How to win the lottery

This article will not teach you how to increase your odds of winning the lottery. That’s a sucker’s game.
Any lottery is set up for you to lose on average. Even if you buy every possible combination and nobody else wins, you will still be losing money. Or to put it differently, the lottery people take in more money than they dole out in rewards. This is how they stay in business.
This article is about “winning” the lottery in the sense that you have a chance of getting the jackpot without spending an¬†unnecessarily large¬†amount of money on it.

You don’t need to win “on average”. You only need to win once. Therefore, the best strategy is to maximize how much you win and minimize the cost of playing.

Why you want to maximize how much you win is straightforward: You are unlikely to win more than once in your life so you want as big an impact as possible.

The first step of maximizing your winnings is easy: Pick the lottery with the biggest reward. Forget about the odds, forget it’s track record, just pick the one with the biggest jackpot. Just make sure you qualify to claim the prize should you win.

The second step is less intuative: Pick uncommon numbers. When you win your $50 million, you don’t want to be sharing them with 40 people that have the same birthdate as you, or 200 other lost fans that thought 4 – 8 – 15 – 16 – 23 – 42 would be funny. Pick sequential numbers, or any permutation that looks extremely unlikely to come up. (pro tip: Any permutation is equally likely to come up, even if it doesn’t look it) Last time I played I used 11 – 12 -13 – 14 -15 -16.

As you buy your first line, your odds of winning go from zero to one against a few million. When you buy the second line it goes from one against a few million to one against a slightly lower number of millions. Most people feel they don’t have a realistic chance of winning unless they buy a couple of tickets or more, so I realize this advice goes against instinct, but buy only a single line for every draw.

Don’t get sucked into workplace lottery pools. These can be a fun social experience and if you like that then fine. But if you want to maximize the effects of your jackpot you don’t want to share your winnings with dozens of people, even if they are coworkers you like. (you probably won’t work with them for long after winning anyway)

The one thing to take away from this article is this: Never play the odds in a lottery. You can’t win this way. You have to put in just enough money to qualify for the jackpot but no more. When in doubt, think “Does this increase my odds?” If it does, you probably shouldn’t do it.


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