What are the odds of
ever winning a lottery? How about the odds of winning anything whatsoever when you
play the lottery?
Obviously, one does not
generally play a lottery because the odds are in their favor. In fact, the odds are stacked strongly
against you. And yet, someone invariably wins. As the saying goes, nobody ever
won the lottery without buying a ticket. That someone could just as easily be you,
and it would be best not to even consider the astronomical odds involved.
However, for the hopelessly curious, the following
information is presented. You will find the odds involved in most lotteries, methods
of better covering sets of numbers, and how to methodically lower the odds against you.
It can be done! Read on ...
Probability, & Your Real Chance of Winning
The probability of
winning the lottery that you enter depends upon the number of separate numbers drawn, and
the total population of numbers they are chosen from. The smaller the total
population, the fewer possible outcomes.
example, the Canadian 6/49 Lottery has 6 numbers drawn from a total of 49 balls with the
numbers 1 through 49 on them. The probability here is 1 in 13,983,816.
Before the first ball with a number on it is drawn,
or randomly selected, there are 49 balls in the hopper. The first ball is drawn and
put aside. After this first ball is drawn, there is 48 balls in the hopper.
After the first two balls are drawn, there is 47 balls, or numbers, remaining. This
continues until there are 44 balls remaining in the hopper when the sixth winning number
The Canadian 6/49 draws a bonus ball, which is drawn
from the remaining balls after the sixth number is drawn. This last, or Bonus,
number is used to select a second tier winner, and has amounted to more than $693,000.00.
The Irish Lotto 6/42 has 6 numbers drawn from a
total of 42 balls. This brings the odds down to 1 in 5,245,786. The US PowerBall
draws 5 numbers from a total of 45 balls. Then, 1 number is drawn from a separate
set of balls numbered from 1 to 42. This little detail makes the odds here 1 in
These numbers may surprise you. Some are very
extreme. Here is a sampling of the odds of some of the World's Great Lotteries:
1 Chance in:
The Big Game
You can see from
this information that the odds are always very, very long. Sometime, they can be
You can also see why
the PowerBall lotteries sometimes get so incredibly large - the probability of someone
hitting that lottery is very, very remote. The jackpot accumulates, and then someone
And therein lies the rub. Someone hits it.
Somebody wins, and that group only includes people
who have bought a ticket. Therefore, most people discount the odds of winning the
jackpot in favor of a transient dream of wealth and independence.
So, buy a few tickets when the jackpot gets large
enough to get your attention. The odds aren't very good, but it does indeed happen
You may as well put yourself in the 'Qualified
Group' - those that actually have bought a ticket.