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1st February 2012, 07:22 PM  #81 
Nasty Woman
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1st February 2012, 08:54 PM  #82 
Skeptical about skeptics
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It isn't.
However, if you choose from the same 9 or 10 numbers to fill in all your tickets and the draw includes the same numbers then more of your tickets will win as compared to filling your tickets from random numbers. (OTOH if the draw doesn't include those numbers then none of the tickets win). In the long run, the expected value of your winnings (or rather, your losses) will be the same no matter what pattern you use to fill in your tickets. 
1st February 2012, 08:59 PM  #83 
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1st February 2012, 11:13 PM  #84 
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I thought you were better at maths. Another approach is to simultaneously play every possible game and see which method comes out ahead. There are about 4 million combination for the regular lotto and 10 combinations for the power ball. In each game we are playing 10 tickets. For $1 tickets, we each need to start with $400 million. In each game, matching the regular lotto will pay $1 million divided equally to each winning ticket. Matching the regular lotto with a matching power ball will pay an additional 30 million. In each game, I will play my 10 tickets on separate numbers: Ticket 1 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P1 Ticket 2 = 4,5,6,7,8,9 P2 Ticket 3 = 7,8,9,10,11,12 P3 Ticket 4 = 10,11,12,13,14,15 P4 Ticket 5 = 13,14,15,16,17,18 P5 Ticket 6 = 16,17,18,19,20,21 P6 Ticket 7 = 19,20,21,22,23,24 P7 Ticket 8 = 22,23,24,25,26,27 P8 Ticket 9 = 25,26,27,28,29,30 P9 Ticket 10 = 28,29,30,31,32,33 P10 Each of my tickets will win the lotto jackpot in 10 separate games and the power ball jackpot in 1 game. I will get back $1 Million times 10 tickets times 10 games plus $30 Million times 10 tickets times 1 game for a total of $400 Million. Now, lets see how you will do. In each game, you buy 10 tickets with all the same lotto numbers and a different power ball number. Ticket 1 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P1 Ticket 2 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P2 Ticket 3 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P3 Ticket 4 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P4 Ticket 5 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P5 Ticket 6 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P6 Ticket 7 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P7 Ticket 8 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P8 Ticket 9 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P9 Ticket 10 = 1,2,3,4,5,6 P10 Each of your tickets will also win the lotto jackpot in 10 games but since they all win in the same games, the prize each ticket wins is divided 10 ways. Each of your tickets also win a power ball jackpot in one game just like mine. You get back $1 Million split 10 ways times 10 tickets times 10 games plus 30 million times 10 tickets times 1 game for a total or $310 Million. 
1st February 2012, 11:46 PM  #85 
Daydreamer
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To make things simple, let's assume that the chances of getting all six numbers right are one chance in 10 million, and the cointoss reduces your chances of any given ticket winning to one chance in 20 million.
Buying two tickets with the same six numbers, but a different heads/tails option would mean that together those two tickets give you a one in 10 million chance of winning the main prize, because the coin toss is now irrelevant. But... if buying a ticket gives you a one in 20 million chance of winning the main prize, then buying two tickets with different numbers would double your chances of this happening, giving you a one in 10 million chance of winning the main prize. In both cases, the chances of winning the main prize is the same, with the same number of tickets purchased. There is no advantage either way. ETA: And since you have two tickets this doubles your chances of winning, compared to having only a single ticket. In other words, this doubles your chances of winning, from 1 in 2 to 2 in 2, if you get the right six numbers, but halves you chances of getting the right six numbers compared to buying the same number of tickets with different numbers. If you double your chances and halve them, nothing has changed. 
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2nd February 2012, 04:18 AM  #86 
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Consider 6 consectutive numbers, in a 6/49 lottery there's 44 combinations, then if they increase by 2 instead of 1 each time there's 39 combinations. Try to think of other ways that 6 numbers out of 149 could form some sort of obvious pattern. You could come up with a few thousand maybe, but that's out of 13983816 combinations and the remainder of those have a more random appearance.
Say you could see some sort of patterns in 10000 different cominations then you'd have: 10000 patterned 13973816 unpatterned so the chances of seeing some sort of pattern drawn are lower than 1 in 1000
Quote:
Any 6 numbers you choose have the same odds as 1,2,3,4,5,6 of coming up but since an obvious pattern is rarely seen (less than 1 in a thousand draws if you take my example above) then some people think they have a better chance by choosing a more random looking combo. 
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2nd February 2012, 04:48 AM  #87 
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How many of you here would play a "fair" lotto with "good" odds, if one existed?
(Having fun making up an example...) Let's say you have a lotto called Fortune Four, where you pick four numbers from 64. Tickets cost $4 (plus newsagent or paypal fee). If you get all four numbers right, you win $1,500,000. If you get three numbers right, you win $13,000. In this case, the lotto would be returning 90% of the money it receives to the players, and players would have a 1 in 635,376 of winning the $1,500,000. Probably the only public lotto to give better than one in a million chance to win more than a million dollars. Someone who played 4 games a week would have a better than 1 in 100 chance of winning the $1,500,000 within 31 years. Would you consider this to be a lotto worthwhile playing, or still a waste of money? (I hope I worked out all the figures right. No doubt someone will correct me if I haven't.) 
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2nd February 2012, 05:05 AM  #88 
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2nd February 2012, 05:59 AM  #89 
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2nd February 2012, 06:12 AM  #90 
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The secret NASA doesn't want you to know  God makes rockets work in space. 

