How to Play UK Thunderball Lotto – 5 Steps for Beginners

Are you a beginner to lottery games and wondering how to play the UK Thunderball Lotto? You’ve come to the right place! This guide tells you everything you need to know about Thunderball PLUS it shares five easy steps to play the game. It answers some of the most commonly asked questions too, making it easier for you to become a pro lotto player.

Playing the UK Thunderball Lotto is simple once you know how and you have many opportunities to win the £500,000 jackpot prize. And since you can play UK Thunderball on TheLotter and other lottery sites, you can be a winner no matter where you are on the globe. How’s that for an impressive win? It’s one of the reasons this lottery game is so popular among lotto players worldwide.

Keep reading if you’re a beginner to the UK Thunderball and find out everything you need to know about this famous lottery game. What’s more, you could be five steps away from winning the main prize when using our simple guide!

What You Should Know About the UK Thunderball Lotto

How Did the UK Thunderball Start?

Thunderball was launched in 1999 when its first draw took place on Saturday, the 12th of June. Managed by The National Lottery, U.K, the popular game attracted many players dreaming of winning the jackpot! In 2002, the first Wednesday draw took place on the 23rd of October in addition to the usual Saturday games.

In November 2009, the new SmartPlay Halogen II machines were used for the Thunderball draws. In 2010, some major changes were made to the lotto game:

  • The number of balls changed from 34 to 39.
  • The jackpot increased twofold from £250,000 to £500,000.
  • Prize money was introduced for matching only the Thunderball.
  • A Friday draw was introduced.

Over the next 13 years, an additional Tuesday draw was added giving lotto players ample opportunities to play and win prize money.

Age to Play the UK Thunderball

Players 16 years and older could purchase Thunderball tickets from 1999 until 2021. From the 21st of April, 2021 it was decreed that players had to be 18 years and older in order to play the UK Thunderball game. This eligibility requirement is applicable whether you’re playing online or purchasing a ticket from an authorized retailer.

Where to Play the UK Thunderball

You can play the UK Thunderball with an online player account on The National Lottery website, at a licensed U.K. retailer, or using a lottery agent such as LottoAgent. Using an online lottery platform lets you access Thunderball from anywhere in the world.

Where to Play the UK Thunderball

Credit: LottoAgent

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Familiarizing yourself with the terms and conditions of playing in-store or online using the official lottery site or a licensed agent ensures you play the game legally.

When Draws Take Place

The UK Thunderball Lotto draws take place four times a week on the following days:

  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Friday
  • Saturday

You can play every game, increasing your chances of hitting the top prize. Draws take place at 8.00pm on Tuesdays and Fridays and 8.15pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, U.K. time. All ticket sales close at 7.30pm. Tickets can be purchased every day of the week between 6am and 11pm but remember the closing time on draw days!

Price of Tickets

The price of the UK Thunderball ticket is £1, making it one of the most affordable lottery games to play. You can play up to seven lines on one play slip with 10 being the maximum number of tickets allowed per draw.

Odds of Winning

Winning the main prize requires matching all six winning numbers. The odds of winning the jackpot of £500,000 is 1 in 8,060,598 and the overall chance of getting a prize is 1 in 13. There are nine winning combinations with all prizes being fixed amounts. You get the full amount even if other players pick the same winning numbers as you.

Tiers/Winning Combinations Prize amount Odds of Winning
5 main numbers + TB £500,000 1: 8,060,598
5 main numbers £5000 1:620,046
4 main numbers + TB £250 1:47,416
4 main numbers £100 1:3,648
3 main numbers + TB £20 1:1,437
3 main numbers £10 1:135
2 main numbers + TB £10 1:111
1 main number + TB £5 1:35
Thunderball (TB) only £3 1:29

The jackpot prize stays fixed which means it never rolls over to the next draw. A prize capping rule comes into play if the total value of the payout due is more than four times the total entries bought for a particular draw. In this case, winnings can be reduced but this rarely happens.

The Biggest Jackpot Ever Won on UK Thunderball Lotto

The UK Thunderball jackpot of half a million pounds has been won many times over the years with recent winners including a family syndicate in County, Durham. One recent lucky player matched the winning number twice giving her an overall prize of £1 million. How? By mistakenly buying two tickets both with the same winning numbers!

Other recent winners include players who picked the winning numbers drawn in December 2022 and January 2023. The best thing about hitting the Thunderball jackpot is that you never have to share it with other players who got the same numbers as you! You’ll always walk away with £500,000 which is the biggest jackpot for this lotto game.

5 Steps to Play UK Thunderball Lotto

1. Choose How to Play (Online or In Store)

There are a number of options available to you when playing the UK Thunderball Lotto. If you’re a U.K. resident, you can open an online account with The National Lottery website or play in-store at an authorized retailer.

However, if you’re playing from another country, you can opt to play using a licensed online lottery platform. Before signing up for a site like LottoAgent to play UK Thunderball, make sure you understand the rules and regulations of the platform as well as those of the country you’re playing from.

2. Select Which Draw Days You Want to Play

Draws take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. You can choose to play all four days or opt for your preferred draw day. You can also choose how many weeks you want to play. Both The National Lottery website and online lottery sites give clear instructions as to how to pick the draw days.

Be sure to buy your tickets before the cut-off time on the day of the draw which is 7.30pm for individual players and 7.50pm for syndicates.

3. Pick Your Numbers and How Many Lines to Play

You get to pick six numbers per line. The five main numbers must be picked from between 1 and 39 while the Thunderball is chosen from 1 to 14. You can use the LuckyDip option on the official website which will randomly select numbers for you. Number generators are also available when you choose to play with an online lottery agent.


