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# Lottery numbers

Tue 17 Feb, 2004 06:23 pm
I dont know how any of the lotteries work, but I'm curious as to whether there are better numbers to pick than others.

Unless I am very wrong about how the lottery systems work I think it makes no difference in theory.

I think that choosing numbers that are spaced out makes no difference.

I think that choosing the same numbers all the time is just as good as choosing them at random.

Now to verify this I'd need to first find out how the lottery systems work (I don't even know how many numbers they use) and then do the math.

Anyone out there know already so that I don't have to work to satisfy my curiosity?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,518 • Replies: 16
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Phoenix32890

1
Tue 17 Feb, 2004 06:28 pm
I don't know if this is what you want, but it might be fun to play with:

http://lottocreo.gamer.hr/
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Craven de Kere

1
Tue 17 Feb, 2004 06:30 pm
Actually that type of software is what prompted this question. I think they are making false claims, but without knowing how the number selection works I'm not sure.
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mikey

1
Tue 17 Feb, 2004 06:36 pm
see if this is what you're looking for.

http://www.masslottery.com/Game_Odds.htm#MMOdds
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Noddy24

1
Tue 17 Feb, 2004 06:58 pm
I have no stastistical evidence, but I believe that "Random Universe" means random and that playing "666" gives you the same odds as any other three-digit combination.

Of course because of the romance of the numbers you might have to share a "666" jackpot with more people than would have a claim on another, less notorious, three-digit combination.
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fbaezer

1
Tue 17 Feb, 2004 07:22 pm
It's just like rolling dice.

At any shot you have exactly 1/6th of a chance of getting a 5.

Now... if the dice are not tainted, over a large number of throws, each number will fall near the mean average (at 1,000 throws, it is improbable that you'll get more than 200 of any number). As the number of throws is increased, the chance of getting one of the numbers that come out less often increases, but only marginally, as a result of "The Law of Large Numbers" (Sorry I can't abound, I'm not an actuary).
Eventually, after a close to infinite number of throws, all numbers will fall exactly at random: .16666666

In order to do that for a lottery, you have to play a lot (and lose a lot). My own take is that if you didn't play, it doesn't count. But I guess I'm a romantic.

More interesting mathematical developments have been used in Europe, for massive sports betting, specially in soccer, where the odds of most matches are not even. "Sistemistica", they call it in Italy. They say it works, but with high risk and high investment.
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fbaezer

1
Tue 17 Feb, 2004 07:24 pm
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husker

1
Tue 17 Feb, 2004 07:31 pm
I used to have a program that would create all the possibilities until they brought the powerball in effect.
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ebrown p

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 09:27 am
Let's assume that the lottery is fair, and I am quite sure that it is. They pay very smart people good money to make sure this is the case.

Therefore any combination is just as likely as any other. (Excuse me for stating the obvious). Programs that claim to select the numbers that are the most probable are shams.

However, there is another factor here. When you win, you want to be the only person who wins. Presumably you don't want to share your prize with anyone. It is certainly possible and desirable to pick the numbers that are likely to be avoided by other people.

I have always had the theory that the megabucks numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6 are rarely, if ever, chosen. This would make it a good choice.

People have the mistaken idea that this combination of numbers is somehow "special" and therefore especially unlikely.

I don't know if I am right that people rarely choose these numbers, and I don't know if information about how often this combination is chosen is public.

-----------
The lottery is a tax on people who can't do math.
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ebrown p

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 09:42 am
fbaezer wrote:
It's just like rolling dice.

At any shot you have exactly 1/6th of a chance of getting a 5.

Now... if the dice are not tainted, over a large number of throws, each number will fall near the mean average (at 1,000 throws, it is improbable that you'll get more than 200 of any number). As the number of throws is increased, the chance of getting one of the numbers that come out less often increases, but only marginally, as a result of "The Law of Large Numbers" (Sorry I can't abound, I'm not an actuary).
Eventually, after a close to infinite number of throws, all numbers will fall exactly at random: .16666666

In order to do that for a lottery, you have to play a lot (and lose a lot). My own take is that if you didn't play, it doesn't count. But I guess I'm a romantic.

More interesting mathematical developments have been used in Europe, for massive sports betting, specially in soccer, where the odds of most matches are not even. "Sistemistica", they call it in Italy. They say it works, but with high risk and high investment.

fbaezer,

Sorry, but if I understand what you are saying correctly, it is mathematically incorrect.

In mathematics we talk about events being "independent". And a random event such as rolling a die is certainly independednt. This means that one roll does not affect another in any way.

If you roll a die there is exactly 1/6 of getting a 5 for any roll.

It is possible for you to roll '5' 29 times in a row. This is very unlikely (The odds are approximately 1 to 1.86X10^20 aginst this) but it is possible.

Each roll is "independent". What happens in the past does not affect the future.

In the very unlikely event that you roll 29 '5's -- the chance that you will roll another '5' is exactly 1/6. Not the slightest bit more, not the slightest bit less

That past rolls of the dice affect the future is a very common misconception in statistics. It is also one of the reasons people make mistakes when they gamble. A large amount of money has changed hands in poker because of this...
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roger

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 10:34 am
Brown and Noddy have it. The only advantage of one combination over another is that reduces the chances of a shared pot.
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Craven de Kere

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 10:46 am
Hmm, from the looks of the numbers being suggested the numbers can't be picked twice.

Is there also a sequential factor or does it not matter?

I suspect it is no repetition and no sequential requirements.
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ebrown p

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 10:53 am
Depends on the specific game. Different lotteries have different rules...

... but the house always wins.
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fbaezer

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 01:59 pm
ebrown_p

I'm sure I didn't make myself clear. Perhaps I am not clear in my mind and may be totally wrong.

I'm not saying that the past rolls of the dice affect the future.
At every event the chance is exactly 1/6 th.

But when we talk about series, eventually -that is, tending to infinite- all the "faces" of the dice will end up falling 1/6th of the time.
That means, that as the "sample" approaches infinity, it will tend to "stick to the norm" (Some "samples" may take 6 throws; others may take 6 zillion). If this is true, then -as a long time series, not as a single throw- the tendency will be that the numbers that came out less often will come out more often in the incoming throws.

All of this is merely theoretical, and has no real value for lottery or everyday life.
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Craven de Kere

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 02:05 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
Depends on the specific game. Different lotteries have different rules...

... but the house always wins.

Does anyone know the typical rules?
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ebrown p

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 02:37 pm
For Massachusetts "Megabucks", there are 42 balls in a rotating plastic container numbered 1 through 42.

The lady (and it always seems to be a lady) triggers a mechanism to open a door and let a ball out. She does this seven times. This randomly chooses 7 numbers from 1 to 42 with no repeats.

The first six balls are always sorted from low to high. The order they are chosen doesn't matter. There is some special rule with the seventh ball that I have never taken the time to understand.

If you get all six numbers (order doesn't matter) - plus the correct seventh number (order does matter) you win the major prize.

You get considerably smaller prizes for getting fewer numbers.
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Craven de Kere

1
Wed 18 Feb, 2004 02:39 pm
Ah, so I had the right impression.

I think I know know enough to invest my life savings in the lottery. I'll remember you all when I'm a millionare!
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