How to win a lottery by developing a strategy for choosing the right numbers?
Roughly 50% of people in the United States say that they play state lottery regularly. To come up with their strategy on how to win a lottery prize, most people work from the same fundamental misconception that somehow writing the same numbers in their lottery tickets over and over again will eventually guarantee a win. In reality, this is false as each time a set of numbers is drawn; each lottery ball has an equal chance of being picked.
Every lottery ticket has an approximately one in 57 chance of matching at least three numbers for that very reason – because the system is designed to make sure that the numbers are always drawn at random, playing the same set of numbers every time makes no difference on your chances of winning.
Winning the Lottery: All Lottery Numbers Are Equal
While it’s true that some lotto balls do get drawn more frequently than others, it’s important to remember that this typically “self corrects” over time. For proof of this, consider that in a sample of over 300 last drawings of the Mega Millions, the numbers 10, 31 and 48 appeared in the first five numbers about 9.9% of the time. The most infrequently drawn number during this sample period – 69 – appeared in the first five numbers, approximately 4.8% of the time.
Based on that, you may be assuming that when buying the lottery ticket you would have been better off continuing to pick the numbers 10, 31 and 48 as opposed to number 69 at the bottom of the list. But really, you need to remember two things. Statistically speaking the difference between an event occurring 5% of the time and 10% of the times really isn’t that much of a difference at all. Likewise, playing for the main jackpot prize in the lottery is very much one of those situations where The Law of Large Numbers (LLN) applies.
What is the Law of Large Numbers?
The Law of Large Numbers is a theorem that dives deeper into the result of performing the same experiment in the same way and many times over. According to the LLN, the average of all the results obtained from a large number of trials “should be close to the expected value and will tend to become closer to the expected value as more trials are performed.”
This concept is important, as it guarantees (not to mention explains) stable, long-term results for the averages and balances of certain types of random events, like lotteries. You may want to know that this is the same logic that casinos and other gambling establishments operate on a daily basis. Sure, a casino may lose money to a paying customer on a single spin of the roulette wheel. However, given how many times people spin that same wheel over the course of a year, they’re more than likely to make their money back over time. Any time someone is on a “hot streak” or a “winning streak,” if people simply play long enough the house will end up making their money back by virtue of the random nature of how the gambling and their systems work in the first place.
The lottery is also very much designed to operate as randomly as possible, which is why each ball has the same chance of being drawn. Continuing to play lotto with the same set of lottery numbers indefinitely really won’t make a difference. Yes, you may eventually win some money using those numbers – but it won’t be because they were your “lucky” numbers or because you were “due.” It will happen because of a completely random occurrence, which is how the lottery works in the first place.
The Law of Large Numbers in Lottery Action
To get another case of LLN systems in action, look no further than statistics that break down the EuroMillions draws from between 2016 and 2020. During this period of 440 games, each ball was drawn between 31 and 56 times – which isn’t that big of a difference in the grand scheme of things. In a larger sample size with information complied from even more lottery draws, you would continue to see these numbers level off thanks to the Law of Large Numbers.
The same is absolutely true if you continue to look at statistics regarding the US PowerBall. In this sample of more than 500 different lottery drawings dating back to 2015, the lottery ball that was pulled the most frequently was 23, appearing in the first five numbers roughly 11% of the time. The number 32 return second at 10.6%, while lottery ball 69 came in third at 9.6%. The number at the very bottom of the list – 34 – appeared in the first five numbers approximately 5,4% of the time.
So not only once again do you observe that a 5% point difference in occurrence really isn’t that much once you consider the mechanics of the lottery game, but one must also want to know that these percentages are virtually identical to the Mega Millions percentages outlined above. Yes, the specific numbers have changed but the percentage of time that each one appears in the first five lottery balls drawn is virtually identical. This is the principles of the Law of Large Numbers people should definitely consider when buying their lottery tickets.
You Can Not Use “Hot” and “Cold” Lottery Numbers to Win The Jackpot
This segues directly into another one of the most common myths regarding how to win the lottery: the idea that you can somehow use “hot” and “cold” numbers to your advantage. To put it simply, “hot” numbers are those that tend to appear frequently in lottery drawings. “Cold” numbers are just the opposite – ones that tend to appear rarely. Far too many people think that, by taking a look at previous sets of winning numbers, they can analyze and figure out which balls have been picked frequently and compare that to ones that almost never are drawn. When creating lottery lines, they can select their own numbers from the former category, steer clear of the latter whenever possible and easily become one of the lucky lottery winners.
