Whenever you spend money on a lottery ticket, you must know that your chances of winning – especially the odds of winning a large prize – are low. Consider the money spent on lottery tickets as an investment, and as with any investment, you must look at your potential loss versus your potential gain.
Strategies to improve your chances to win the lottery
There are a number of ways you can actually improve your chances of winning when playing the lottery. Let’s take a look at the five main ways to do just that.
- Take a look at the costs versus potential wins. Let’s say you have a choice between paying €2 for a ticket that could potentially win you €5 million, and paying €5 for a ticket for a lottery with a €100 million jackpot. Obviously, you would rather spend €5, provided that the mathematical chances of winning are similar for both choices.
- Since we are talking about math, here is a more elaborate way of looking at it. There is a term called expected value. If you multiply your potential win by the odds of winning, you get the “EV” of your investment. For example, the Mega Millions lottery has a probability of 1 in 302.575.350 to win the jackpot, and the odds of winning the second-tier price of $1 million is 1 in 12.607.306.
Assuming a jackpot of $100 million, the EV for the top tier is 100.000.000 divided by 302.575.350, which is, in dollars, $0,33 (per dollar invested).
For the second-tier prize of $1 million, the EV is 1.000.000 divided by 12.607.306, which gives us $0,08 per dollar invested.
In order to come up with the total EV, you would have to do the same math for all tiers, down to the lowest one.
- Avoid playing only numbers under 31. Lots of players use birthday dates as their lucky numbers. So when a draw turns out numbers under 31 only, that increases the chance that many players match the numbers drawn. That, in turn, means that you will have to share the jackpot with a larger number of winners. The same goes for number combinations that are too “regular”, such as 1-2-3-4-5-6 or 2-4-6-8-10-12.
A good example of that was a recent draw that happened in the Philippines, where the draw result was 9-18-27-36-45-54. 400 players had to share that win because all numbers were multiples of 9. You can imagine the disappointment of those players who only won $9200 instead of over $3 million.
- Play at least one identical number combination all the time. While technically, every number combination is just as likely as the next one, over a long period of time, the winning numbers will tend to see some form of “distribution”. That means with every draw in which your numbers have not won, there is a slight increase in the chance that they may win the next time.
- Using the above strategy and taking it to the next level, you can check the last numbers that were drawn. Make a grid of all possible numbers, then strike every number that has been drawn over the last weeks. You can go as far back as you want. Then, pick your numbers from those numbers in the grid that you have not eliminated. Or, keep going back in the draws until there are only exactly as many numbers left as you need to select for your ticket.
There are no guarantees
All the strategies mentioned above will not guarantee that you will win, but using some sort of strategy is better than just picking random numbers. You still need luck on your side, but know that we wish you the best of luck!