Applying Game Theory to Increase Your Lottery Winnings

lottery balls

Anyone who enters a lottery knows that their chances of winning are small, sometimes seemingly ridiculously so. For instance, the odds of winning the Powerball lottery are 1 in 175 million! But there are always new winners being announced and as we all know, the results are random, so there’s nothing to stop you being in with a chance, is there?

The trick isn’t just to win though. You should also try to maximise your chances of not having to share your potential winnings with other players and this is where number selection can play an important part. Choosing a specific set of numbers isn’t going to increase your chances of winning a lottery like the Powerball or MegaMillions, but it could mean you pick numbers that other people don’t.

There are lots of ways to choose numbers. Perhaps the simplest is to use a random number picker like the American lottery numbers generator, or just selecting a quick pick ticket, but that’s not as much as fun as working out your own system.

Some people swear by the hot and cold lottery number system. This is where you analyse previous results of lottery draws and work out which numbers are “hot” (drawn frequently) and which are “cold” (haven’t come up for a while). Some people then choose the hot numbers as they think they’re more likely to come up again, others choose the cold numbers as they seem to be due a turn. This approach takes some effort, especially if you’re working through the data manually.

If you don’t feel like trawling through past results, bare the following tips in mind when picking your lottery numbers, focusing on the ideal scenario where you choose numbers that other people won’t.

  • Avoid the special days: many lottery players will choose special dates or birthdays for their lotto ticket. That means a lot of people will be choosing numbers 31 and under. Avoid these and if you win, you’ll have fewer people to share the jackpot with.
  • Avoid sequences and patterns: Another popular choice is to choose a sequence of numbers or choose numbers that make a regular pattern on the lotto ticket, choosing by column or row, for example. It’s estimated that more than 10,000 people a week choose to play 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in the UK National Lottery. Few lottery jackpot prizes can make 10,000 winners instant millionaires.
  • Lucky number seven may not prove so lucky in the lottery: As seven is a lucky number for so many people, lots of lottery tickets will feature the number seven and multiples of it. If you can avoid them in your number choice, your ticket stands more of a chance of holding a unique number combination.
  • Don’t be afraid to choose a couple of consecutive numbers: People rarely do this, but there’s nothing to stop consecutive numbers being drawn. And if it means you share fewer numbers with other people, then there’ll be a greater pot of prize money should you win.

You may not have lots of time to spend on a lottery number picking system, but if you can find ticket numbers that other people don’t think of, your potential lottery jackpot win will be all the sweeter.

My first games console was the Mega Drive and I've been in love with video games ever since. Over the years I've owned many systems, which I hope to cover in the future. Most of the things I write and do videos about is considered "retro", but I do enjoy playing my Xbox One and PS4 as well...

Posted on July 1, 2014 | Last modified: 1st July 2014