This concept is actually used in a number of different ways depending on the lottery player in question. Sometimes people look over the winning numbers for the previous month and say to themselves some variation of “the number 10 has appeared frequently in the past few lottery games, clearly 10 is a hot number and I should pick it.”
Other times, the reverse is true. When buying the ticket, they look at those same winning numbers results and think “the number 10 has appeared way too often, it’s getting cold, and I had better pick something else.”
But again, the Law of Large Numbers tells those people that every ball has roughly the same chance of being picked as any other ball – meaning that any “hot” or “cold” streak that you may think you have noticed is ultimately just a coincidence in the grand scheme of things.
By playing into the myth of “hot” and “cold” numbers all you’re really doing is relying on superstition, not intuition, to win the lottery. Sure, there’s always the chance that you could buy your lottery ticket and play exclusively from “hot” numbers and come out a winner – but that has nothing to do with any type of secret winning streak. Rather it is more about the random chance that is built into the lottery system by design.
Don’t Be Fooled By Number Prediction Websites
Anyone who has spent any appreciable amount of time trying to figure out how to win the lottery online will no doubt have discovered that there are a wide array of number prediction tools and websites for you to choose from. In essence, they all do exactly what they sound like: they analyze the results from past lottery draws to try to come up with the precise set of balls you should pick when buying your lottery ticket.
While these types of tools can be fun ways to come up with new ideas for lottery number combinations that you should bet, for the very same reasons explained above, they will not help you to become the winner in the next draw.
If you do not want to take our word for granted, consider work of Brazilian mathematician Renato Gianella who conducted extensive research on 20 different lotteries, applying a vast range of complicated mathematical equations and statistical analysis to each draw. Essentially, he was trying to figure out if you could become the winner by accurately predict the lottery using little more than the right mathematical technique.
Based on everything outlined above, it should come as no surprise that he discovered that you cannot, in fact, predict the lottery – and neither can any tool or website supposedly “built” for that purpose. Gianella said that while he found that some combinations of lottery balls seemed to be more likely to be pulled than others, there really wasn’t any reliable way to use the past to predict the future. In fact, he said that the lottery should be seen “as a true representation of the Probabilistic Theory and the Law of Large Numbers”.
For those unfamiliar, the Probabilistic Theory (also commonly known as the Probability Theory) is specifically concerned with the analysis of things that happen randomly – which makes it more than relevant to any discussion of how to win the lottery. Simply put, it states that the outcome of any random event absolutely cannot be determined before it occurs. Instead, you can only predict one of several possible outcomes – meaning that while some things are certainly more likely to happen than others, nothing is a guarantee. Then, based on all of those several possible outcomes, the actual lottery outcome is considered to be determined by nothing but chance alone.
Do Lottery Quick Pick Tools Help To Win A Lottery?
Another common technique that people use in an effort to better improve their chances of winning the lottery involves using a so-called “quick pick” number tools. Generally speaking, you’re letting a computer randomly pick your lottery balls for you (and you’re probably getting your lottery ticket purchased in a fraction of the time it would normally take).
To be clear – this is also not a good way to secure your chances of winning because no such method actually exists. A “quick pick” number tool isn’t going to be any better at accurately predicting the winning lottery balls than a number prediction tool or website for all of the same reasons previously mentioned.
Likewise, using “quick pick” lottery number tools may actually make it harder to win – or at least, to win big – because people have no ability to avoid the most commonly-played numbers. Think about it like this: if all of the numbers have the exact same chance of coming up as the winning numbers in the next lottery game, at the very least if you pick your own numbers you can avoid having to split your jackpot with someone else by picking ones that seem to be rarely selected. A “quick pick” number tool won’t do that for you, simply because it was never designed to. It picks your numbers on the lottery tickets totally at random – that’s the beginning and end of it.
Having said that, depending on the type of lottery player you are, using a “quick pick” lottery tool does have a few distinct advantages. As stated, it’s fast by design – also allowing it to be more convenient as well. You don’t have to carefully consider what lottery balls you’re going to play – or anything at all, really. You just let the computer do the work, pay for your lottery ticket and go about your day.
So while nobody is saying that you shouldn’t use a “quick pick” number tool if you just want to have fun playing the lottery, you should never use one if you want to do everything in your power to increase your chances of WINNING the lottery as much as possible.
The Best Strategy for How to Win the Lottery: Breaking Things Down
There are legitimate techniques that you can use to not necessarily guarantee that you’ll win the lottery (because there isn’t actually a strategy that exists that can do that), but that will dramatically increase your chances of winning.
