How to Win the Lottery

Today, I ran across an article on the Huffington Post about 7 time lottery winner Richard Lustig. Back in November, Lustig was giving out tips on how to win the lottery, or at least, how to increase your chances of winning. This man has won the grand prize seven times, so either he is the luckiest man in the world, or he knows what he's talking about, (you be the judge).

Here are some of his tips:
- Pick your own numbers instead of having the machine do it for you
- Research and see if your numbers have won before
- Select your ten sets of numbers and keep those if you continue buying tickets
- Buy as many tickets as you can afford

Those tips sounded great, but I wondered, "What are the real chances of me winning the lottery even if I did those things?" I decided to find out.

In Pennsylvania, we have the Cash 5 Lottery Drawing. The odds of winning the Cash 5 are obviously better than the odds of winning the PowerBall or any lottery drawing with more than 5 numbers, but it still holds a high jackpot at times. So I went to where they asked me a few simple questions in order to calculate my chances of winning.

Here is how they broke it down (click the image to enlarge):

As it turns out, there is a 1 in 962,598 chance that I will win the Cash 5 (if I decide to play it). Just for fun, Web Math gave me some other odds to compare this to. For example; there is about a 1 in 2,000,000 chance of being struck by lightning; a pregnant woman has a 1 in 705,000 chance of giving birth to quadruplets; and someone eating an oyster has a 1 in 12,000 chance of finding a pearl inside of it.

If you live in Pennsylvania and you plan to play the lottery, here are your chances of winning:
The Big 4: 1 in 126 chance
Cash 5: 1 in 962,598 chance
Match 6 Lotto: 1 in 13,983,816 chance
Mega Millions: 1 in 3,819,816 chance of picking the winning numbers on your top grid and 1 in 46 chance of getting the Mega Ball number correct.
Powerball: 1 in 5,006,386 chance of picking the winning numbers on your top grid and 1 in 35 chance of getting the Power Ball number correct.

Calculating the odds for winning The Daily Number and Quinto is a bit trickier since you have to calculate the chances of selecting the correct numbers and consider your Play Type and Bid. The PA Lottery has a thorough chart on your odds of winning at their website;

So, are you feeling lucky yet? :)

Nita Michelle

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