Everybody knows that the odds of winning a lottery jackpot are not in their favor. But there are a number of factors and mathematical concepts that you should consider.
Once you know about the math involved in the lotto, you will be able to make smarter choices when picking a lottery. That will not help you much though, as long as you play your local lottery online. Because if you do not have a choice of lotteries at your disposal, knowing about the math will not make a difference.
But now that you have found Simbalotto, you know that you actually have a lot of options. So it is only logical that you want to find out what makes this lottery a better choice than that lottery. There are a number of things to consider first.
Are you only interested in the big prizes?
Of course, most people play the lotto to win big. They are looking at the jackpot, and maybe the second prize (which often enough is quite big as well). If you think like that, then looking at the size of the jackpot makes sense. It means you can just pick the lottery with the currently largest jackpot.
Maybe the prize for that lottery ticket is, let’s say, 3 times higher than the price you would pay for a ticket in your lottery. If the larger jackpot is more than 3 times as high as your local top prize, you would still get better value for your money, right? And if the big jackpot is $100 million or even $200 million, paying $5 for that ticket makes more sense than paying 1 euro for a ticket that could win $1 million.
In any case, you should take a look at those probabilities – you will see that some lotteries have a much better probability to win the top prizes than others. With the Italian Superenalotto, for example, your ticket has a very low probability of matching all winning numbers. But that also means that the jackpot for this lottery usually grows to be pretty big, and then stays big for a long time.
Taking into account all prize levels of the lottery
Most people are interested in knowing what the mathematical chances of winning the top prizes are. But you may want to check what your overall chances are to win any of the prizes. That number can be found on the lottery information pages on our site, along with the probabilities of all prize tiers.
The mathematical concept of expected value
This is actually a bit more complicated, compared to the abovementioned considerations. Expected value (in short EV) means considering two factors for your evaluation of a lottery:
- the probability of winning
- the possible reward (the prize you could win)
You can calculate your EV to win the first prize, the second-tier prize, or you calculate the overall EV, taking into account all prize tiers combined. Here is a table showing you such a calculation, based on the example of Mega Millions with a jackpot of $200 million:
As you can see, the total EV is mainly defined by the top prize tiers, because of the large amounts to be won. In the example, we are getting a total EV of 91%, which is close to 100%. This means that if the jackpot were even higher (actually, at approximately §230 million), your EV would be over 100%, which of course would be great.
But that, of course, is purely mathematical, and the odds of winning the jackpot are still not in your favor. On the other hand, people win those jackpots all the time. So why not give it a try, especially when you can easily find a jackpot larger than $250 million on our website almost at any given time? Good Luck!