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Howdy! Amongst any other contributors, I'm Lucky Buck.
I'll be your peripatetic reporter, prognosticator, and raconteur on Lottery topics.
If you'd like to make a contribution, send an to me.
|Just what is LUCK, anyway?|
I think an ancient Roman, (who went by the name of) Seneca, did the best when it comes to defining luck.
|'Probability' versus 'Possibility'|
Probability in a lottery sense, is something that is strictly mathematical.
|Those Incredible Odds!|
Does anybody really pay attention to how outrageously remote are the odds of winning
a lottery jackpot?
Here's a rundown of the very worst odds to the not-quite-so-awful:
One chance in over Five Hundred Millions: ( ~ gasp! ~ ) ----------------------
One chance in over Three Hundred Millions: ( ~ You've got to be kidding! ~ ) ----------------------
One chance in over Two Hundred Millions: ( ~ WOW! ~ ) ----------------------
One chance in over One Hundred Million: ( ~ Good Grief! ~ ): ----------------------
One chance in over Ten Million: -------------------------
One chance in over a Million: -------------------------
One chance in over a half-a-Million: -------------------------
One chance in over One Hundred Thousand: -------------------------
One chance in over a Thousand: -------------------------
One chance in a Thousand: -------------------------
Not even a fifty-fifty chance: -------------------------
A fifty-fifty chance: -------------------------
Almost a certainty: -------------------------
*** Note: The Lottery Odds shown above are for matching
the Drawn Ball Numbers with the picks on one board/panel on a playslip. Some
lotteries, such as Canada's Lotto Max and Missouri's Lotto tout significantly lower odds
because the player is forced to accept more than one board/panel/line/row for a minimum wager.
|Where 'Common Sense' goes Awry|
|I think a person is using 'common sense'
when they want to participate in a state-run lottery; and they want
to see what numbers have come up in previous drawings.
Most state-run lotteries show the results of previous drawings, i.e., the winning numbers, on one of their website pages.
Some of the lottery web pages are now beginning to show the frequencies of the individual numbers' occurrences.
Here's a few examples:
Missouri Lotto Frequency
Wisconsin Badger 5 Frequency
What is utterly unamazing, is:
1) Every possible number eventually gets picked, and
2) The frequencies are all just about the same for any given set of numbers.
Think about that for a moment... kinda let those two important little factoids sink into your cranium.
Here's another factoid that is at least equally important:
Those little 'ping pong' type balls are as dumb as doorknobs! They don't have the ability to remember the last time they were drawn!
Equally important is the fact that they lack any sense of duty, i.e., they don't know that if a long time has passed since they were last drawn and/or that they are obligated to make an appearance now and then.
In other words, those little balls are totally devoid of conscience and consciousness.
Another factoid (no less important than the others, BTW) is that inbetween the official drawings that are usually televised, the lottery people continually run tests, i.e., the balls are weighed and checked in various ways, including to perform many untelevised drawings inbetween the official televised drawings.
And the last little factoid is that the sets of balls used in the official, televised drawings are seldom the same set for every drawing.
So what do all these facts tell you? And, more importantly, should they have any effect on your 'common sense'?
The facts tell you that the balls all have an equal chance at being drawn, whether the drawing is televised or not.
If that's so, then where does 'common sense' go awry?
It's when a person starts thinking that some numbers are due to be drawn, or that some particular number or numbers are 'hot'... or when a person starts thinking that some mathematical formula based on past drawings is going to reveal one or more surefire numbers in the next drawing.
I used to think along those lines, that is, if I properly analyze the previous drawings, I'll be able to detect a pattern or some clue that some number is much more likely to be drawn (or has little chance of being drawn) in the next drawing.
Some folks like to analyze numbers, especially when they are organized into neat, finite sets like lists of previous lottery drawings.
Count me among the people in that group. I started writing analysis programs over twenty (20) years ago. My programs crunched those numbers in more ways than I can recall.
For all those years of effort, there's only one thing that I've been able to prove with a fair amount of certainty. That is, in any given drawing, any number has an equally random chance of being drawn.
Today you can buy (or however you chose to aquire them) software programs that do outstanding jobs of analyzing past drawings from every imaginable angle. The output from these programs will present you with lists, tables, and complex charts and graphs that are dazzling. But I've yet to see one that can reliably pick the numbers for the next drawing.
And this is where 'common sense' goes awry.
Common sense: wrong = Past drawings offer some clue that one number is more likely (or less likely) to be drawn than another.
Common sense: right = If anyone ever devises/scripts a program that reliably predicts the future, then the lotteries as we know them today, will cease to exist. Period!
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|Have you ever picked the wrong numbers?|
|Guess what? Unless you chose your
numbers after the drawing, you've never picked the 'wrong'
Since the drawing happens after you've made your picks, then, technically speaking, any number drawn that doesn't match one of yours, is wrong. (It might match somebody else's, but it's wrong as far as you're concerned.)
