prizes...

https://www.wired.com/2011/07/broken-lotteries/

The deeper problem is that scratchers, which can have big prizes, are, in a way, fake.  To amp up the excitement they fake the fronts of the cards... say you have a game called 'Coming up Aces' and there are two hands of cards that you can scratch off... one is 'your' hand and the other is the houses hand.  As a teaser they show you one card in each hand.  In a truly honest game you'd have a 1 in 13 chance of seeing an ace in your hand, and a 1 in 13 chance of seeing a 2 in the house's hand before you buy the ticket, but the odds are actually on the back of the card and have nothing to do with actual poker odds.  They print cards deliberately to show high starter cards in your hand and lower value cards in their hand.  The problem is that the person designing those, now that it's not truly random, has to make sure they don't put any patterns in there while trying to entice you, and there are lots of ways to screw it up.  Maybe they put lots of aces showing for your first card, but there is only one 4 aces prize in the whole lottery, but there are lots of 4 jacks prizes in the lottery.  Maybe that means you should buy any ticket with a jack showing.

That generally means just giving a small edge to win a small prize, but once you have a small edge you can keep playing, and if there is a big prize out there you can shoot for the stars.

I always suspected this might be an issue the way this family won it.  The house, in this case, is trying to control their liability.  Considering the scale of the lotteries this is stupid... at least for the fairness between players, because someone can wait for the odds to get better for them by not playing until later... but the lottery doesn't care.  In this case, this is a good result for them, because it means a lot of tickets are sold before the big prize is paid out and people get bored with the game.  They only hate it when someone wins the big prize early.

A much 'fairer' game wouldn't predetermine the number of prizes and would just keep running.  If there is a 1 in 1 million chance of winning the grand prize of \$250,000, then each card should have a 1 in 1 million chance of being a winner.  If you print 5 million tickets, the way they do it now, they'd print 5 grand prize winners.  To avoid this problem they should just print each ticket with the odds.  It might mean they print 7 winners, or 3, or 5, but then it would actually be a fair lottery the whole time... but it wouldn't look as fair, because our brain plays tricks on us and if the lottery only paid out 4 prizes we'd get upset.

iambichop: Ketchuponsteak: iambichop: Carter Pewterschmidt: The lottery jackpot this Tuesday here is £185 million. That would be like winning \$750 million US. I might buy a ticket.

£185,000,000
=
\$223,000,000

He is aware that Americans, for some farked up reason, pay tax on winnings.

I think that is quite unique for USA.

Your point is taken, but winning 750 million US would not be reduced to 223 million after taxes.

Rags to riches. Just when you think you have it made it's cat food and a cardboard box.

Go ahead.  More chances for me.

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