Chief among them is the idea that you should only play the lottery that has better odds of winning. Rather than pouring all of your time and attention into major games that attract millions of players like the U.S. Powerball or the U.S. Mega Millions, you should instead focus your efforts on those lotteries that provide better odds. Even if the jackpot is smaller than what you would find in those other big games.
With regards to lottery odds, there are a few different factors that you should pay attention to in order to make sure that you’re playing the right games. The first is the total amount of numbers being picked. The fewer the numbers in the field, the better your chance of winning.
For example, if you were given a choice between a lottery game with 50 potential numbers and one with 40, you should always pick the second one because it gives you a better shot of picking the right ones. If you can find a lottery with only 35 or 30 balls, that’s even better. Again – if every number has an equal chance of being picked and you can limit the total numbers available as much as possible, it stands to reason that you’re improving the chances that the next numbers called might be yours.
Along the same lines, you’ll also want to focus on the pick size – meaning the total amount of numbers of “balls” being picked over the course of a given game. Pick size of six is pretty standard, but if you only play the lottery games with pick sizes of five, you significantly improve your chance of winning.
Once you begin to examine lottery games with these two factors together, it’s pretty easy to see which games are worth your time and which ones are more of a long shot. A game with 5 picks and 40 potential numbers would be a 5/40 lottery, which will always be better than a 6/50 lottery (meaning that six balls are picked out of 50 potential numbers).
It may sound straightforward, and that’s in large part because it is – but truly, it doesn’t have to be any more difficult than that.
Pay Attention to That Extra Lottery Ball
On the discussion of your odds and chance of winning the lottery game, however, you also need to be aware of how the extra ball that is commonly drawn during many of the games impacts your odds. Depending on the specific game in question, this extra ball goes by many names. The US Powerball, for example, calls it exactly that – the Powerball. In the EuroMillions game, it is called the “lucky star.” Regardless, you usually need to pick this extra ball as well in order to win the jackpot, and it brings with it its fair share of challenges that you need to be aware of.
The first being that this extra lottery ball is usually drawn from the second drum, which is why it isn’t as simple as taking a five draw game and turning it into a six draw game.
In the U.S. Powerball, for example, you pick five numbers from a potential list of 69 that could be called. If the game ended right there, your odds of winning would be roughly 1 in 11 million. But because you can only win the biggest prize by also matching the Powerball – and because that Powerball is picked from a totally different set of balls – your odds become 1 in about 292 million. This despite the fact that there are only 26 potential numbers to choose from when talking about the Powerball in particular.
So again, this is why these types of larger games aren’t necessarily going to be the ones you should focus your attention on. If you instead tap into an array of smaller games, you’d have much better “luck” in the long run – even if the size of the jackpot is much smaller by comparison.
How to Win the Lottery Using Math
Despite the fact that the math seems to be firmly rooted against you in your quest to learn how you may win the lottery, it’s also an excellent tool that you can use on your quest to achieve that perfect set of winning numbers. You just need to keep a few key things in mind along the way and make sure that your expectations are in order.
One of the best things that you can do to mathematically improve your odds of winning the lottery requires simply to buy more tickets or to join the best online lottery syndicates (or lottery pools as they may be known). It sounds too easy, but it’s true. You can’t be the winner if you don’t play, as the old saying goes. You can increase your chances of winning simply by buying tickets and giving careful consideration to how much money you can afford in your way to the grand prize.
But keep in mind that “money you can afford” part really is the most important element in the previous statement. Improving the probability of winning and actually becoming one of the lottery winners is a long-term “game”, and you should not make brash financial decisions in the hope of short-term success, as you won’t find it and your jackpot price will be unbearable, and you’ll likely create a monetary situation that is difficult for you to overcome as well.
Developing a Winning Lottery Strategy: An Overview
The first step to make sure that you’re making the most mathematically intelligent choice to become the lottery winner involves taking a look at the aggregate sum of all numbers picked in past games. For years, a lot of people have observed two things. First, that if you take a look at all of the randomly drawn numbers in the past for the particular state lotto game that you’re trying to play, those numbers tend to be evenly distributed (more or less) across the entire range of available numbers. Second, when you add up the winning numbers of the game, you get a sum – and most of the winning combinations tend to fall within the same basic range of sums.
So in a game where six balls are drawn out of a possible 49, the total range of sums could be as little as 21 and as high as 279. This is because there is only a single six number combination that adds up to 21 (1+2+3+4+5+6), just as there is only a single number combination that adds up to 279 (44+45+46+47+48+49). Remember, though, that these two combinations of consecutive numbers occur only once and they represent the smallest and largest possible sums. Because of that, it is very unlikely for either of those groups to wind up becoming the winning combination.