That is to say, only the drawn numbers can be right or wrong, not yours.
Either the numbers drawn correctly match yours, or if they don't, then the drawing presented the 'wrong' numbers.
Admittedly, it's small consolation when the drawn numbers don't match your choices, but you are not at fault... you didn't pick the 'wrong' numbers, the lottery did.
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|Combinations versus Permutations|
|First off, just be glad that most lotteries
pay off on 'Combinations' of numbers and not on 'Permutations' of
The mathematical term 'Combination' can be confusing because we like to think about how many different ways we can 'combine' a group of things.
Say we had an apple, an orange, and a pear. We use the word 'combine' when we should be using the word 'arrange'. We can arrange the set as an orange on the left, an apple in the middle, and a pear on the right; or maybe put a pear on the left, an apple in the middle, and an orange on the right.
There are 6 possible ways to arrange the fruit from left-to-right. Each of those 'arrangements' is a permutation, not a mathematical combination.
The group of 3 fruits, without any concern for arrangement, is a 'combination' of 3 fruits.
A mathematical combination can be a subset of a set. Of the 3 fruits, a person could ask, "How many combinations are there of just 2 fruits from the set of 3?"
One combination is an apple and an orange, another is a pear and an orange, another is an apple and a pear. Order is unimportant, i.e. apple and orange is the same as orange and apple... each grouping is still just one mathematical combination.
There are 3 possible combinations (subsets) of fruits taken 2 at a time from a set of 3.
Reiterating, there are 6 permutations (arrangements) and only 3 mathematical combinations (subsets).
If the sequence is important, then it's a Permutation. If sequence is not important, it's a Combination.
Let's look at a lottery example, say a game where 5 balls (a subset) are drawn from a set of 39 balls:
In a 5 ball lottery drawing, say the numbered balls are drawn in the sequence of #30, #24, #12, #39, and lastly, #22.
That sequence is just one of 125 possible arrangements/sequences (permutations) of those drawn balls. They could have come down the chute as #22, #24, # 30, # 39, and lastly, #12, but however they are sequenced, there is only one subset(combination) that includes those 5 balls.
That subset is just one of the 'combinations', of which there are 575,757 possible combinations from the set of 39 balls.
How many different ways can the subsets of 5 balls from a set of 39 balls be arranged (permutated)? The answer is 69,090,840.
Here's a link to our Lottery Odds Calculator. See for yourself what a huge difference there is between a mathematical combination and a permutation.
Pick 3 and Pick 4 lottery games are some of the very few games where you can bet on either one of the permutations or the combination.
In Pick 3, betting on the sequence of the 3 drawn balls is called a 'Straight', that is to say, you're betting on 1 of 6 possible permutations (if all 3 balls have a unique number). If you want to bet on all possible permutations (arrangements) of the balls, you bet on the 'Combination', which is termed a 'Box'.
Again, just be glad that lotteries pay off on 'Combinations' of numbers and not on 'Permutations' of numbers. The odds in a 6 balls from 49 balls game would go from millions, 13,983,816 combinations to billions, 10,068,347,520 permutations!
One of the State of Pennsylvania's Lottery games is called Mix 'n Match. It might seem like relatively easy 'pickins' in that you only have to match 5 ball numbers out of 19.
As Combinations go, the odds should be one in 11,628 to get the top prize. That would be just a tad more difficult than matching a Pick 4 game where the odds are one in 10,000.
But wait just a dad-gummed minute! In order to win, you also have to match the sequence in which the balls were drawn. That is to say, if the Balls were drawn as 05, 04, 03, 02, 01 & you picked 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, then your only match would be on the third ball drawn (03). The odds of top prize in this game is a Permutation of one in 1,395,360!
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|What is a 'Lottery Wheel'?|
"Guaranteed Wins" ?!?
|Can you bet every possible number combination?|
|It's been done at least twice... well, almost
Seems like I remember something about the Irish Lottery and then again about some fella in Virginia (or was it West Virginia?) that wagered almost every combination, and won the jackpot anyway.
Ireland began a National Lottery in 1988. It was a pick 6 balls from 36 balls game with 1,947,792 possible combinations of the 6 balls.
In the monetary currency of Ireland, the punt(pound), it would take £973,896 to buy every possible combination.
During May of 1992, the jackpot reached £1.7 million, about £725,000 more than the cost to buy every combination.
Stefan Klincewicz, a businessman in Dublin, organized a syndicate of 28 people, and set out to buy every possible combination.
About two days before the drawing, somebody at the National Lottery got wise to ol' Stephan's scheme. The National Lottery took action by putting a limit on how many tickets a person could purchase and actually shutting down the terminals where a lot of heavy ticket buying was happening.
