Lottery is one of the most popular forms of gambling. People in the US spend upward of $100 billion on tickets each year, making it one of the largest forms of spending by individuals in the country. And, despite the fact that the odds of winning are very low, a lot of people still buy into the idea that they could be rich someday if they just bought the right ticket.
These people have all sorts of quote-unquote “systems” — about picking the numbers that correspond to their children’s birthdays, or buying tickets from lucky stores, or playing only certain types of games — that are totally irrational and don’t even make any sense in terms of statistical reasoning. But they all have this underlying belief that, for whatever reason, they should somehow be entitled to some kind of windfall because they’re so hard-working and so good.
But, as this article by Mark Glickman points out, there is a big problem with that kind of thinking. Because, as he explains, there’s a very strong chance that someone who picks a series of numbers that match the birthdays or ages of other winners will end up splitting the prize with them. And if you buy Quick Picks, which many people do because it’s faster, you’re going to have an even lower chance of winning.
If you want to play the lottery, here are a few tips to help you increase your chances of winning: Look for a website that breaks down each game and shows which prizes have been awarded and how many are left. Try to play scratch-offs when they’re first released, as this increases the likelihood that there will be multiple prizes left to win.