That winning combination, math and draw history tells us, will likely be somewhere in the middle. In this case, that midpoint sum would be 150 as it falls squarely in between those two sets of numbers.
Through extensive research, Gail Howard discovered that in a 6/49 lottery game (to continue with the example outlined above), a massive 70% of all winning combinations tend to be produced by only approximately 28% of all possible sums. More specifically, 27.4% of all sums fall within a range of 115 to 185, which is a big part of the reason why they account for 71.32% of winning tickets.
What this means is that if you want to dramatically improve your chances of winnings, you need to make sure that the aggregate sum of all numbers that you’re writing in your ticket falls somewhere within that middle range. It doesn’t matter what your “gut instinct” or intuition is telling you. If you always play your birthday and the numbers in your birthday add up to 100, when buying your lotto ticket you can do whatever you want – but you’d be increasing your chances enormously by picking number combinations that fall within that given range.
Next, you need to know that to further increase your chances by paying attention to the ratio of an odd number and even number combinations that mark in your ticket. To be clear – if every combination has an equal probability of being picked (as we’ve more than proven by this point), there’s nothing that says it’s less likely that a combination of all odds and all even numbers will be picked.
But even with the same probability, there is one very important aspect to all this. In our example of a 6/49 game, consider the fact that there are exactly 13,983,816 potential combinations. Only 134,596 of them involve even numbers only. This means that the odds of winning using only even numbers are 134,596/13,983,816, or roughly 1 in 103. It may sound like those are good odds, but they’re not – they mean you have to play over 100 times (requiring you to buy that much more tickets) just to get to one successful combination. Or other words, you have only 134,596 ways to be right and staggering 13,849,220 ways to be wrong. It terrible ratio of 1 to 103 and prohibitively lot of money to get to that one winning combination.
Now, let’s assume you played the same six numbers from 1 to 49 but went a completely different way and picked balanced odd and even number combination. You might be surprised to learn, but out of same 13,983,816 combinations, whopping 4,655,200 are possible with three odd numbers and three even ones. This means that for this lotto format and your choice of odd/even numbers, you have 4,655,200 ways to be right and 9,328,616 ways to be wrong. Your odds of winnings are completely different you have a far higher ratio (1 to 2) of success, and it is therefore around 52 times more intelligent choice to make.
So if you combine these two ideas – using a combination of odd/even numbers that also add up to an aggregate sum that falls somewhere within the standard sum range, you’re giving yourself a far better chance of improving winnings of the lottery than you would have through virtually any other means.
What a Lottery Strategy Is and What a Strategy Isn’t
At this point, we need to summarise what a winning lottery strategy is and what it isn’t – and that all comes down to the difference between odds and probability. Many people use these two terms interchangeably, but they are not the same thing and should never be treated as such.
The probability is a mathematical measurement of the likelihood that a specific event will occur – in this case, that you will win the grand prize. It is of crucial importance to understand that whatever money you spend on lotto tickets and what magic you are putting in those lines of the lottery numbers, you can not affect the probability. It is built into that specific lotto, and the laws of mathematics which define the way to that jackpot will always be stronger than you.
Odds are something very different from the probability. It measures the relationship between success and failure. You can not affect the total number of all possible combinations, but you can pick those combinations which have a much higher likelihood of occurrence and best ratio of success to failure. This is the best thing to do after following that “buy more tickets” advice.
How to win a lottery: Final thoughts
So once you accept that you cannot build a strategy that will allow you to overcome the odds and probability obstacles, you can then focus on what you do have control over: playing the game in a way that gives you the absolute best ratio of success to failure, otherwise known as the best odds.
You do this by picking the games with the best chance of winning, as outlined above. You do this by making intelligent, mathematically-driven number choices, as previously mentioned. You do this by playing as much as you can reasonably afford without negatively impacting your life.
But most importantly, you do this by understanding that you’re playing the long game and never let anyone tell you differently. Yes, you regularly hear stories of someone who never played the lottery a day in their life who purchased a single ticket and became a millionaire. But these stories are the exception, not the rule. If every single number has an equal chance of being picked and given a large enough sample size, these types of outliers are bound to happen every now and again.
Instead, you need to be patient. You need to be vigilant. You need to accept that you might never be the owner of that winning ticket, and that’s okay.
Because Rome wasn’t built in a day and your success in terms of how to win the lottery won’t be, either.