Do you dream of one day being that lucky person who ends up winning the Powerball? If you fall into that category, you’ve probably wondered if there is any strategy you could use to up your odds of winning.
After all, the odds are pretty much stacked against you – there is generally a one in 292 million chance of hitting the winning prize. So, your chances of winning aren’t exactly favourable.
Why are the odds so high?
To answer this question, let’s look at a current example – the US Powerball. With nobody holding a winning ticket in the last 38 consecutive draws, the predictions for the next US Powerball draw are that the cash prize will hit the $1 billion mark. This is a pretty handsome payday for the potential winner. So, of course such a tempting prize pushes the sale of lotto tickets up as more people take their shot at claiming the title of lotto winner. In turn, as ticket sales soar, so do the odds of actually winning because you’re competing with more people to win.
How does Powerball work?
To play Powerball, you will need to pick five numbers between 1 and 69. You will then have to choose your ‘Powerball’ number, which will need to be between 1 and 26. The first five numbers are always drawn on white balls while the Powerball is a red ball. You are deemed the winner if your ticket has all five numbers as well as the Powerball number.
Lucky numbers and other fallacies
Many hopefuls wrongfully assume picking their lucky numbers or using a significant date will bring them the luck they need to win the lotto. Sadly, if this were the case, everyone would win.
Others believe that buying tickets every week or only choosing Quick Picks will up their odds, but in this case, it won’t really do anything to improve your chances of winning. In fact, the odds are so against you that you have a higher chance of the plane you’re travelling in crashing, being attacked by a shark or being struck by lightning. And you’re no doubt aware of how incredibly rare those freak accidents are.
The only statistically sound way you can increase your odds of winning the Powerball would be to buy multiple tickets. The more tickets you buy, the more chances you have of holding the winning numbers. It’s maths 101.
Don’t believe us? Well, the experts agree. Mark Glickman, a stats professor from Harvard, has recommended selecting random numbers as opposed to so-called ‘lucky numbers’. People tend to pick an anniversary date or kid’s birthday, so the odds of someone else selecting the same numbers is quite high. In this case, if there is more than one winner, you’d have to split the jackpot, which is not ideal.
Location doesn’t count
Don’t assume that a lotto card you bought at Woolworths is going to magically mean you have better odds than if you bought one at your local Shell garage. Just because it came from a premium store doesn’t mean your odds of winning will be any higher. In the same vein, some people argue that winners always come from less affluent areas, but contrary to popular belief, location is not a factor at all.
Is there a predictable pattern?
No, winning numbers are chosen entirely randomly. There is no way to predict any pattern. Some people try their luck anyway by analysing the most frequently drawn numbers. Let’s look at an example of white balls. The number 61 is currently the most commonly drawn number, having appeared 89 times in the last 900+ draws. It is closely followed by the number 32, which has been pulled 86 times.
As far as the Powerball goes, hopefuls reckon number 18 is the way to go, having featured 48 times. It sounds pretty promising to the average man on the street, but mathematicians have repeatedly debunked the theory, insisting there is simply no way to increase your chances of predicting the winning Powerball numbers.
Despite perhaps staking your hopes, dreams and retirement plans on winning the Powerball, there is sadly no real strategy to increase your chances of claiming the prize. The reality is that it remains a game of chance, so in the words of The Hunger Games…may the odds be ever in your favour.