How Math Can Help You Win the Lottery


Many people buy lottery tickets. A hefty 50 percent of Americans play the game, and it’s a lot more common than you might think—one in eight Americans buy one ticket per week. But the distribution is skewed, with lower-income, less educated, nonwhite Americans disproportionately represented among the players. And those who play are not just buying a little bit of hope for the future; they’re investing significant resources in this painless form of taxation.

When you consider the odds of winning the lottery—1 in 292 million, to be exact—it’s not surprising that a number of people feel a need for a better strategy. Fortunately, math can help you make smarter choices.

A mathematical analysis can tell you what combinations will dominate over time and give you the best chance of success. For example, choosing numbers that are less popular or uncommon will improve your odds, because the more often they’re drawn, the lesser their chances of being chosen.

In addition, you can also use math to determine how much to spend on tickets. You might be tempted to buy more than the recommended number of tickets, but that’s useless if you choose the wrong numbers. You might also be tempted to purchase lottery tickets from states that sell the most, but this could actually decrease your chances of winning. In fact, it’s best to avoid FOMO altogether. In the end, if you play smarter, you might find yourself with more money in your bank account.

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