Winning Lotto

Can you think of a realistic way to improve one’s returns in a Lotto-style lottery with a genuinely random generator of winning numbers?

Surprisingly this is possible.

The way most lotteries work is that the prize pool is first allocated to divisions (4, 5, 6, jackpot etc.) and then split evenly between the winning players in each division. This means the less winning players in a division, the greater their returns are going to be. By now you should be getting an idea where this is going. There is absolutely nothing one can do to maximise one’s chances of picking the winning numbers. There are steps one can take to share the division prize pool with a smaller number of other players IF one has picked the winning numbers.

The way to make one’s choice of numbers as unique as possible is through avoiding the combinations known to be popular among other players. Some lotteries make the databases of the punters picks from previous draws available online and, statistically, some rules appear to be followed:

  • Most players try to make their picks “look” random i.e. well spread. Quite often they will pick only one number from each column and row, and usually not more than two. When data from different lotteries using different geometric layout of the number grids is compared this trend is clear.
  • For some reason recent winning numbers from other lotteries are very popular.
  • Numbers 1 thru 9 are unusually popular
  • Odd numbers are generally more popular than even numbers
  • The most popular selection is…. 1,2,3,4,5,6!

One can maximise one’s returns by doing the exact opposite i.e. going for “ugly” looking clusters of two-digit, even numbers.

On a lighter note – casinos are very keen to host conferences, even below cost, because their attendees are known to be professional, wealthy, relaxed and willing to gamble for fun. But, anecdotally, an outfit in Las Vegas once hosted a conference of particle physicists and not one of them entered the casino! Physicists realise the quantum world is run by probabilities. Apparently, they also see their own life as a play of probabilities and will avoid games with the odds stacked against them. The word has spread and these days the scientific conferences, sadly, do not qualify for discounted accommodation rates at casinos.

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