2nd February 2012, 06:22 AM  #91 
Nitpicking dilettante
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You're correct (as others have said already), and you're also not alone, as the exact same question was addressed on the excellent More or Less. The podcast version is here; the January 6 edition has the item, and there's a followup in the Jan 13th one (they had the correct explanation, but they got the announcement wrong in the illustration they did; they got the regular lottery announcer to read out the numbers, but tacked on "in that order", which does change the probabilities involved).

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2nd February 2012, 05:31 PM  #92 
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Ah, I guess I did make a mistake with the figures. I worked out the wrong number of minor prizes possible, and therefore the wrong return for them.
According to a different quick calculation (which is probably also wrong because I'm distracted by watching House at the moment) shows that the minor prize should only be about $88 ("about" because I'm rounding it up to a more aesthetically pleasing value). ETA: No, that is wrong too. I'll figure it out later. ETAA: Let's see... Four numbers drawn from 64 leaves 60 incorrect numbers. So out of the 635,376 tickets, 60 will have only the first number wrong, 60 will have only the second number wrong, 60 will have only the third number wrong, and 60 will have only the last number wrong. That's 240 minor prizes. (($4 * 635,376 * 0.9)$1,500,000)/240 = $3,280.64 So the minor prize should be $3,300 instead of $13,000. 
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22nd February 2012, 03:07 AM  #93 
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22nd February 2012, 08:29 AM  #94 
I lost an avatar bet.
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Each one won around 7600 $US.
The lottery chooses six number from 1 to 42 without replacement. The odds of hitting all 6 are around 1 in 5.2 million. If the grand prize (before the split) was around 140,000 $US than the lottery is pretty much a suckers' game designed to separate rubes from their money. Vladi's link: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/09/...innersabound/ That story cites odds of 1 in 4.2 million. That probability was calculated by a mathematician who assumed that small flaws in the balls cause the same numbers to be repeated more often that probability would predict. Also, some stories cite $7300 and others cite $7643. 
22nd February 2012, 08:43 AM  #95 
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And just because it happened once doesn't prove the probability is not astronomically small.

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22nd February 2012, 09:59 AM  #96 
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Yes, but it proves that there are enough people that play with last week's numbers and you are not very likely to be the only one that wins in such occasion Some people may consider them nuts but... they won

22nd February 2012, 10:50 AM  #97 
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Yes. They won.
They won oneeighteenth what the average jackpot winner would win. They can each buy a somewhat crappy used car. ETA: unnecessary snarkiness removed. [I wonder if there is a record for tiniest jackpot] The other thing that sucks is that usually when one has a oneinfivemillion story to tell, one can at least get some free drink in the pub for telling a good story. But with this story, others will expect the teller to buy the drinks because he won the lottery. 
22nd February 2012, 11:07 AM  #98 
Philanthropic Misanthrope
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With a clear and meaningful refutation of my point like this, I hardly need to ask for clarification, but in what way am I wrong, pray tell?
I know it's hard to actually read what another person wrote, but unless you believe that there are an equal or greater number of patterned sets than nonpatterned sets in all of the possible lottery outcomes, I can't see why you'd respond in the negative to the first. Regarding the second clever response, please explain how a lottery wheel, a tool for generating combinations, can change the statistics of the game itself? Whether I choose a random set of numbers or allow a wheel to generate the numbers for me, in a fair game, either ticket is equally likely to win. 
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22nd February 2012, 11:15 AM  #99 
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Simple probability tells us that we should expect coincidences, and simple psychology tells us that we'll remember the ones we notice... 