Credit: WinTrillions

You must select how many lines you want to play per ticket as well as how many play slips per draw. You can pick up to seven lines and 10 play slips at a time giving you up to 70 different picks for a draw!

4. Pay for Your Ticket

If you’re playing online, you’ll have a number of payment methods available to you. In most cases, you can use your debit or credit card. Sites such as theLotter have up to 13 or more payment methods which include choosing your online wallet.

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When purchasing in-store, you pay the retailer directly while retaining the ticket and receipt to produce as evidence if you need to claim a prize.

5. Wait for the Draw

Now that you’ve purchased your ticket, all you can do is sit back and wait for the draw to take place! You can either watch the draw live or wait for the Thunderball results to be published online. Online lottery platforms email the winners and you’ll have to check out your physical ticket if you bought it in-store to see if you’ve won a prize.

You can watch live draws take place either on The National Lottery website or YouTube channel.

Tips on How to Win the UK Thunderball Lotto

Create a Lottery Strategy

Avid lottery players use a number of strategies to win the top prize. Creating a lottery strategy increases your odds of winning the jackpot or one of the other eight prize tiers for Thunderball. It also makes the game exciting and gives you various number combinations to play. The Pick 5 Lottery Numbers strategy includes various methods for picking five numbers.

Analyze Past Draw Numbers

Another approach to winning the Thunderball is to analyze the past draw numbers. Knowing which numbers have been drawn the most or the fewest times can help you pick your lucky numbers. You can also find out which numbers have been drawn in pairs or triplets in previous draws and decide if they are lucky or not!

This table demonstrates which main numbers have been drawn over 300 times for Thunderball between May 2010 and March 2023.

Number Number of times drawn
4 307
6 309
7 300
18 309
19 302
22 305
24 303
26 306
29 314
30 323
31 307
32 311
34 308

The top three Thunderball numbers drawn most often during the same period were 3, 8, and 13.

Find Your Lucky Lottery Numbers

Hiring the services of a psychic to help you win the lottery by picking your lucky numbers for you is one way of going about the game. Some lotto players will only play their birth sign lucky numbers while others use the law of attraction to find their winning numerals. It all comes down to lady luck in the end but believing in your lucky numbers does make them more attractive!

Play Consistently

Playing Thunderball consistently is a tip shared by many successful lottery players. The more you play the game the better your chances of hitting the jackpot! The Thunderball gives you four chances every week to hit the main prize and if you play each draw every week, surely your lucky day will come.

Choose Your Numbers Manually

Which one will it be for you when comparing lottery quick picks vs choosing your own numbers when playing Thunderball? The statistics reveal that more lottery players win using the quick pick option compared to manually picking numbers. But, keen players prefer to pick their own numbers as they find it more enjoyable than having a machine randomly pick them!

Create Various Number Combinations

The lottery wheeling system is another strategy used by lotto players who want to choose their own numbers while increasing the probability of winning the jackpot. Based on mathematical calculations, this strategy produces a wide range of number combinations that are scientifically determined to win.

How Do You Claim If You’ve Won a Prize From the Uk Thunderball Lotto?

If you win a Thunderball prize, you have to claim it within 180 days of the draw date. Smaller winnings are paid directly into your online wallet if you have a player account with the official website. The same applies if you played through an online lottery platform from abroad. Bigger prizes need to be claimed in person even if you played from another country.

This table gives an overview of how U.K. residents can claim a Thunderball prize.

Prize Amount Payout Method
Below £500 Paid directly into your online wallet.
£500 – £30,000 Paid into your U.K. bank account.
£30,000 – £50,000 Paid by cheque once you contact the National Lottery office.
+ £50,000 Contact the National Lottery office to claim your prize in person.

Final Thoughts

The UK Thunderball Lotto gives you reasonable odds of winning the jackpot prize. It’s simple to play and draws take place four times a week, making it easy to play consistently. You can purchase tickets using the official lottery website, buy in-store, or register on a licensed lotto agent platform. It couldn’t get any easier for first-timers playing this game!

If you’re a beginner to Thunderball, use our five steps on how to play this lottery game and put yourself in line to win the half million pounds jackpot prize!


Who can play the UK Thunderball lottery?

Anyone over the age of 18 years old can play the UK Thunderball lottery. If you’re not a U.K. resident and you’re playing from abroad, you can make use of a licensed and regulated online lottery site to purchase tickets. However, be aware that you may have to claim the prize in person no matter where you are in the world.

Are there people who have won the UK Thunderball lottery?

Yes, there have been many winners of the UK Thunderball lottery since its inception in June 1999. The official National Lottery website announces the winners and showcases stories shared by the winners of Thunderball. Winners are often announced in local newspapers throughout the U.K.

Is the ticket prices for the UK Thunderball worth it?

At the price of £1, you can purchase a ticket for the UK Thunderball lottery. Compared to other lottery games, this is a relatively cost-effective way of winning £500,000 with the odds of winning being 1 to 13. You also stand a chance of winning smaller prizes from between £3 to £5,000 - even matching the Thunderball only gets you a prize!

How many numbers on Thunderball do you need to win?

You need to match 5 main numbers plus the Thunderball to win the £500,000 main prize. There are eight other winning combinations that allow you to win smaller prizes. These range from five to one main numbers, with or without the Thunderball.

What do you get for two numbers on the Thunderball?

One combination that doesn’t give you a prize is two numbers without the Thunderball. However, if you match two main numbers PLUS Thunderball, you win £10.

What do you get for three numbers on the Thunderball?

If you match three main numbers on Thunderball you win £10. Matching three main numbers plus Thunderball gives you £20.