By the time of the drawing, Stephan's syndicate was only able to buy 88% of the possible combinations. As luck would have it though, the winning combination was amongst the tickets the syndicate had bought.
But, it also happened that two other jackpot tickets were also sold before the drawing. So the jackpot had a 3-way split, leaving the syndicate with only £568,682... £288,346 less than the syndicate's 88% wager.
It didn't all end up in the loss column though, because amongst all of the syndicate's tickets, there were enough 4-ball and 5-ball matches, that the net proceeds equaled nearly £1,166,000... leaving a profit of about £309,000.
If the syndicate divided up the money equally, each of the 28 players would have made about £11,000.
Was it worth the effort?
A few months later, in August, The National Lottery changed the game by adding 3 more balls to the mix (6/39). The number of possible combinations jumped from 1,947,792 to 3,262,623.
Additional research for this topic is ongoing.
Check back later for the results.
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|Will winning the Jackpot bring happiness?|
Additional research for this topic is ongoing.
Check back later for more results.
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|What's with the "Lotto Black Book" by "Larry Blair"?|
Is the "Lotto Black Book" a Scam?
I did a Google Search on "Lotto Black Book" in June of 2011.
The results were utterly amazing.
"About 3,650,000 results (0.27 seconds)" came back in reply.
Update February 2012: 1,500,000 results in 0.13 seconds.
Just look at some of the titles that come back from all the web sites offering the "Lotto Black Book":
That should be one of your easiest clues that there's some "scaminess" in these promotions.
Ask yourself why the author or publisher of this book only wants to sell 1,000 copies. Truth is, there is no limit to the quantity of copies available for sale. You can buy the "Lotto Black Book" from thousands of web sites. That claim of only 1,000 copies is an outright lie. It is an evil little maketing ploy to make you more likely to buy the product because you fear you might not be able to get one if they sell out.
If you happen to visit one of the sites that has the pictures of the backside of a person's legs and a bullet, you will probably get a recorded message as well.
Listen carefully to the message and you will hear some clues that tell you that the story is totally bogus. The speaker claims, several times, that he was shot in the "FOOT". The photo shows a bandaged leg, not a bandaged foot.
The bullet is a rifle bullet, not from a handgun. The bullet photo has a caption claiming the bullet was "taken off" his leg. To use the words of "Larry Blair" in the narrative, "This is B.S."
There is another photo of a police sketch of one of the shooter's faces. How could that be when "Larry Blair" claims that he was accosted by masked men? Could "Larry" see through the masks?
What is truly preposterous is Larry Blair's claim of "Double Your Money Back" guarantee. After you have tried his "Secret Formula" and find that you didn't win the "Big One", you can try to get double your money back. Good luck with that manouver!
"Larry Blair" claims that he has enough money and will donate all the proceeds from the book sales. Could this be just another one of the preposterous lies in the "Lotto Black Book" narrative? I think it is. How about you?
"Larry Blair" claims that he is making his "Lottery Secrets" available to get revenge on those greedy lotteries; and at the same time, to make just a few people rich. Well, what is it "Larry", are your going to get your revenge by "hurting" the lotteries or are you going to keep the winners to just a few? You can't have it both ways, you know?
You go ahead and listen to the bullshit for yourself. It is actually kind of comical, sort of like something you would hear on a late-night television show that satarizes bogus promotions.
Have you ever heard of "Affiliate Marketing"?
That is the real purpose of this "Lotto Black Book". It isn't a real book, but instead, it is an e-book, a file that you download onto your computer after you pay a hefty price.
In my opinion, it is all a scam based on a scam. There are businesses all over our planet that promise to make you wealthy by operating your very own web site and selling "products" like the "Lotto Black Book". There was quite a flurry of "Get Rich Quick with your own Web Site" seminars held in major cities not too long ago. They promised you something like a little gift, perhaps a free lunch, all at some rather nice hotel meeting room.
You were supposed to listen to the carefully-crafted sales pitch about your future web site which will having you rolling in easy Internet money in practically no time at all.
Before you left the premises (and were drooling over the idea of an easy income), you would be introduced to a sales person (high-pressure con artist) who would make it very, very difficult for you to leave without signing up for their web site service.
You buy a web site for thousands of dollars from one of these web site promoters and then you are supposed to earn your money back by selling easy-money, e-books. Those that fell for it, got scammed by the web site sellers; and then the buyers ("investors") were supposed to get their money back by scamming their customers. Really?!? What is this world coming to?
It seems that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of web sites from where you can part with your $97, or $67, or $49.95, or whatever, based on how much comparitive shopping-around you care to do. Of course, if you are skilled at "torrent" downloading, you can get the "Lotto Black Book" for little more than the time and patience it takes to make the effort.
Perhaps I'll look into those "secrets" that are supposed to make a person rich beyond their wildest dreams by winning lottery after lottery.
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