22nd February 2012, 11:16 AM  #100 
Philanthropic Misanthrope
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I'm fairly sure that most gambling (not all, but most) is a suckers' game designed to separate rubes from their money. That aside, do we know how much a Bulgarian lottery ticket costs? That's going to make a big impact on how bad the game is slanted against players. If you can get a ticket for $0.05 then the prize isn't so bad. If it's $1 per ticket, then wow. Just wow.

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Sandra's seen a leprechaun, Eddie touched a troll, Laurie danced with witches once, Charlie found some goblins' gold. Donald heard a mermaid sing, Susie spied an elf, But all the magic I have known I've had to make myself.  Shel Silverstein 

22nd February 2012, 11:17 AM  #101 
Nitpicking dilettante
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Either you misunderstand the situation, or you did not clearly express what you meant to say.
Quote:
I take that what you meant convey is that there are simply more nonpatterned than patterned sets of 6 numbers. However, that's not what the words you used actually mean. Any set of 6 numbers with a simple pattern is just as likely to occur as one of the sets of 6 numbers with no obvious pattern, since we're just comparing two sets of 6 numbers. Now, given your opening sentence, I can believe you understand this, and you just didn't express yourself as clearly as you might have. 
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The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.Bertrand Russell Zooterkin is correct Darat Nerd! Hokulele Join the JREF Folders ! Team 13232 Ezekiel 23:20 

22nd February 2012, 11:21 AM  #102 
Philanthropic Misanthrope
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Indeed, and in my original post I used the phrase "obvious pattern" and commented on it being a far from perfect term. That said, there are far fewer combinations that involve things like counting by 1's/2's/etc, or that follow some other easily recognized pattern than those that don't. If we wanted to be really obnoxious we could of course claim that any set of 6 numbers has a pattern, which is true (They're all solutions of 0=(xA)(xB)(xC)(xD)(xE)(xF) if nothing else.) but is very clearly not what I meant in my original post, and I stated as much.

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Sandra's seen a leprechaun, Eddie touched a troll, Laurie danced with witches once, Charlie found some goblins' gold. Donald heard a mermaid sing, Susie spied an elf, But all the magic I have known I've had to make myself.  Shel Silverstein 

22nd February 2012, 11:22 AM  #103 
Muse
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I never play the lottery here in the UK, but I do have a question: Is there a name for the "phenomenon" of lottery numbers seeming obvious after the draw?
I ask because several friends have said they have had that feeling. 
22nd February 2012, 11:31 AM  #104 
Philanthropic Misanthrope
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So you'd prefer that I had said something along the lines of, "It's more likely that a member of the nonpatterned sets of numbers will be drawn than that a member of the patterned sets of numbers will be drawn..."? That is definitely clearer, but I have a difficult time believing that a person who actually read what I wrote misunderstood it so thoroughly as to believe that immediately after saying that every set of 6 lottery numbers was equally likely to be picked that I would then say that patterned sets were less likely. Thank you for a thoughtful response, in any case.

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Sandra's seen a leprechaun, Eddie touched a troll, Laurie danced with witches once, Charlie found some goblins' gold. Donald heard a mermaid sing, Susie spied an elf, But all the magic I have known I've had to make myself.  Shel Silverstein 

22nd February 2012, 08:55 PM  #105 
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Indeed. And yet that phrase appears so seldom in the SECrequired quarterly reports from corporate casinos.
Quote:
..................... ETA: the 6/49 Bulgarian State Lottery charges $0.81 per ticket. I still have no idea how much the 6/42 Bulgarian State Lottery charges per ticket (and for that matter, how many sets of numbers can be played for the price of one ticket). 
22nd February 2012, 10:30 PM  #106 
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22nd February 2012, 10:43 PM  #107 
I lost an avatar bet.
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23rd February 2012, 01:06 AM  #108 
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It's not a sucker's game at all  it's the chance to become wealthy for, for most, like I, an insignificant outlay. Sure, the odds of winning are essentially close to zero, but not so close that nobody wins! My only practicable chance of becoming rich right now is the lottery, and for a dollar a week it's worth it. I can afford that with absolutely no loss of amenity. Hell, I'm $3 worse off today than I figured on being just by buying a take out coffee on a whim! Do I expect ever to win the jackpot? Do I hell. Do I hope one day to win? For sure. You gotta be in it to win it, and somebody sure as hell won it last week!
False assumption. The randomness created by the mixing machine completely eliminates any bias that a ball might arguably have by a massive number of factors. Just because what happended once? A number of people this week are probably playing with last week's numbers simply by virtue of 'quick pick' number selections (i.e. selected at random by the lottery ticket issuing machines). Not always, but probably most weeks. For the record the average jackpot winner doesn't win it alone! That sucks ... winning the lottery and then having to buy drinks? Are you Scottish, by any chance?! Getting a hole in one at golf and having to buy drinks in the clubhouse, now that sucks. Almost as much as buying cake for the office on your own birthday does! So you're Scottish too, I take it! How is this a pattern? Why do you go on about this, JP, I thought we'd cleared up things at Post #74: Can it be put more simple than that?! 
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the unanimous view of all parts of my mind. "Always" and "never" are two words that you should always remember never to use. 

23rd February 2012, 09:31 AM  #109 
I lost an avatar bet.
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What exactly is your definition of practicable?
Quote:
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The jackpot winners  the folks who picked all six numbers correctly  won about 7600 $US. They bet the equivalent of 0.34 $US on a 5 million to one shot. The odds were 5 million to one and the payout was around 22,000 to one. That's off by more than two orders of magnitude. That, most assuredly, sucks. And if you think that it doesn't suck, then let's play a game: I'll flip a coin and you call it. If you lose, you pay me $10 and if you win, I'll pay you $0.10. The payoffs in that game are closer to the actual odds than the payout in the Bulgarian lottery was to the actual odds. 
24th February 2012, 12:49 AM  #110 
Philosopher
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Now that's a sucker's game  win the definition argument!
Nor 17 or 19 either, I should imagine. How is that comparable? If I offered to take 34 cents off you in exchange for $7,600 would you tell me to take a running jump because it 'sucks'? Would you hellers! 
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the unanimous view of all parts of my mind. "Always" and "never" are two words that you should always remember never to use. 

24th February 2012, 01:02 AM  #111 
Penultimate Amazing
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24th February 2012, 04:42 PM  #112 
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the unanimous view of all parts of my mind. "Always" and "never" are two words that you should always remember never to use. 

24th February 2012, 06:03 PM  #113 
Philanthropic Misanthrope
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Sandra's seen a leprechaun, Eddie touched a troll, Laurie danced with witches once, Charlie found some goblins' gold. Donald heard a mermaid sing, Susie spied an elf, But all the magic I have known I've had to make myself.  Shel Silverstein 

25th February 2012, 07:12 AM  #114 
I lost an avatar bet.
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If the chances of turning a 34cent ticket into a $7600 payout consisted of a one in fifty billion chance, then would it suck?
ETA: if such a lottery offered that payout for those odds would it be, in your opinion, a suckers' game designed to separate rubes from their money? 
25th February 2012, 07:35 AM  #115 
Student
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Here is some additional info.
In the Bulgarian lottery the prize is not fixed, it depends on the revenue for every draw. 50% of the revenue goes for prizes and 40% of it (or 20% of the total revenue) go to those who guessed all six numbers. If no one guessed all six numbers, then this sum is added to the sum for the next draw (jackpot) and grows until someone guesses all six numbers and gets the prize. The biggest jackpot in 6/42 was about $2.6 million won in 2011 by one person. The prizes from the lottery are taxfree. 
25th February 2012, 07:49 AM  #116 
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The average expected payout for all of the Brazilian toto games is 50%. For every $0.34 ticket bought, only about $0.17 will be comming back as prizes. This is consistent with most state run lotteries. It's a fool's game for anyone that plays.
However, in the U.S. we make them into even bigger fools by taking back at least 30% of the jackpot winnings through taxes. 
25th February 2012, 07:59 AM  #117 
Student
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At least part of the revenue goes for funding sport here in Bulgaria. That's why it is called Sport Totalizator.
And gambling is for fools, anyway 
25th February 2012, 08:28 AM  #118 
Nitpicking dilettante
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The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.Bertrand Russell Zooterkin is correct Darat Nerd! Hokulele Join the JREF Folders ! Team 13232 Ezekiel 23:20 

25th February 2012, 08:35 AM  #119 
Student
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... And don't forget the joker

25th February 2012, 09:22 AM  #120 
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5.5% of lottery jackpot winners go bankrupt.
If you want to get rich you need to learn to manage your money and invest in yourself. get an education, develop your work skills and advance your career. A small investment made early in life comperable to buying a lottery ticket every week will grow exponentially into a significant life style change that also gives you the skills needed to avoid the bankruptcy trap when your boat does come in. 
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